NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A7498A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to including
coverage of treatment rendered by a massage therapist
Provides that the chair of the workers' compensation board can set a fee
schedule for massage therapy services for injured employees
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends section 13 of the workers' compensation law to allow
the chair of the workers' compensation board to set the fee schedule for
massage therapy services provided to injured employees upon referral by
the injured employee's physician.
Section 2 amends subdivision 1 of section 13-b to implement a process
for the creation and filing of records for treatment with massage thera-
Section 3 amends subdivision 1 of section 13-g of the workers' compen-
sation law to allow for the payment of bills for massage therapy
services under the workers' compensation law.
Section 4 establishes the effective date.
Massage therapists are licensed to provide care to patients in New York
State under the provisions of Article 155 of the Education Law. Howev-
er, injured employees can only be reimbursed for massage therapy
services on an ad-hoc basis, with some workers' compensation carriers
allowing it and others denying it.
This bill would establish a fee schedule for massage therapy in the same
manner as physical and occupational therapy and allow an injured employ-
ee to receive reimbursement for massage therapy services. Massage is
now used with children, the elderly, babies in incubators, patients with
cancer, AIDS, heart conditions and strokes, and in intensive care units.
Most American hospices provide massage and it is offered in many health
centers, pain clinics, and drug treatment clinics. An October 2003
study by the American Hospital Association (AHA), with support from the
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), shows that many hospitals
are incorporating massage therapy into their pain management programs.
Of the 1,007 hospitals responding to the AHA survey, massage therapy
was the most prevalent complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
offering, with 32 percent of hospitals reporting CAM use saying the
offer massage therapy. Of the hospitals with massage therapy programs,
more than 73 percent utilize massage therapy for pain management and
The AHA survey and the increasing use of massage therapy as revealed in
annual consumer visit surveys suggest that hospitals and healthcare
organizations are responding positively to the consensus of research and
evidence highlighting the benefits of massage therapy. Recent clinical
research on the efficacy of massage for pain management has demonstrated
1 Massage therapy is more effective for back pain than other complemen-
2 Massage therapy promotes relaxation and alleviated the perception of
pain and anxiety in cancer patients.
3 Massage therapy reduces post-traumatic headaches better than cold pack
4 A pilot study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles
found that massage, as part of hospital-based surgery treatment, reduces
pain and muscle spasms in patients who have undergone heart bypass
5 Massage stimulates the brain to produce endorphins.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), has identified the management
and treatment of pain as a significant national health issue. According
to NIH, pain is the most common reason people seek medical care and that
more than one third of all Americans will suffer from chronic pain at
some point in their lives. Chronic pain accounts for more than $100
billion in annual losses to American businesses through healthcare
expenses and lost productivity and approximately 14 percent of all
employees take time off from work due to pain each year.
2015-2016 referred to Labor
This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have
become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
May 7, 2019
Introduced by M. of A. WOERNER, DICKENS, McDONALD, D'URSO, BRABENEC,
DeSTEFANO, GOTTFRIED -- read once and referred to the Committee on
Labor -- recommitted to the Committee on Labor in accordance with
Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to including
coverage of treatment rendered by a massage therapist
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Paragraph (m) of subdivision 1 of section 13-b of the work-
2 ers' compensation law, as added by section 1 of part CC of chapter 55 of
3 the laws of 2019, is amended and a new paragraph (f-1) is added to read
4 as follows:
5 (f-1) "Massage therapist" shall mean licensed and having completed a
6 formal course of study and having passed an examination in accordance
7 with the education law, the regulations of the commissioner of educa-
8 tion, and the requirements of the board of regents.
9 (m) "Provider" shall mean a duly licensed acupuncturist, chiropractor,
10 massage therapist, nurse practitioner, occupational therapist, physical
11 therapist, physician, physician assistant, podiatrist, psychologist, or
12 social worker authorized by the chair.
13 § 2. Paragraphs (d) and (e) of subdivision 2 of section 13-b of the
14 workers' compensation law, as added by section 1 of part CC of chapter
15 55 of the laws of 2019, are amended to read as follows:
16 (d) Upon the prescription or referral of an authorized physician,
17 physician assistant, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner acting within the
18 scope of his or her practice, care or treatment may be rendered to an
19 injured employee by an authorized physical therapist, occupational ther-
20 apist [or], acupuncturist or massage therapist provided the conditions
21 and the treatment performed are among the conditions that the physical
22 therapist, occupational therapist [or], acupuncturist or massage thera-
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 7498--A 2
1 pist is authorized to treat pursuant to the education law or the regu-
2 lations of the commissioner of education. Where any such care or treat-
3 ment is rendered, records of the patient's condition and progress,
4 together with records of instruction for treatment, if any, shall be
5 maintained by the physical therapist, occupational therapist [or],
6 acupuncturist or massage therapist rendering treatment and by the refer-
7 ring physician, physician assistant, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner.
8 Said records shall be submitted to the chair on forms and at such times
9 as the chair may require.
10 (e) A record, report or opinion of a physical therapist, occupational
11 therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist or physician assistant shall
12 not be considered as evidence of the causal relationship of any condi-
13 tion to a work related accident or occupational disease under this chap-
14 ter. Nor may a record, report or opinion of a physical therapist, occu-
15 pational therapist [or], acupuncturist or massage therapist be
16 considered evidence of disability. Nor may a record, report or opinion
17 of a physician assistant be considered evidence of the presence of a
18 permanent or initial disability or the degree thereof.
19 § 3. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
20 have become a law.