ADVOCATE FOR MASSAGE THERAPY AS A RECOGNIZED & RESPECTED HEALTHCARE PROFESSION
By Dagmar Growe, LMT
Thanks to the many LMTs who responded to our recent informal survey. We appreciate the time you took to write.
First off, I want to clarify a point that some respondents seem to have misunderstood: WSMTA has no position as to whether therapists should be requiring patients to be vaccinated or not. This is a decision individual business owners need to make for their business.
Not surprisingly, there is a shared sense regarding one’s autonomy about healthcare issues. On the one end of the spectrum are those who for a variety of reasons are choosing not to be vaccinated, on the other are those who fear for their own safety, and the safety of vulnerable family members or patients when exposed to unvaccinated patients. I heard from a therapist who works at a spa where a sizable number of patients ask to be seen by vaccinated therapists only. Most therapists are ok working with unvaccinated patients, as long as masks are worn (see article regarding mask requirements).
A number of respondents asked if refusing to work with unvaccinated patients is legal. A business owner has the choice to refuse service, unless the service is rendered under a health insurance contract. That contract will contain a non-discrimination clause, and insurances will look at the refusal as discrimination.
Some responses seemed to indicate a certain lack of tolerance for those making a different choice regarding vaccination. I would like to remind all of us that the right to make a choice regarding our own health goes in all directions: To receive the vaccine, or to not receive it, both for therapists and for clients, to expose oneself to unvaccinated patients or to unvaccinated therapists.The patient who chooses to not see an unvaccinated therapist deserves as much respect as the therapist who chooses (again for whatever reason) to not receive the vaccine. We can accommodate our patient’s choice by developing referral relationships: Those who are not willing to work with unvaccinated patients can provide names of therapists who will, therapists who are not vaccinated can refer to vaccinated therapists. Our strength lies in being a diverse community of massage therapists - by working together we can accommodate many different choices and needs.
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Advocate for Massage Therapy as a Recognized & Respected Healthcare Profession