Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy

Dear Members-

On Friday, November 7, 2014, MAOT held its annual Conference.

At this event, Lisa Simonetti, the MAOT Lobbyist, and Karen Hefler, MAOT Government Relations Representative, reported on the current legislative happenings related to Occupational Therapy practice.

Legislative Activity through November 2014

Testimonies Submitted:

  • Testimony In Support Of Senate Bill 1787 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: Resolve Providing For An Investigation And Study By A Special Commission Relative To The Need For Accessible Homes For The Elderly, Returning Veterans With Disabilities And Families That Include Persons With Disabilities-10/2/13, Status: Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means
  • Testimony in Support of House Bill 435 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act Relative to the Consideration of Ergonomically Designed School Buildings-Hearing 10/24/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony regarding House Bill 176 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act Establishing a Board of Registration in Physical Therapy-Hearing 10/29/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony in Opposition of House Bill 2030 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act Relative to Licensing Massage Therapists-Hearing 11/19/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony in Opposition of Senate Bill 989 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act Relative to the Registration of Clinical Exercise Physiologists- Hearing 11/19/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony In Support of Senate Bill 494 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act to Make Habilitative Services Available To The Children Of The Commonwealth-Hearing 11/13/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony In Support of House Bill 993 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act Relative To Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants In The Treatment Of Autism-Hearing 11/13/13, Status: Accompanied a study order
  • Testimony In Support of House Bill 3724 Of The 188th General Court Of The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts: An Act To Prevent Concussion and Head Injury. Status-Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to committee on House Steering, Policy, and Scheduling, discharged to the committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
  • The next legislative session begins and bills need to be filed by January 16, 2015. Anyone interested in filing a bill or if you have an idea about an issue relevant to OT in Massachusetts, please contact Karen Hefler.

For more information on legislative matters, go to http://www.malegislature.gov

Division of Insurance Information Sessions

The Division of Insurance is hosting a series of listening sessions on various topics, some of which may be of interest to you. Please see the attached document for a list of listening sessions. All sessions will be held at the Division of Insurance Offices, 1000 Washington Street, Boston MA, 02118. There is a call-in number for those who cannot make it in person: please call (877) 202-9892 and use the following password (617) 246-7383.

Monday, November 10, 2014 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E Disclosure of Facility Fees to Consumers

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E Access to Autism Treatment

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 – 1:00- 3:00; Room 1-E Access to Eating Disorder Treatment

Friday, November 14, 2013 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E Certification of Health Plan’s Compliance with Federal MHPAEA Requirements

Monday, November 17, 2014 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E Access to Children’s Behavioral Health Services

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E ACA Section 2706: Nondiscrimination of Providers

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – 1:00- 3:00; Room 1-E Certification of Health Plan’s Compliance with Federal MHPAEA Requirements

Friday, November 21, 2013 – 10:00-12:00; Room 1-E Treatment for Opioid Addiction

MAOT will be attending the meeting on November 12th regarding Access to Autism Treatment and provide written documentation to DOI about OTA and Autism and hopefully testify for OTA to be a covered provider to provide increased access to OT services for consumers. If an OTA would like to come and testify, that would be more powerful.

If anyone would like to call in to or attend a meeting, let Karen Hefler know so we can communicate to members.

Licensure Activity:

Updated occupational therapy licensure regulations have been approved by Massachusetts Board of Registration in Allied Health Professionals as of May 28, 2014. We are still awaiting final drafts and public hearing. No specifics were discussed at the May meeting. However, continuing education is not addressed at this time. The regulations primarily updated definitions, standards of practice, supervision, and documentation.

Continuing education is an issue for all boards in the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL). Reportedly, this will be addressed later under General Provisions. But this process has not been defined.

As a profession, we will need to look at the document carefully when it is posted. Language for students is not specifically defined in the new OT regulations, however it is reportedly addressed in the AT and PT regulations. So we will need to take time as a group to dissect this carefully. Updated AT and PT regulations were also approved.

Next steps-The document will go to governor's office for approval. Once approved, there will be a public comment period. The document will become a public document and it will be posted on Allied Health web site. We can address issues then.

For more information on the Board of Allied Health Professionals, go to http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/ah/

Allied Health Board Vacancies:

There are two open positions for Occupational Therapists on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Allied Health Professionals. Members of the boards of registration are appointed by the Governor and serve on a voluntary basis. Board members serve for a term of three years. The current Occupational Therapists on this Board cannot be re-appointed due to the statute of limitations.

If you are interested in serving, please here is the link to apply! or contact Karen Hefler for more information

Additional activity:

Mental health parity has passed and is supposed to be in place. The Department of Insurance (DOI) is supposed to be asserting that appropriations are appropriate and insurers are complying by October 1rst, 2013. However this has not happened.

Health Law Advocates are lawyers specializing in mental health law who help consumers get access to mental health and substance abuse services. They do letter writing to the DOI, stay on top of the DOI, and fight for the consumer. MAOT is now part of that email list and communication. Letters have been submitted by this group to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and Health Policy Commission regarding the Beacon/ValueOptions merger regarding impact on behavioral health services.

For more information on any legislative activities, please feel free to contact

Karen Hefler, OTR/L, MAOT Government Relations Representative, info@maot.org

MAOT - Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy, Inc.
57 Madison Road, Waltham, MA  02453 - Phone: 781.647.5556 - Email: info@maot.org

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