Today AMTA National announced their selections for their annual election. Last summer they had changed they way members vote to a YES or NO vote for the panel that AMTA National Board members select themselves. AMTA created a commission to choose the board members that they want to work with. This is a common practice for boards in general, but it is not common for boards of associations that say that they are ‘member driven’. They seemed to change this quietly without much fanfare but to me it really seems like a big deal.
AMTA also stated some of the reasons why they were moving to this type of voting at their last meeting in August. Some of the things mentioned were:
Not enough people vote so that tells us the membership is happy with the way we do things
It is too expensive to hold elections, a slate would save us money
A slate would prevent any insurgency from taking over
A slate would prevent one State from taking over
We want to ensure a board who gets along
We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings which is what happens when you have an election where there are winners and losers
If people vote down the slate we will just know what they are dissatisfied with
We are not set up for asking what they didn’t like about the slate selected, we will just try another slate
But here is the thing you don’t know….
You don’t know who had put their application in for each position that was open and you don’t know who actually got kicked out.
Diana Thompson, author of Hands Heal, Documentation and SOAP charting expert, former President of the Massage Therapy Foundation, current AMTA-WA 2nd VP and a pillar in the massage community here in WA and across the nation for over 35 years had put her application in to run for a position and was denied. She stands for everything about massage therapy becoming part of health care and massage therapy being accepted by health insurance and getting recognized by the medical profession.
Teri Mayo, the current AMTA-WA 1st VP, owner of Mayo Therapy Associates Medical Massage Clinic, and advocate for medical massage therapy was also running and she was denied a position.
Glyn Desmond, also of WA State, owner of Monroe Therapeutic Massage (a large multi-clinic medical massage office) IS currently on the Board of Directors but he just got nicely fired with his term being up in 2/16 meaning he was not selected for this new slate. In the spring of 2015, he was also appointed to a committee that dealt with creating new CPT codes after they so nicely let Susan Rosen (another leader from WA State) go after she had spent the last 9 years in the committee protecting our right to use the new CPT codes. (See article on what happened) Now I am really concerned. Who is watching over the codes for us that are such vital part of our profession here in WA and across the nation?
These three leaders from WA State were and the message is clear to me: AMTA National wants nothing to do with being a part of healthcare. They don’t value the importance of the CPT codes and the future of the massage profession.
Vote NO if you are an AMTA member and demand something better. If Diana, Teri and Glyn, don’t get back into AMTA National, there really is not much left except a great social club which is important too.
I in no way am saying that those who were selected are not deserving of recognition and deserving of these positions. There were just much better, more powerful, more progressive thinking massage therapists who wanted to help get AMTA National back on track. There just is truly something amiss.
Right now the massage profession is in a very big crisis. Too many low paying jobs have made this career less appealing and the schools are struggling to find students to fill their schools. The incredible increase in the number of franchises opening up, but they are unable to find enough massage therapists to work there. With our profession struggling to stay afloat and all of the states are 20 years behind WA State in being accepted by health insurance – something is wrong. (See also: Why is the massage profession so far behind in getting recognized as healthcare?)
I am not saying that every massage therapist will need to accept insurance, but for years now I have been leading a quite revolution with a closed Facebook group helping people who do want to be able to bill and get paid by health insurance. This includes many hospital programs and massage business owners who want to see massage paid for and recognized for what it is. Massage Therapy is medicine. Could it one day be the number one treatment for headaches, pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel and more? I think so.
What you can do.
If you are an AMTA Member, please vote NO. They apparently don’t have a plan if the slate is rejected so that will be interesting in itself. Write to Every AMTA Board Member and voice your concerns. Tell them what you do want.
Join my closed Facebook group to work toward health care integration.
Learn to bill insurance : health insurance, car insurance and workers compensation. I have written a book to teach you how insurance works so you can start learning the process and learning what you need to do to get paid.
Just Say NO…… HELL No….
In all clarity: I AM NOT an AMTA member and probably will never be because of things just like this. I was a member and did get involved in the AMTA-WA Chapter for a few years and could see that they were different than National. I personally never liked the AMTA National Politics and Positions they took ever since they started the NCBTMB which was supposed to be an entrance exam for AMTA and not this National thing which was never a true National License.
Why do I care about this as a non-member? About 5 years ago, I went to AMTA-WA and asked every person I could find about what we could do about falling insurance reimbursement rates. I never did get an answer except if that we could do something we would be doing it. I did get involved for a few years and even was hired for a short time to work on their new website. In the few short years of me volunteering, I have seen too much politics and downright BS. I have since dropped my membership and still support what AMTA-WA is doing.
Patrick Ingrassia says
Well I have to say I really like what you wrote here and the AMT a both nationally and in particular in New York State is simply run by a good old boy network that runs the show and if you rock the boat make suggestions or try to be creative you get blackballed In a state whether something like 15 to 20,000 massage therapist they get fewer than 300 people at their annual convention and then they pat themselves on the back and say wow we did a great job and not one person questions them or challenges them As a recent exhibitor at the AMT a national convention in Pittsburgh they do the same thing year in and year out they shut the showdown on Saturday at 1 o’clock in the afternoon after you spent all that money to be an exhibitor and then have the dinner dance in the evening what idiots no wonder there are fewer than 60 exhibitors and an entire national convention that never draws anymore then approximately 1000 people year in and year out don’t even get me started on these franchises where the lunchrooms our video monitored and the links are sent live right to the owners to their laptops I’m not kidding this is unbelievable then there’s the idiots from Ontario run that other national conference they’ll stick it right to you in a heartbeat talk about liars swindlers and cheats. After 20 years in this business as an educator ,massage therapist and inventor it makes me sick and the reason it makes me sick is because the best people in the world are massage therapists we deserve better from our leadership but people have to participate and a new level of participation outside of the existing organizations might be the only thing that could work. this industry needs a union.
What an irresponsible post from a non AMTA member telling current AMTA members how to vote! Seems to me your pants are a bit in a twist because the candidates you support did not get put on the slate.
To address why the slate was created, yes all of those reasons are true and valid! There is not enough members voting, in fact in the APTA if there isn’t a 10% voter turnout, the vote for National office does not count and must be redone. We (the AMTA) are a very long way from 10%. So slate voting does everything that you listed and more. It assures that the members that are chosen for postions are qualified and vetted though a lenghthy process. Every candidate is asked the same question. It is pretty easy to write down on paper what you think your strengths are, but quite another to have
to speak to them with the entire commission listening.
Previous to slate elections, it was nothing but a popularity contest. Members were voted in because they knew a lot of members on FB or becasue their states got behind them and pushed for their election. That will not happen any more, and that is a good thing for the profession. A properly vetted candidate is much better to me than a popular one!
I feel bad for Terri, Diana and certainly for Glynn, he has done a great job on the current BOD. But don’t demand people vote no simply because the people you chose to support (who are all from the same state) did not get approved for the slate. That is irresponsible and step below bullying, shame on you! The slate is full of VERY qualifed individuals and I feel quite confident that they will serve the profession well. AMTA members, look at the slate and vote with your heart. Do not let one vocal person tell you how you should vote. Thank you for listening.
Julie Onofrio says
It is more than just not having the candidates that I support selected. It is a clear message from AMTA as far as I can see that they just want to be a social club and don’t want to move forward in healthcare integration which is what these candidates would fight for and they made that clear in their applications.
I am asking them to vote NO because a message needs to be sent to AMTA.
As a current AMTA member I appreciate this effort. I am pissed off about this “slate” process AND I am pissed off with the lack of support from national in relation to the diversity of the profession. I believe every practitioner should have the support to practice in the health care as well as wellness industry equally. In the recent past the national board has undercut the state chapters efforts to ensure such balance. That is NOT okay. We need folks on the national board who will move to that balance not to simply follow the money into the arms of the franchises and spa industry to the detriment of the health care folks. Balance can not be achieved when they load the “slate” with folks who will stay the course of undermining a god portion of the stakeholders!!!
Dale Montelione says
Well said Kerry. Thank you!!
This is a poorly written, extremely biased article. I have a hard time taking seriously anything so riddled with typos (you can’t even spell Glyn Desmond’s name correctly!?) and bad grammar, on top of which it tells me NOTHING about the candidates who WERE selected for the board slate – which is a primary reason why I don’t often vote in AMTA elections.
On the issue of healthcare, it doesn’t surprise me a bit that AMTA National might not give priority in that regard for the profession, since a MAJORITY OF THE COUNTRY which it represents does not regard massage as healthcare. Washington state (along with Florida) is unique in that respect. Furthermore, when it comes to billing, the bottom line is that INSURANCE DOESN’T PAY. There was a growing trend among doctors several years back, that I would encourage massage therapists to follow, also: stop accepting insurance, lower your rates and focus on patient care.
Julie Onofrio says
We don’t know hardly anything about the candidates who were chosen. This is all AMTA has out on them even- https://www.amtamassage.org/Volunteer-Connections/National-Opportunities/National-Elections.html
Sorry on Glyn’s name. I am not a grammar queen as you can see. This is the thing that they should be working on – getting massage recognized as healthcare. They are 20 years behind WA State. Insurance did pay for years but AMTA fell behind too in making sure that they didn’t keep lowering the allowable fees. We need to work on that here now too.
John Lambert says
I see your point, but the board looks very balanced. We cat have over 50% of the board from one state.
In addition people will vote for who they know. I sincerely feel this does away with the “good old boy” mindset. Otherwise I vote for who wrote my text book or who I had fun with st convention. Those may not be the best people for the job.
Before you throw out accusations, I would hope AMTA national takes a moment to respond. It’s obvious the membership does not care based on the voting numbers…
Julie Onofrio says
It isn’t the voting process that I mind so much… it is just the message they are sending by who they did choose.
The slate process is perpetuating the insider good ol boy club. With this process the board (with their proxy selection committee) chooses the board. can’t get much worse than that. Ideally the selections committee should interview ALL that apply and simply endorse one of the eligible candidates. HOWEVER ALL eligible and qualified candidates should be available for me to choose from.
I disagree with having the current board assemble and designate a board of individuals. What are our options? Simply a “Yes” or “No”? This is [politics and nepotism at its finest!
Marybeth Berney says
As a 25 year AMTA member I have to agree that the slate process of electing board members seems like a way to make sure that “the boat does not get rocked”. The problem with that is… it is through differing opinions and robust discussion, where the greatest achievements and best ideas come from. A slate that is essentially selected by the board just perpetuates the existing thought process and status quo. As a colleague of mine (who is an AMTA member) said…”this is similar to the type of election process that existed in the former Soviet Union, former East Germany and other former eastern block countries in other words this process work really well in dictatorships!”
That being said…all you have to do is look at the slate that has been put forward and you can see (if you know most of these folks, which I do) that the slate is designed to create a board that will NOT question the status quo but just keep hitting the repeat button. Not a very strong way to move the great profession of massage forward!
Diane Mastnardo says
I am so disappointed to hear about the recent election activity, I thought there was hope for AMTA, however continuing to take away the voting rights of members based on the reasons given (and confirmed by Kerry “yes all of those reasons are true and valid!” is moving away from member driven.
From a quick google search I found these to be the most common reasons for not voting
1. They think their vote won’t count
2. Too busy
3. Registration requirements
5. Lines are too long
6. Don’t like the candidates
How did AMTA come up with their list? Where is the transparency to the members?
Unfortunately the list for going to a slate are opinion based reasons that perpetuate the “old boys” club and popularity based slates being created.
AMTA has a great deal of money, their executive staff’s payroll is in the millions. Last I heard the reserves where over $15 million and rising (2014). Money shouldn’t be an issue to get your MEMBERS voices, that’s the executive staffs main job.
Past review of the bylaws 2013, the only voice members had was through a recommendation in the House of Delegates (HOD). However, the National board could vote down any recommendations from the HOD. Executive session also appeared to happen often for many of these decisions (I was told to protect proprietary information), what are you hiding from your members?
AMTA claims to be the “only member driven” organization, if that is true, there is nothing proprietary to hide. Why should things be hidden, if it’s the members association?
Since leaving AMTA, I have found that the medical community is VERY interested in massage therapy, they want to better understand what we do. The medical community in my area helped us start a Massage Practice Based Research Network, Washington State has been involved with Healthcare for over 20 years….
I looked at the slate, and each person is VERY nice and a qualified massage therapists, however as a member driven organization members should know who all the candidates were.
Voting NO lets AMTA National know you do have a voice.
Voting Yes, continues to silence the members. If members are not included in the decisions, AMTA is not a member driven organization, but a volunteer run organization. (With a high paid staff)
*Just an opinion from a former member that tried to work within the system. Good Luck!
Kitty Bearden says
While I am writing a Human Relations class assignment on “unionization,” I decided to research the profession if Massage Therapy. I myself have been a massage therapist since 1979. In 1986 I tested to become a member of the A.M.T.A. At that time at the New Orleans convention the AMTA was all over National Certification, stricter testing, health insurance payments, and defeating the policing policies of the public, ie: glass storefronts where massage therapy is performed. Crazy idea, right, yet it was New Orleans. Later, at a convention in Seattle, my next stop would be the Esalen Institute as I am an Esalen trained therapist. The big wigs at the AMTA flipped out and instructed me to never say that word “Esalen” again. Silly to presume they could have such control over deciding what is and what is not quality therapy. Long and short of it is, I appreciate this article. I dropped my AMTA membership and joined the ABMP, as I am an Aesthetician as well, for better insurance coverage. As for the replies here who judge based on “misspelled words.” Please do not pretend you have never made a mistake. In other words, “do not throw stones at glass houses.”