Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

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Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby peacenut on Mon May 28, 2012 4:19 pm

Has anyone ever busted someone for practicing without a license? It seems to be an epidemic in my neck of the woods and it's starting to wear on me.

I'm not talking about those advertising for massage and offering sexual services. I am meaning legitimate places of business, spa, salons etc... who in all the cases I know of, are employees.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby moogie on Mon May 28, 2012 6:37 pm

I've never contacted the authorities but when I had my establishment inspection this year I did express concern to the inspector regarding an asian spa that is in the nearby mall. I stopped in there several times for either chair or foot massage and it was obvious to me that the "therapists" didn't even have enough grasp of the english language to carry on a conversation let alone sit for the state board exam.

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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby JasonE on Mon May 28, 2012 7:48 pm

I know of many places in my area that have been busted for practicing illegally. The problem became so rampant that several cities have passed new, more stringent massage licensing ordinances. Our state does not currently have massage licensing, so the regulations vary greatly from city to city.

I have spotted a number of illegal practitioners advertising online (usually via Craigslist) and forwarded that information to the applicable City Clerk. I like to provide some proof right up front so they can see it is a legitimate complaint. From there, they may contact the business directly or get law enforcement involved, whichever they deem appropriate. I have never followed up to see if any of the businesses I've reported have been impacted by my reports.

I have heard many, many stories of illegal activities at otherwise legitimate massage businesses, but it has always been second-hand information. I don't bother to report those because I have no way to determine if those are anything more than rumors. If I ever have some proof or can give first-hand testimony, I would file a complaint with the appropriate authority.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby peacenut on Mon May 28, 2012 8:07 pm

Here's what I have.

All three have applied for a license. One could have been grandfathered in, but she sent in the wrong paperwork, and ultimately never turned in all the proper paperwork, so the state listed her application as abandoned. She has on her facebook page that she is a certified massage therapist working at ABC Spa. There is also a newspaper article online that lists her as a CMT.

The other two both graduated from Globe University and the state said their dates of test completion and graduation aren't jiving. They should have taken an open book test for the state before they graduated, but their test date completion is after their graduation. Their applications are listed as pending, so they do not have a temp or permanent license. The temp lets them work under a licensed MT, not a doctor.

One of the two girls at the med spa just had an announcement in the paper and online that she recently finished her internship at XYZ Med Spa and was working there as a massage therapist. There is also a sign advertising massage with her first name on it outside of the business. I also found her page on Linked In listing her as a massage therapist as well as the website of the med spa.

The other girl at the med spa has review posted on the business' facebook page. A client said they had a massage with her (listed her first and last name) on the day they made the post. That was back in February, and her graduation date was only about 2 weeks ago.

All these things are printable. I think it's enough for them to do something about it. I shouldn't have to go and get a massage from them myself.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Tue May 29, 2012 6:04 am

It all depends on what state you are in.

In VA on the term Certified Massage Therapist and CMT are protected by the state.

Localities may or may not have their own licensing and may or may not require the state CMT to obtain it.

Whether you turn them in or not is up to your particular set of ethics, as well as -- in some cases -- the obligations you agreed to uphold

Some of the professional associatons -- as well as state licensing regulations -- compel you to report any illegal activity that you are aware of.

Would you turn in a sex worker masquerading as an MT? Is that more or less egregious than practicing without a license?

Is it the spa that would suffer the consequences or the MTs? Both? Does it matter?
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby JasonE on Wed May 30, 2012 8:52 pm

peacenut wrote:Here's what I have.

All three have applied for a license. One could have been grandfathered in, but she sent in the wrong paperwork, and ultimately never turned in all the proper paperwork, so the state listed her application as abandoned. She has on her facebook page that she is a certified massage therapist working at ABC Spa. There is also a newspaper article online that lists her as a CMT.

The other two both graduated from Globe University and the state said their dates of test completion and graduation aren't jiving. They should have taken an open book test for the state before they graduated, but their test date completion is after their graduation. Their applications are listed as pending, so they do not have a temp or permanent license. The temp lets them work under a licensed MT, not a doctor.

One of the two girls at the med spa just had an announcement in the paper and online that she recently finished her internship at XYZ Med Spa and was working there as a massage therapist. There is also a sign advertising massage with her first name on it outside of the business. I also found her page on Linked In listing her as a massage therapist as well as the website of the med spa.

The other girl at the med spa has review posted on the business' facebook page. A client said they had a massage with her (listed her first and last name) on the day they made the post. That was back in February, and her graduation date was only about 2 weeks ago.

All these things are printable. I think it's enough for them to do something about it. I shouldn't have to go and get a massage from them myself.


If you can get photos, screen shots, or printed materials to back up your complaints, submit those with your complaints to the appropriate regulatory body. From there, let it go. Sometimes you see action promptly, sometimes you never see anything come of it.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:47 pm

Yep, people do it all the time. I'm on the Massage Board for Professional Regulations and we get them all the time. In many cases, it is disgruntled employees or coworkers. Some are legit, some are not. We've had cases of people's state licenses expiring years before and someone finally noticed that their posted license says 2002, not 2012. We have complaints for someone calling themselves an LMT or offering therapeutic work or 'massage therapy' when they're really a CMT. We get complaints about people practicing something they're not trained for, (recently we had someone turned in for practicing taping. When the investigator followed up, he found that it was a legitimate massage practice, that she had CEUs in it, all her licensing and everything was in order, so the complaint was just closed out.)

I don't know how it works in other states but here, you only need to file a complaint online. You don't need any photographs, copies or anything else, simply fill in the blanks on the online form on the state's website. The board has a half dozen investigators that will follow up on all complaints filed. Sometimes they will call one of the professional members of the board to clarify something (such as 'Does taping have anything to do with massage?'), go to the person or business, verify in person posted licenses, etc. If there is a legitimate issue, they will forward it to AG's office for follow up and the person is notified. If needed, there will be a hearing before the Board, where they can come explain their side of it, with representation if they wish. Many times, in the case of unlicensed people, they don't bother to show and are issued a Cease and Desist Order.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:27 am

There are also issues about insurance billing fraud and employment practices that can arise for reporting unlicensed activity, depending on which department/agency does the investigating.

The alleged license violator may be using ICs when they are really employees, they may have employees but not post the required workplace notices or have proper WC insurance, or they may be billing for insurance but not be properly set up to do so or outright committing fraudulent claims.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby squash_blsm on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:23 am

I was just thinking about this today.

I know someone that practices massage therapy but is not licensed.
After reading through the state regulations, I don't see anywhere that a person MUST be licensed to be a massage therapist. My state only recently went to licensing...and maybe missed this little detail.
So - I was just wondering if licensing is strictly "voluntary" in reality?
I mean really - exactly WHO is going to go after an unlicensed practitioner?

I know in some states there is language that you are supposed to report someone without a license. The closest thing I find in our regs is under ethics - that you shouldn't knowingly "aid and abet" anyone who is circumventing the listed regulations'.

From the standpoint of someone that is willing to do this (practice without a license), there really is no downside is there? They don't belong to professional organizations, and the state board can't revoke or suspend a license that doesn't exist.

The issue of sex workers is really a different issue and does not address the OP
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby moogie on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:28 am

Laws vary from state to state but I know here in Florida they can be arrested for practicing health care without a license. They usually only arrest the ones involved with other illegal activities, mainly prostitution and the rest are then brought before the Board of Massage and are usually fined.

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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby Matt on Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:38 am

Licensing in Indiana is current not mandatory. This means someone can offer "deep tissue body rubs" or "Swedish style body rubs" and legally get away with it. Personally I am more concerned with the large number of Asian foot massage places that have opened up here recently - not because they are are any threat to my business, as they are not - but from a public health perspective. One new place is offering "special herbs" for a diabetic foot massage.
These folks call themselves therapists, which is a slap in the face to those of us who are licensed -not to mention they do not speak English, so there is no intake form or any understanding of contraindications. I'm praying that our push for licensing goes through during the next session.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby JLWmassage on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:17 pm

Matt wrote:Licensing in Indiana is current not mandatory. This means someone can offer "deep tissue body rubs" or "Swedish style body rubs" and legally get away with it. Personally I am more concerned with the large number of Asian foot massage places that have opened up here recently - not because they are are any threat to my business, as they are not - but from a public health perspective. One new place is offering "special herbs" for a diabetic foot massage.
These folks call themselves therapists, which is a slap in the face to those of us who are licensed -not to mention they do not speak English, so there is no intake form or any understanding of contraindications. I'm praying that our push for licensing goes through during the next session.



:iagree: The foot spa's are getting big near me as well. And I went to one with a friend because they advertised reflexology for $30 for an hour. No intake form was done they spoke very broken English and it was even a real reflexology treatment. But bodywork isn't regulated in my state so not much can be done.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby moogie on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:26 pm

JLWmassage wrote: :iagree: The foot spa's are getting big near me as well. And I went to one with a friend because they advertised reflexology for $30 for an hour. No intake form was done they spoke very broken English and it was even a real reflexology treatment. But bodywork isn't regulated in my state so not much can be done.



Bodywork is regulated here and these places pop up faster than they can be shut down.

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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:59 pm

I contacted the state about the students. One was no longer working there, so I only filed the paper work on the one student.

The state released the papers I filled out at the person I turned in request. Her boyfriend posted something about it on the facebook page of our business. He said something about the owner of the business being mean, dirty, and underhanded. He wrote that I should have contacted her first. Like that would have stopped her or her employer. My view is that I did nothing wrong. She did. She tried to get away with something and didn't. She should have known better since she just graduated from massage school with an associates degree. Boo hoo.

I blocked her and her boyfriend from being able to view my personal profile and blocked him from my business page.

This whole thing was a test. I had never done this before and didn't know what to expect. I am thinking about the big salon with the unlicensed massage therapist, who has also let her beautician trainee permit expire. She is still practicing both massage and cosmetology. If I do though, I will get a PO box and use a fictitious name.
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby pueppi on Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:40 am

peacenut wrote:If I do though, I will get a PO box and use a fictitious name.


It's just my opinion, but if you feel like you have to get a fake name and PO Box... maybe turning in people isn't the best thing for you.

Of course, these people should be working under the laws of your state. But, at what point are you doing the public a service and at what point are you making your own life hard? Do you really want to potentially stir up a lot of trouble in your town?

If your own state/massage board doesn't think it is important enough to go out and check, why should you risk some other problem occuring in your life via retaliation or some such from people who get mad at you.

I live in a huge city. I am not willing to risk my life stirring up some trouble, just to turn in a non-licensed massage therapist... and in our city, that could easily be a potential risk. People don't like other people coming between them and their money. Maybe your city is different.

I don't think it is worth it. :/
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Re: Turning in unlicensed massage therapists

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:06 pm

moogie wrote:
JLWmassage wrote: :iagree: The foot spa's are getting big near me as well. And I went to one with a friend because they advertised reflexology for $30 for an hour. No intake form was done they spoke very broken English and it was even a real reflexology treatment. But bodywork isn't regulated in my state so not much can be done.



Bodywork is regulated here and these places pop up faster than they can be shut down.

Angie



Same here and it's regulated here too. As well as all the 'Asian Massage Parlors.' They are EVERYwhere.
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