Word is out. Change is afoot for massage therapy in Florida. One has to wonder who or what, besides Governor Rick Scott, is the force behind PIP reform in Florida, that may be driving massage and other CAM (complementary alternative medicine) therapies right off the road and out of town. In an effort to curb fraud, lawmakers in Florida recently passed legislation that puts the brakes on a law instituted in 1972 to protect people injured in automobile accidents. That law was a good idea at the time, helping people who might not otherwise have access to health insurance, but let's be realistic. A lot of stuff has happened in the last 40 years, and not all of it has been good.
Granted, there has been a feeding frenzy in the lawyer-infested waters of insurance claims, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. There's nothing wrong with trying to reform legislation in order to prevent unlawful activity. It's not right, though, to potentially stigmatize massage therapy any more than it already is. Licensed practitioners in Florida and elsewhere have worked diligently for many years to overcome certain preconceived notions about the profession. Thanks to movies like At First Sight, people tend to get the wrong idea with regard to therapists' ethics and integrity. Please understand, licensed massage therapists (not masseurs and masseuses, thank you very much) are not looking for love in all the wrong places when they lay their hands on you--at least the ones I know aren't.
Now that the PIP reform legislation has passed, this therapist wonders what the future holds for massage therapy and other types of CAM, which are still paddling along outside of the medical mainstream. My daughter, also a licensed therapist, works for a clinic that provides massage therapy and other treatments for people injured in automobile accidents. She has told me that many of the patients she encounters have never had massage therapy before their visit to the clinic. They can't afford to go to a spa, and if they have health insurance at all, it normally doesn't pay for massage. Why doesn't it? Massage therapy has a proven track record for helping the body heal (click this link to the Touch Research Institute's website). And not suprisingly, more hospitals than ever before are recognizing the benefits of CAM, not only for the patients but also for the bottom line.
As Hamlet might say, there's the rub. Money is once again at the root of it--the initial PIP, the push for reform, and the ultimate change in policy. It seems that the medical mainstream wants to get its hands back in the pie. Yes, hospitals used to offer massage on a regular basis once upon a time. It was a routine part of nursing care. I'm not sure why it went away. Was the pharmaceutical industry to blame? Or did too many Hollywood movies cast it in a bad light? Whatever the reason, word needs to get out about the many benefits of massage therapy, and I'm not referring to the ones related to money. So, here goes... Word.