BOMT Update

Florida Board of Massage Therapy January 2016 Meeting Notes
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FSMTA President Leiah Carr and I attended the BoMT meeting held January 28-29, 2016 at Renaissance World Golf Village, St. Augustine.
This was the first in person meeting since the July meeting in Orlando. Several previously scheduled meetings of the Board had to be canceled for lack of a quorum. In November, Board Chair, Bridget Burke-Wammack, LMT, resigned from the Board. Executive Director, Christy Robinson was replaced by Claudia Kemp. The term of Jonathan Walker, LMT expired October 31, 2015. Also consumer member, Dr. Davis, PhD. left the Board.
WELCOME TO THE BOARD OF MASSAGE THERAPY!
The governor appointed Jennifer Wasylyna, LMT to the Board in November. Her oath of office and Senate approval were “fast tracked” so that there could be a quorum for the Board’s required annual meeting in January.  Just last week the Governor also appointed Victoria Drago, LMT and Chris Brooks, LMT to the Board to bring the total to 6. There is still a consumer vacancy to be filled. Although Ms Drago and Mr. Brooks were in attendance at the meeting, because they had not taken the oath of office nor yet approved by the Senate they were there to observe but not participate in the proceedings.  I am happy to report that the Board is almost at full strength with the three recent appointments.
It is important to note that the Board needs a quorum to conduct business and to hear disciplinary cases. Even though there is a quorum present to conduct business, if some of those present served on the Probable Cause Panel (PCP) they are recused from the disciplinary hearings. For this reason, 24 of 33 disciplinary cases had to be “pulled” from this meeting and hopefully will be heard either at the next scheduled teleconference meeting March 17 or the next General Business Meeting scheduled April 21-22 in Orlando.
The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Lydia Nixon, LMT, Acting Chair and proceeded  smoothly. Most of the disciplinary cases resulted in fines and revocations. There were 3 Voluntary Relinquishments of licenses. Even though they were voluntary, they will still show on the records because they were relinquished as a result of disciplinary action taken by the Board and will need to be reported if they ever reapply for licensure in FL.
The Department Prosecutor’s report indicated that there are over 900 cases involving massage that are pending with an anticipated 2-4 times increase in the next year (due to fingerprint and background checks); 11 litigation requests; 2  Administrative Hearings; 1 appeal; and 259 cases for PCP. It is going to take several years for the backlog to clear, but the wheels of justice are turning albeit slowly. The new Board will be very busy for the foreseeable future.
The Meeting concluded with the Board electing Lydia Nixon, LMT Chair and Robyn Havard, Vice Chair. Congratulations!
Alex Spassoff
Legislative Chair
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