By Pete Whitridge

License renewal is on our minds with the deadline just around the corner on August 31. I recently renewed Lee’s massage license after she completed the final of her required classes (Ethics, Florida Law, and Prevention of Medical Errors) with me at our favorite teaching location, Key West. For those of you feeling a little trepidation about the online renewal process, I’ll walk you through it. If you’d like to preview the process prior to logging into the renewal site, I’ve attached a Dropbox link to a set of screenshots for your review.

LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS: Below is the easy way to navigate to the Florida Board of Massage Therapy to complete your renewal.

  1. Go to: floridasmassagetherapy.gov 
  2. Click on Renew, then click on Massage Therapist to get the dropdown box. 
  3. Select Renew Online. This will take you to MQA (Medical Quality Assurance) Online Services. 
  4. Fill in the Licensed Practitioner box with your Last Name, SSN, and DOB. 
  5. Once you are logged in, there’s an introduction page with information about the renewal features and links for further information. Again, if you want to take a look at the actual pages you will be filling out, follow the Dropbox link above.

FINGERPRINT RETENTION: As I mentioned last month, some of us are reaching the end of the five year period validating our Department of Health background checks. You will be notified by mail about the dates of your own personal 60-day window for completing this online process. This requires a fee payment authorizing retention of your prints by the Agency for Health Care Administration to initiate a new background check that will be good for the next five years. Failure to do so will require you to complete a new fingerprint and background check process (a MORE expensive and time-consuming option.)

Many of you have already had the opportunity to do this. If you’ve completed this, great job! If not, be aware that I’ve been informed of some issues with some licensees trying to retain their fingerprints. To minimize problems, I suggest visiting the Clearinghouse Applicant Initiated (CHAI) website at apps.ahca.myflorida.com/CHAI to make sure your information is accurate.

Dates for this vary depending on when you obtained your initial fingerprinting. You must register on the CHAI system before your fingerprint data is deleted and this must be done within your assigned window. Your own 60-day window should not be missed or you will be required to obtain NEW FINGERPRINTS via the LiveScan system. This will entail a visit to an approved location and cost close to $90 (instead of the $43.25 required for retention). Failure to complete the background check will result in disciplinary action against your license.

For instance, there are many therapists whose window closed in July 2019. If that applies to you, please act now to obtain NEW LiveScan print data, have it processed with the FL-BOMT and accepted as proof that you meet Section 456.0135, Florida Statutes for licensure renewal. If your background check is not complete, and you renew your license, you may face discipline and a possible fine. If your window has passed, please try to resolve your issues through the CHAI system immediately to stay in compliance with your legal requirements as an LMT.

This will be my final update for the current 2017-2019 licensure renewal period. I will be teaching in Gainesville one more time before the end of August. I am very excited to share much of the new information I’ve been learning over the last year. The Myofascial Components of Head, Neck and Shoulder Pain class is useful for therapists at any level of experience and skills. Come enjoy a bodywork weekend and fulfill all 18 hours of massage related CE’s required by the Florida Board of Massage Therapy. For information, please contact me at justaskpete@mac.com or 772-332-6116.

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