Substitute House Bill No. 5468

Public Act No. 99-126

An Act Concerning Licensure of Massage Therapists and Professional Counselors.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-206b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No person shall engage in the practice of massage therapy unless [he] the person has obtained a license from the department pursuant to this section. Each person seeking licensure as a massage therapist shall make application on forms prescribed by the department, pay an application fee of three hundred dollars and present to the department satisfactory evidence that [he] the applicant: (1) [has] Has graduated from a school of massage therapy offering a course of study of not less than five hundred classroom hours, with the instructor present, and, at the time of [his] the applicant's graduation, was either (A) accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education [and approved by the American Massage Therapy Association] or by a state board of postsecondary technical trade and business schools, or (B) accredited by the Commission on Massage [Training Accreditation/Approval] Therapy Accreditation, and (2) has passed [an examination prescribed by the department or has passed a national certification examination approved by the American Massage Therapy Association prior to July 1, 1995] the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Passing scores on the examination shall be prescribed by the department.

(b) Licenses shall be renewed annually in accordance with the provisions of section 19a-88. The fee for renewal shall be one hundred dollars. No license shall be issued under this section to any applicant against whom professional disciplinary action is pending or who is the subject of an unresolved complaint in this or any other state or [territory] jurisdiction. Any certificate granted by the department prior to June 1, 1993, shall be deemed a valid license permitting continuance of profession subject to the provisions of this chapter.

[(b)] (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the department may issue a license to an applicant whose school of massage therapy does not satisfy the requirement of subparagraph (A) or (B) of subdivision (1) of said subsection, provided the school held, at the time of the applicant's graduation, a certificate issued by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to section 10-7b and provided the applicant graduated within thirty-three months of the date said school first offered the curriculum completed by the applicant. No license shall be issued under this subsection to a graduate of a school [which] that fails to apply for and obtain accreditation by (1) an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education [and either accreditation or approval by] or (2) the Commission on Massage [Training Accreditation/Approval] Therapy Accreditation within thirty-three months of the date said school first offered the curriculum.

[(c) All persons] (d) Each person licensed pursuant to this section [shall have] has an affirmative duty to make a written referral to a licensed healing arts practitioner, as defined in section 20-1, of any client who has any physical or medical condition [which] that would constitute a contraindication for massage therapy or [which] that may require evaluation or treatment beyond the scope of massage therapy.

[(d)] (e) No person shall use the title "Connecticut licensed massage therapist" unless [he] the person holds a license issued in accordance with this section.

[(e)] (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner may issue a license to an applicant who submits evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of (1) a current license [, certification or training with focus on] to practice therapeutic massage from another state or jurisdiction, [with requirements substantially similar to or higher than those of this state, (2) a license, certification or training with focus on therapeutic massage from another state or jurisdiction and a minimum of ten years' experience as a massage therapist, provided application is made on or before October 1, 1998, or (3) Connecticut licensure as a registered nurse and certification (A) as a neuromuscular therapist or (B) by the National Certification Board for Massage and Body Work] (2) documentation of practice for at least one year immediately preceding application, and (3) successful completion of the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

Sec. 2. Section 20-206c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The department may take any action set forth in section 19a-17 if a person issued a license pursuant to section 20-206b fails to conform to the accepted standards of the massage therapy profession, including, but not limited to, the following: Conviction of a felony; fraud or deceit in the practice of massage therapy; negligent, incompetent or wrongful conduct in professional activities; emotional disorder or mental illness; physical illness including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process; abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals; wilful falsification of entries into any client record pertaining to massage therapy; failure to make a written referral, as required in [subsection (b) of] section 20-206b, as amended by this act; violation of any provisions of sections 20-206a to 20-206c, inclusive. The commissioner may order a license holder to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination if [his] the license holder's physical or mental capacity to practice safely is the subject of an investigation. The commissioner may petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce such order or any action taken pursuant to section 19a-17. Notice of any contemplated action under said section, the cause of the action and the date of a hearing on the action shall be given and an opportunity for hearing afforded in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

Sec. 3. Section 20-206e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The department may, upon receipt of an application for massage therapist licensure, accompanied by the licensure application fee of three hundred dollars, issue a temporary permit to a person who has [completed a course of study in massage therapy which satisfies the requirements of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 20-206b or the requirements of subsection (b) of said section] met the requirements of subsection (a) of section 20-206b, as amended by this act, except that the applicant has not yet sat for or received the results of the examination required under said subsection (a). Such temporary permit shall authorize the permittee to practice as a massage therapist [,] under the supervision of a person licensed pursuant to [said] section 20-206b. Such practice shall be limited to those settings where the licensed supervisor is physically present on the premises and is immediately available to render assistance and supervision, as needed, to the permittee. Such temporary permit shall be valid from the date of issuance [of same] until the date of [issuance of] the results of the first licensure examination scheduled following the permittee's completion of the required course of study in massage therapy. Such permit shall become void and shall not be reissued in the event that the permittee fails to pass such examination. No permit shall be issued to any person who has previously failed the examination for licensure prescribed pursuant to [said] section 20-206b or who is the subject of an unresolved complaint or pending professional disciplinary action. Violation of the restrictions on practice set forth in this section may constitute a basis for denial of licensure as a massage therapist.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 20-195dd of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) Prior to July 1, 1999, an applicant for a license as a professional counselor may, in lieu of the requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this section, submit evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of having: (1) Earned a master's degree, sixth-year degree or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a major the National Board for Certified Counselors or its successor organization deems to be in the discipline of professional counseling; and (2) practiced professional counseling for a minimum of two years within a five-year period immediately preceding application. [; and (3) passed an examination prescribed by the Commissioner of Public Health.]

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 1 to 3, inclusive, shall take effect October 1, 1999.

Approved June 8, 1999

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