On April 9, 2018 Andrew Lewarne ED, RMTAO met with MPPs from all parties regarding ways to increase the access of Ontarians to massage therapy treatment. The discussions revolved around the inclusion of massage therapy in Home Care, Family Health Teams and other Integrative Health Models. Of most importance were the discussions around alternative modes of funding with the potential future melding of private and public health services.
The MPPs expressed interest in the research supporting the benefits of massage therapy, including recent results from the Primary Care Low Back Pain Pilot program. There was the discussion of the development of family health care teams, where the primary health care gatekeeper (GP) would have access to referral information for any of the regulated health professions in Ontario. The inclusion of RMTs in these teams would improve the access to massage therapy, especially in remote, rural communities and under-served populations, and the RMTAO is committed to providing assistance to further that initiative.
The RMTAO also met with members of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO). They were very interested in the use of massage therapy for people with spinal cord injuries. They are currently creating a best practices document for the government and their clients, and they expressed an interest in including massage therapy as an important additional therapy for their clients in that document and other resources such as inclusion within information found on their new website.
The RMTAO will be providing SCIO as well as the government representatives with the research and information necessary to ensure that massage therapy is included as a valued partner in future initiatives.
The RMTAO will continue to engage with government representatives and partner with health care organizations to increase the awareness of, and access to, massage therapy in Ontario and bring the profession of massage therapy to the discussion table on important health initiatives.