Board Information

Welcome to the Montana Board of Massage Therapy...

Contact Information

Board Management:
Steve Gallus, Executive Officer
Board Management Bureau
Phone: (406) 841-2370
Email:

Applications and Licensing Contact:
Phone: (406) 444-5711
Email:

Renewals, License Verifications, and Name Changes:
Phone: (406) 444-6880
Email:

Continuing Education:
Phone: (406) 444-5696
Email:

Filing a Complaint against a Licensee:
Eleanor Tinsley, Compliance Specialist
Phone: (406) 841-2386
Email:

Board Members

A five member board was appointed by the Governor on July 22, 2009.  The legislation creating the board requires the board to have three professional members, a member who is a licensed health care provider, and a public member. The board is charged with issuing massage therapy licenses and defining terminology and qualifications of the massage therapy profession in Montana.

Individual Board Members can be contacted by email at dlibsdlmt@mt.gov. In your message please specify which board member you would like to contact. For additional contact information and information on board member terms, please visit the Office of the Governor’s link for Board Members and Councils at http://boards.mt.gov/.

Alyson Ragsdale, Public Member
Ms. Patricia Ryan, Professional Member
Tamara Leach, Professional Member
Kevin Kirwin, RN, Health Care Provider
Ms. Anne Gergen, Professional Member, Vice Chair

Board Meetings

Board meetings are usually held several times a year.
Meeting minutes are posted within 3 days of board approval.

In general, Board meetings are open to the public.
There are certain meetings or parts (Screening Panel and Executive Session), which are closed to the public.

Scheduled and Proposed Meetings

Lookup Licensed Individual

Licensee Lookup System

This site is a primary source for verification of license credentials.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Business Standards Division, presents Licensee Lookup information as a service to the public. The Division relies upon information provided by licensees to be true and correct, as required by statute. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for a licensee knowingly to provide erroneous information to the Division.

The Department of Labor and Industry makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content of this website. Assessing the accuracy and reliability of information obtained from this website is solely the responsibility of the user. If you have questions regarding information found within this Licensee Lookup website, please contact the specific licensing board directly.

Please note that some disciplinary actions against licensees may not appear immediately on the website. Appeals, effective dates of orders and other administrative processes may delay posting on the website. Please contact the specific licensing board directly if you require discipline information that occurred prior to July 1, 1996.

Download List of Licensees

License Download System

This service allows you to purchase complete lists of individuals, businesses, and contractors licensed with the State of Montana through the Business Standards Division.

Options include:

  • Creating a customized list of licensees by selecting board type, license type, license status, county, etc.;
  • Submitting payment for your list using a credit/debit card or registered user account
  • Downloading your list immediately, and if necessary, retrieving your list within 24-hours of purchase

License Verification Request

There are TWO types of Licensure Verification Requests:

1) Licensees for any profession can be verified by using LicenseLookup.mt.gov.
This website provides real-time connectivity to the Business Standards Licensing Database.  There is no charge for this service.

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2) To request an official license verification be sent to another state licensing board, jurisdiction or individual for license confirmation status in the State of Montana. The fee for this is $20.00 per verification requested.

A response should occur within 3 days of receipt.

 

Renewal Process

  1. The renewal deadline date (expiration date) for all Massage Therapists is August 31 of each year.
  2. Licenses issued 60 days prior to August 31 of each year will be given a renewal date of the following August 31 (i.e. If license is issued July 15, 2016 the license will be given an expiration date of August 31, 2017, by which they need to renew.)
  3. Renewal opens 60 days prior to your expiration date. We encourage you to renew your license early in the renewal cycle.
  4. Please note that our online system is available 24/7 during the renewal cycle however, there is no staff available to assist you after 5:00 p.m. Waiting until the last hours to renew could mean that there is no one available to assist you and this may cause your renewal to accrue late fees.

Statute/Rule Information

All of the Statutes and Rules listed here are applicable to this board.

Statutes are laws passed by the Legislature. All changes in statutes must go through the legislative process and be passed into law before they become effective. Title 37, Chapter 1, Part 3 is the Uniform Regulatory Act passed by the Legislature in 1995. All professional and occupational licensing is covered in these statutes.

Administrative Rules pertaining to Massage Therapy are written and adopted by the Massage Therapy Board. The Board writes rules in order to administer the laws over which the Legislature has given the Board authority. Rules can be changed by going through the rule-making procedure. They do not go through the Legislative process. The Board of Massage Therapy continuously reviews rules to determine needed changes.

The Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) at this site contain what should be the same text as the official version published by the Office of the Secretary of State. There is a possibility, however, that the content may vary from the official version. In addition, the format has been changed for viewing on this web site. A copy of the official ARM in official format can be obtained from the ARM Bureau of the Office of the Secretary of State, by calling (406) 444-2055. A web version of the ARM published by the Secretary of State can be viewed at Secretary of State's Administrative Rules of Montana.

Administrative Rules

Rules Notices

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-155-5

In the matter of the repeal of ARM 24.155.601 licensure by grandfather clause

NOTICE OF PROPOSED REPEAL
NOTICE OF REPEAL
Effective February 20, 2016

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-307

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.101.402 definitions and 24.101.403 administrative fees, and the repeal of 24.101.401 purpose, 24.101.407 licensing, and 24.101.414 renewal notification

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-155-4

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.155.301 definitions, 24.155.401 fee schedule, 24.155.604 licensure by examination, and 24.155.60 licensure by endorsement, and the adoption of NEW RULE I military training or experience, NEW RULE II anonymous complaints, NEW RULE III nonroutine applications, and NEW RULE IV inactive license

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-259

In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I registration for out-of-state volunteer professionals

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION
posted November 7, 2011

NOTICE OF ADOPTION
posted January 27, 2012

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-155-3

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.155.301 definitions, and the adoption of NEW RULES I and II continuing education, unprofessional conduct

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-155-2

In the matter of the amendment of [Proposed New Rule IV, MAR Notice No. 24-155-1] definitions, and the adoption of NEW RULES I and II, pertaining to licensure requirements

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-155-1

In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.101.413 renewal dates, and the adoption of NEW RULES I through VII pertaining to massage therapy

MONTANA ADMINISTRATIVE REGISTER (MAR) 24-101-203

In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I pertaining to licensee lookup database

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION
posted January 23, 2009

NOTICE OF ADOPTION
posted July 10, 2009

Statutes

Title 2 Chapter 15 Part 17 - Board of Massage Therapy
Title 37 Chapter 53 - Massage Therapy

Complaints


LaVelle Potter, Compliance Specialst

Telephone: (406) 841-2362
E-mail: dlibsdcomplaints@mt.gov

How to File a Complaint

The Department is charged with regulating professions and occupations for the protection of the public as a whole. Although the Department does not represent individuals filing complaints, the Department will review complaints in a timely manner to ensure a complaint is processed and that the Board will take appropriate action.

The length of time for resolution of a complaint is impossible to estimate due to the various complexities presented in individual complaints.

The following types of complaints may be filed:

  • Unprofessional conduct by a licensee;
  • Unprofessional conduct by a license applicant;
  • Unlicensed practice of the profession or occupation.

If an individual is unsure of what constitutes unprofessional conduct and needs a description of the various types, reference to Montana statutes and rules will provide an answer. These are found at your local public library or at the appropriate board site on this web page.

Drop Off or Mail to:
"Name of the Board or Program the complaint pertains to"
Business Standards Division
301 South Park, 4th Floor
PO Box 200514
Helena, MT 59620-0514

The Complaint Process

This process is used for the Boards that are administered in the Business Standards Division. The various Programs administered in the Division use a similar process.

Important: When filing or responding to a complaint, be as thorough as possible. You may attach additional documents to the complaint form to ensure that all pertinent information has been included. The Screening Panel meeting is NOT a hearing, but is a time for the panel to consider the complaint and response. Attendance is your choice. If you attend the panel may ask additional questions. Please notify this office prior to the meeting if you plan to attend.

After a complaint has been filed against a licensed individual the Compliance Office will send a letter of acknowledgment to the person who filed the complaint (Complainant), and a letter requesting a response (with a copy of the complaint) to the licensee against whom the complaint was filed.

The Licensee may submit a written response addressing the complaint to the Compliance Office. The process continues whether or not a response is submitted. The Complainant is not entitled to a copy of the response.

The Compliance Office will notify the Licensee and Complainant regarding the date and time of any meeting during which the case will be discussed.

Complaints remain confidential unless a Notice of Proposed Board Action is issued, which is a public document along with all subsequent legal filings.

Meetings

  • Closed Meeting - During a Closed Meeting only the Licensee, the Complainant, and/or attorneys for either can be in attendance. Minutes of Closed Meetings are not public documents.
  • Open Meeting - A public meeting which anyone can attend. The minutes of Open meetings are public documents and made available online via the specific Board’s webpage. (Adjudication Panel meetings are usually open.)

Individuals may attend a meeting in person or by telephone. Please notify this office prior to the meeting if you plan to attend the meeting.

Screening Panel

  • Screening Panel - A committee comprised of members of the Board. The Screening Panel’s function is to determine the preliminary action(s) to take on a complaint. Possible preliminary actions include dismissal, investigation, or a finding of Reasonable Cause.

The complaint and response (if any) are submitted to the Screening Panel members. The Screening Panel meeting is not a hearing, but rather a committee meeting to review and discuss the complaint and response to determine if disciplinary action is warranted.

Dismissal

If the Screening Panel dismisses a complaint, the complaint can be dismissed with or without prejudice (see definitions below).

  • Dismissal With Prejudice - The complaint is dismissed and cannot be considered by the Screening Panel in the future.
  • Dismissal Without Prejudice - The complaint is dismissed but may be considered by the Screening Panel in the future if there are ever allegations of a similar nature.

Investigation

Only a member of the Screening Panel can request an investigation of a complaint. If an investigation is requested by the Screening Panel, the case is assigned to an investigator who may request an interview with the Licensee, the Complainant, and/or other individuals. Upon completion of the investigation, a written report is submitted to the Screening Panel, which will then determine if there is Reasonable Cause to proceed with disciplinary action.

Reasonable Cause

  • Reasonable Cause - A finding by the Screening Panel that evidence exists that a violation of statutes and rules has occurred which warrants proceeding with disciplinary action.

If Reasonable Cause is found, the Department Counsel issues a Notice of Proposed Board Action (Notice) to the Licensee. Once a Notice is issued, it is public information. A proposed Stipulation may be included with the Notice.

  • Notice - A legal document from the Department’s Legal Counsel which sets forth the Department’s factual assertions, the statutes or rules relied upon, and advising the licensee of the right to a hearing.
  • Stipulation - A tentative agreement for settlement of the case. A Stipulation is not finalized until approved by the Adjudication Panel.

The Licensee may either sign the Stipulation or contest the proposed action by requesting an administrative Hearing (a legal process before a Hearing Examiner). If the Licensee wishes to request a hearing, written request must be received within twenty (20) days from receipt of the Notice. Failure to either sign a Stipulation or request a hearing within twenty (20) days may result in the issuing of a Final Order of Default against the licensee.

  • Default - the licensee’s acceptance of the disciplinary action demonstrated by failing to participate in the process

Adjudication Panel

  • Adjudication Panel - A committee comprised of members of the Board who are NOT on the Screening Panel. The Adjudication Panel determines the final outcome of a case.

The Adjudication Panel reviews the record to determine appropriate sanctions. A Final Order is issued by the Adjudication Panel, completing the complaint process.

Complaint Process Flow

Current license status and information regarding disciplinary action(s) against a licensee can be accessed online at: https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol/

Unlicensed Practice Complaint Process

Department of Labor & Industry - Business Standards Division

PO Box 200513, Helena, MT 59620-0513

When a complaint or other information is received alleging possible unlicensed practice...

  • (If the allegation is not made in the form of a formal written complaint, a complaint form is completed by the Department and a complaint number is assigned.)
  • A copy of the complaint and a request for a written response are mailed to the person against whom the complaint was filed (Respondent).
  • A written acknowledgment that the complaint has been received is mailed to the person who filed the complaint (Complainant)
  • The respondent may submit a letter of response to the complaint. If a written response is not submitted, the complaint process continues without a response.
  • The complainant and the respondent are sent written notify cation of the date, time, and location of any meeting at which the complaint will be discussed.

The Board Meeting

  • Unlicensed Practice complaints are addressed by the Full Board in executive session (meaning closed to the public). Board meetings are open to the public unless the chairperson determines an individual’s right to privacy outweighs the public’s right to know. If so, that portion of the meeting will be closed to the public (only the respondent, complainant, and legal counsel for each (if any) may be present).
  • The complaint and response (if any) are provided to the board members prior to an upcoming board meeting for their review. The board meeting is not a hearing, but rather a meeting at which the information provided is considered and discussed by the board.

DISMISSAL

  • If the board dismisses a complaint, the complaint can be dismissed with or without prejudice.
  • Dismissal With Prejudice-The complaint is dismissed and cannot be considered in the future.
  • Dismissal Without Prejudice-The complaint is dismissed but may be considered by the board in the future if there are ever allegations of a similar nature.

INVESTIGATION

  • The board can request an investigator be assigned to gather additional information surrounding the allegations made in the complaint. This may involve interviews with the respondent, the complainant, and possible witnesses.
  • After the investigation has been completed, an investigative report is prepared and presented to the board for consideration at a subsequent meeting.
  • Following the board’s review of the investigative report, a determination is made to either dismiss the complaint or take action in the form of a Cease and Desist or an Injunction.

CEASE & DESIST / INJUNCTION

  • The board may issue a Cease & Desist or seek an Injunction.
  • Cease & Desist–A letter from the administrative agency prohibiting a person or business from doing or continuing to do a certain activity.
  • Injunction-A writ granted by a court prohibiting a person or business from doing or continuing to do a certain activity.

For more information, contact DLI Business Standards Division at 406-841-2300

Continuining Education Requirements

FAQ

There are two ways to get an item or matter to the board for its consideration.  First, you may submit an item or matter in writing at least three days prior to the meeting to the Board of Massage Therapy via facsimile to: (406)841-2305; or via email to: dlibsdlmt@mt.gov; or via mail or hand-delivery to the following address:

301 South Park 4th Floor
PO Box 200513
Helena MT  59620-0513

If you do not submit your item or matter to the board in writing three days prior to the meeting, then you may show up at a board meeting and describe it to the board.  This can be done at the beginning of any meeting during a time that is called the “public comment period.”  The board can decide, at that time, whether to place your item or matter on a future agenda, but the board cannot take action on your item or matter on the same day that you describe it to the board during the public comment period.

Most, but not all, of the information on an application is public. If a request is received to access an application, a review is conducted to determine what information is not released to protect an individual's right of privacy. Social security numbers are an example of information that is not public.

Generally, the Board reviews applications that it has defined as non-routine.

No. All massage therapist licenses read "This verifies the below named is currently licensed as a Licensed Massage Therapist." The license number, status, (e.g. "active") and expiration date all appear on the license, but not the method of licensure.

No. All massage therapist licenses read "This verifies the below named is currently licensed as a Licensed Massage Therapist." The license number, status, (e.g. "active") and expiration date all appear on the license, but not the method of licensure.

An exemption means that a license is not required to practice. This means that individuals gain an exemption, not professions. For example, reflexology is listed under the exemptions, but not all reflexologists are allowed to practice without first obtaining a massage therapy license.

 

There are three general categories of persons who may qualify to practice massage therapy without obtaining a massage therapy license if the person meets certain requirements:

 

  1. Persons holding a Montana license in a different profession
  2. Persons practicing a touch therapy not usually considered massage therapy by the individuals practicing these modalities
  3. Other

  

Persons holding a Montana license in a different profession whose scope includes massage are allowed to perform massage therapy only while performing the duties of their licensed profession: a nurse performing nursing duties, a chiropractor during the course of practicing chiropractic, etc. This is to ensure that a person practicing his or her licensed profession can perform all of what is allowed under that license without having to also obtain a massage therapy license. However, setting up a practice to perform massage therapy is not permitted without first obtaining a massage therapy license.

Persons practicing a touch therapy not usually considered massage therapy by the individuals practicing these modalities.
The legislature has determined that massage therapy includes any practice (not already licensed by the state) that performs "structured touch, pressure, positioning or holding to soft tissues of the body" - MCA 37-33-403(4). This means that while practitioners may not consider their work to be massage therapy, the law is broad enough to define those practices as massage therapy and requires the Board of Massage Therapy to regulate these practices through licensure. However, the legislature has also determined that in certain cases these individuals can qualify for an exemption and do not require the
Board's oversight.
A worksheet has been developed to determine whether an individual qualifies for an exemption under this provision. Download the worksheet here.

 

Other categories of persons who are exempt:

 

  1. A continuing education instructor while instructing in Montana.
  2. Massage therapy students when participating in a supervised, school-sanctioned activity.
  3. Native American traditional healers or faith healers.

Idaho, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Washington, New York, Georgia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, Utah, New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, and Texas

A massage therapy student  may practice the skills of massage therapy only when:

    1.   the student is enrolled in a board-approved program,

    2.   the practice is designated as a school-sanctioned activity, and

    3.   the practie is performed under the supervision of a licensed massage therapist.

See ARM 24.155.301(5) and (6) for the definitions of "school-sanctioned" and "supervision" as these requirements must be met or the student may not practice the skills of massage therapy.  A student who is lawfully practicing the skills of massage therapy is not prohibited from receiving compensation.  It is not uncommon for the student's school to have a policy concerning this issue.