By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
The Florida Secretary of Health announced on September 27, 2012, that he has now signed 161 emergency suspension orders (ESOs) for massage therapists in Florida. The suspension orders are aimed at massage therapists who allegedly obtained their licenses to practice through a transcript-buying scandal at the Florida College of Natural Health. Officials believe the scheme could be linked to human trafficking.
On September 20, 2012, state authorities originally suspended 81 massage therapists’ licenses. Click here to read the blog post on that story.
No Evidence of Human Trafficking Yet.
An article on the Florida Current stated law enforcement officials have connected the massage therapy industry to prostitution and human trafficking in the past, but so far, in these 161 cases there is no evidence of such acts.
To read the entire article from the Florida Current, click here.
Department of Health (DOH) is Committed to Retaining the Integrity of the Massage Therapy Industry.
For the past week the Florida Secretary of Health has surveyed the transcript security procedures followed by the 197 Florida massage therapy schools. He worked to compile a report of the best practices regarding background checks of students, auditing of transcripts and computer security.
To read the press release from the Florida Secretary of Health, click here.
This report will be presented at the October 25, 2012, meeting of the Florida Massage Therapy Board.
To read the complete Florida Massage Therapy Schools Transcript Integrity Report, click here.
DOH Requesting Suspended Massage Therapists to Voluntarily Relinquish Licenses.
According to one massage therapist whose license was suspended in the original sting, she received a notice of investigation letter from the DOH. Included in the letter was a Voluntary Relinquishment of License form.
There is a blog on our website that talks about the consequences of having a massage therapy license revoked or relinquishing a license upon notice of an investigation. Click here to read this prior blog.
As I indicated previously, a voluntary relinquishment in a situation like this is treated the same as a disciplinary revocation. The licensee will be reported to the NPDB and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
The NCBTMB will then take action to revoke your NCBTMB certification. The licensee will probably never work in any area of healthcare again after this.
To learn more on the collateral effects of voluntary relinquishment of your massage therapy license, click here.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Department of Health (DOH) Investigations of Massage Therapists.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to massage therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, licensing matters and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Call, James. “More Massage Licenses Suspended in Probe of Links to Prostitution, Human Trafficking.” the Florida Current. (September 27, 2012). From: http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=29548532
Armstrong, John. “Statement from State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong on Massage Therapy Survey Report.” Florida Department of Health. (September 27, 2012). From: http://newsroom.doh.state.fl.us/wp-content/uploads/newsroom/2012/09/9272012SGStatement.pdf
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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