The Complaint, Investigative, Disciplinary and Compliance Process
Filing A Complaint
Individuals may file complaints with the Maryland State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners. First, please complete the Complaint Form and the Authorization for Release of Information Form online. Then print and SIGN the forms before mailing to:
Maryland State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215
Complaints come to the Board’s attention from a wide variety of sources which include client and patient complaints, consumer complaints, complaints from healthcare facilities or non-healthcare facilities, other Board referrals or from federal, state and local law enforcement authorities.
The Investigative Unit performs preliminary investigations on all complaints in which the Board has jurisdiction. The Board reviews all complaints. If the Board believes that there may be a violation of the Massage Therapy Practice Act (the Act), the complaint is referred for further investigation.
During the intake process, a complaint is reviewed and analyzed by the Board Disciplinary Review Committee (DRC). As action(s) deem appropriate for that complaint, relevant records are subpoenaed and the respondent (i.e. licensee or registrant who is the subject of the complaint) is requested to respond to the complaint. Thereafter, the investigation is presented to the Disciplinary Review Committee and the full Board. As a result of the investigation of the original complaint, the Board after a review of the investigatory information at the end of any stage of the process, may determine to close an investigation or to continue the investigation and ultimately take some form of action against a practitioner’s license or registration. If violations of the law are substantiated, the Board may reprimand any licensee or registrant, place any licensee or registrant on probation, or suspend or revoke a license or registration. However, a complaint can be closed at this stage if no violation of the Maryland Massage Therapy Practice Act has occurred. Cases not closed will proceed to a full investigation.
The Investigations Unit is responsible for conducting full investigations into allegations filed against licensed massage therapists and registered massage practitioners that may involve violations of the Massage Therapy Practice Act (the Act). Complaints are received from a wide variety of sources, including but not limited to, patients, family members, other healthcare providers, other state agencies, law enforcement and the media. The Board also reviews and investigates anonymous complaints. The complaints received at the Board cover a wide range of allegations, including but not limited to, boundary violations, sexual improprieties, substance abuse, standard of care and standard of documentation violations, professional, physical or mental incompetency, misrepresentations in the records and in applications and practicing without a massage license or registration.
Investigations is responsible for fully developing the cases through objective investigative fact finding directed towards proving or disproving each alleged violation of (the Act). Based on information gathered during an investigation, the Board may determine that there is a risk of imminent danger to the public health, safety and welfare posed by the licensee or registrant. The Board may vote to Summarily Suspend the practitioner’s license or registration. A Summary Suspension suspends the practitioner’s license or registration before the evidentiary hearing is held. Following the Board’s vote for a summary suspension, the case is transmitted to the Office of Attorney General (OAG).
Case Resolution Conference
After the service of charges, the Board offers the respondent a Case Resolution Conference (CRC) which is a voluntary, informal, and confidential proceeding to explore the possibility of a consent order or other expedited resolution of the matter. The Board has a designated CRC committee comprised of a panel of the Board which meets with the respondent and administrative prosecutor to negotiate such a settlement. A proposed Consent Order must be affirmed by a majority of the quorum of Board. Cases that are settled by a Consent Order do not proceed to a formal, evidentiary hearing at OAH.
Notification of Board Disciplinary Actions and Mandated Reporting of Actions
The Administrative Office provides notification to the public of the Board’s disciplinary actions by updating the practitioner profiles on the Board’s licensing database and prepares summaries of the Board’s disciplinary actions for the Board’s newsletter and website. The Investigation Unit completes comprehensive reports of all disciplinary actions and forwards these reports to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a national information clearinghouse related to professional competence and conduct and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB), a national data collection program for reporting and disclosing certain final adverse actions taken against health care practitioners.
*Unlicensed or Unregistered Individuals Practicing Massage Therapy
Once a complaint is received by the Board, the Board first determines whether it has jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. If the individual is not a licensed massage therapist or registered massage practitioner, the Board will refer the complaint to the appropriate agency provided that the individuals appears to have been either practicing illegally or has misrepresented himself or herself as a licensed or registered practitioner.