2017 Social Media Advocacy!!!

Advocacy —> Recognition —> Access

 

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and the MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and the CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in over 40 active state task forces, and a growing number bills filed each legislative session. In addition, state recognition efforts have led to the creation of a:

 

  • music therapy licenses in Georgia (2012), Nevada (2011), North Dakota (2011), Oklahoma (2016), and Oregon (2015)
  • music therapy state certification in Utah (2014)
  • music therapy registry in Rhode Island (2014)
  • music therapy title protection in Connecticut (2016)

 

None of these efforts would have been successful without the grassroots advocacy efforts of music therapists across the country. In fact, we recommend you check out all of these amazing music therapy 2017 social media advocacy projects HERE!

 

Since 2013 The George Center staff has attempted to reach the public with our music therapy advocacy message through music video. This year is no exception. Although our video is late (we have a good excuse, we swear!), we are proud to present...

 

The George Center 2017 Social Media Advocacy Music Video

"Can't Stop the Feeling"

Is Your Music Therapist Board Certified AND Licensed?

For those readers who have been with us since last year, you most likely know that I served on our state task force seeking state recognition for music therapists in Georgia. Our efforts at the Capitol were rewarded when our music therapy licensure law passed both houses and was signed by Governor Deal on May 1, 2012. By January 1, 2014 ALL MUSIC THERAPISTS WORKING IN GEORGIA MUST BE LICENSED TO PRACTICE!

This is an exciting time because it means that for the first time the state of Georgia will require the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential as the minimum requirement to practice music therapy in our state. That’s not to say that someone who is not a music therapist can’t play music in a hospital, school, or rehab setting. Of course they can! And should! The music therapy licensure law simply outlines that music therapists have completed specialized degrees, 1200 clinical training hours, and a board certification exam in order to effectively treat clients. And it means that YOU as the consumer have access to higher quality services and can rest assured that your therapist is knowledgeable in using music to attain non-musical therapeutic goals. Not to mention, all licensed MT-BC’s must complete a background check. Duh.

In fact, the Georgia Secretary of State has appointed a music therapy advisory group to lead the way in regards to rules and regulations for music therapists in the state. The advisory committee is made up of 3 music therapists, 1 consumer, and 1 medical professional. I am honored to serve on the advisory committee and happy to report that we just had our first meeting last week! The consumer and medical professional serving on the board have had extensive experience working with other licensing boards and seemed genuinely interested in helping us navigate the growth of our profession. After being sworn in, we outlined some very important items for music therapists in Georgia. For instance…

  • In Georgia, music therapists can start applying for their licenses on August 15th 2013.
  • Applications must be snail mailed (can you believe it?). They must be notarized and sent with a check or money order, background check, and proof of residency and citizenship. Also, licensees must request that the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) email proof of certification to the licensing division of the Secretary of State.
  • The license must be renewed every 2 years.

So, next time you looking to hire a music therapist, why don’t you ask to see their credentials?

The George Center is proud of the fact that all of our music therapists are board certified and will be licensed by the end of the year. Call us to consult with a credentialed music therapist today!

 

Click to sign up for a free consultation!

 

7 Celebrities Who "Get" Music Therapy (Slideshare)

Sometimes, it's tough out there for music therapists and friends of music therapy. Many times, we find ourselves combatting misinformation or misrepresentation.

But there's no reason to sulk! Music therapy also has some powerful advocates and believers! Just check out this Slideshare on 7 celebrities who "get" music therapy. They're advocates, supporters, recipients, or simply individuals who have first hand experience witnessing what music therapists do everyday. Enjoy!

 

Interested in learning more about music therapy? Why not sign up for a FREE consultation? We'll tell you what kind of treatment plan we can put together for you, a loved one, or your healthcare/educational facility.

 

All images from Wikipedia Commons.

Red Carpet: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_carpet_at_81st_Academy_Awards_in_Kodak_Theatre.jpg

Hollywood Sign: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hollywood_Sign_PB050006.jpg

Ben Folds: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ben_Folds_at_Uptown_Mix_2004_cropped.jpg

Joey Fatone: https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:JoeyFatoneAAFeb09.jpg

Gabrielle Giffords: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gabrielle_Giffords_official_portrait.jpg

Jodi Picoult: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DIG13478-016.jpg

J.K. Simmons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JKSimmons07TIFF.jpg

Mickey Hart: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mickey_Hart,_Web_2.0_Conference.jpg

Bob Woodruff: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bobwoodruff.jpg

 

Two Vitally Important Things We Learn Every Time Someone Asks "What's Music Therapy?"

Last week, I posted my presentation from the SER-AMTA Conference in Chattanooga, and I wanted to write a spin-off of that presentation regarding a point I made that I think holds some significance for our field.

In my presentation, I expressed my belief that music therapy's biggest liability can also be its biggest assest. What is this weakness that also serves as a strength?

I'm speaking of the uniqueness of music therapy.

As a music therapist, I probably get asked three times a week "What's music therapy?" It's almost a running joke in our field. In fact, the first they I was taught in my "Intro to Music Therapy" course my freshmen year at Florida State was how to answer that question.

Now, admittedly hearing this question so frequently can be disheartening. We pour ourselves into our work, and the lack of public awareness can grate on you at times. That's the liability side of this equation.

Yet there's another side to the equation which serves as an asset. Every time we're asked "What's music therapy?" we learn two things:

1. They (the asker) don't know what music therapy is (liability).

2. They WANT to know what music therapy is (asset).

That ubiquitous question lets us know that the public doesn't yet know about music therapy, but it also lets us know that they're interested in knowing about it.

That's because music therapy is attention grabbing.

There are plenty of professions out there that the public knows nothing about, yet they fail to raise an eyebrow when brought up in conversation. Doesn't make those jobs any less important, they just don't quite grab one's attention.

But "music therapy." There's a name that starts a conversation.

Have I peaked your interest? Why not have a conversation about music therapy with one of our fabulous therapists! We'd love to design a program that fits your needs.

 

SER-AMTA 2013 Presentation: Music Therapy in Pediatric Interdisciplinary Clinics

Two weekends ago, The George Center took a trip up to Chattanooga, TN for the annual Southeastern Region - American Music Therapy Association Conference. In addition to taking in some great presentations, our own Andrew Littlefield and Jamie George gave presentations of their own! Here is video and slides for Andrew's presentation, which centers on music therapy's place in Speech, OT, and PT clinics.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

 

Slides

 

 

Music Therapy in Pediatric Interdisciplinary Clinics from adlittlefield

 

Interested in offering music therapy services in your healthcare facility? Let's chat!

 

Attention Parents and Providers! Medicaid Changes Related to the Affordable Care Act Coming

Although some waiver programs cover music therapy services, core Medicaid does not. So you may be asking yourself why a music therapy practice is posting a blog about Medicaid changes as related to the Affordable Care Act. Well, let me explain…

As a therapist I make it a point to be involved in the overall care of my patients and their families. In addition, I see the struggles that many our families deal with on a daily basis just trying to get basic medical care for their loved ones, not to mention the additional cost related to therapy and prescription coverage. Many of our patients and their families are dependent upon Medicaid funding as primary and/or secondary insurance to cover required medical treatments and tests.

Therefore, if our families are affected, we as a community are affected.

There are new Medicaid changes coming July 1, 2013 which will require that all physicians who order, prescribe, refer services for Medicaid recipients be enrolled as Medicaid providers. Many providers choose not to accept Medicaid because of funding and timely reimbursement issues. This will effectively cause many of our kids to lose their Medicaid coverage and/or be required to find a new primary care physician that accepts Medicaid! However, if a provider chooses NOT to accept Medicaid they can still enroll as an OPR (Ordering, Prescribing, and Referring) Medicaid provider by registering at the DCH website before April 1, 2013.

Even if you do have a pediatrician who is a Medicaid provider, consider this scenario:

  • You go to your child's specialist, who doesn't take Medicaid.  He orders a blood test, but it can't be done in his office or Medicaid won't pay for it.  
  • You have to take the order to your Pediatrician, who re-writes the order.  
  • However, most general pediatricians don't do blood work in their office, so you have to take the order to LabCorp or Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to get the test done.  

Three different medical offices, just so Medicaid will cover one blood test!  Multiply that by every therapy order, prescription, and diagnostic test your child needs, and you can see how this will become a significant issue for many of our clients. Additionally, those who refuse to find a new primary care physician that accepts Medicaid will have to pay for everything out-of-pocket.

Click here for a link to the Georgia Department of Community Health announcement.

Click here for a link the DCH DCH-i February/March 2013, Volume 2, Issue 3 newsletter further clarifying the new procedures.

Please take a few minutes to call and email your elected officials and let them know how this will affect their constituents.  You can find your elected officials by visiting www.votesmart.org. Lastly, please ask your current providers to enroll as an OPR providers at the DCH website BEFORE April 1, 2013.

Here at The George Center, we pride ourselves on finding every way possible for our clients to pay for therapy. Contact us today and we'll see how we can help you find funding for music therapy services!

 

Image credit: Flickr user atlexplorer (Original image)

Nothing Could Be Finer Than A Hill Day In South Carolina

This past Wednesday, I got the opportunity to take a trip back to my home state of South Carolina and spend it with some amazing music therapists. The Music Therapy Association of South Carolina (MTASC) spent the day advocating for the music therapy profession by talking to South Carolina legislators about the music therapy profession and the importance of licensure.

 So why are music therapists of South Carolina spending their day asking their state legislators to take notice of the profession of music therapy? Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board of Music Therapists have created a State Operational Plan. The goal of the plan is to have music therapy represented in every state. Some states have found that a music therapy registry has been significant enough to represent the profession whereas other states (such as Georgia) found that licensure is the best way.

So why is licensure important you ask? Well, music therapists want to provide services to anyone who wants/needs music therapy. Some insurance companies do not cover music therapy, forcing clients to dig deep into their pockets to pay for music therapy services. Licensure would give music therapists and clients other opportunities for reimbursement for music therapy services. The second reason states are seeking licensure is for title protection. Currently there is nothing stopping anyone from calling himself a music therapist even if that person doesn’t have the 1200 clinical training hours and board certification. Music therapists do not want the wonderful people who sing songs and play instruments in nursing homes and hospitals to stop what they are doing. The profession would just like to keep the title of music therapist to those who have completed the professional requirements of the profession.

Twenty-five music therapists were present for South Carolina’s hill day. My favorite sight of the entire day was witnessing the teams that were formed:  There was a ratio of one student to one professional. It was great to see the students so involved within their states organization and advocating for their future profession. The hill day began with a continuing education course about the history of the State Operational Plan as well as tools for talking to the state legislators about the music therapy bill. Following the morning gathering, the music therapists met in front of the Capitol Building with a list of representatives to talk to about the importance of the SB 277 also known as The Music Therapy Act. The afternoon was spent talking to senators and house representatives about what music therapy is and why the music therapy bill is important.

I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be a part of my home state’s hill day. The representatives that I got the chance to speak with seemed to be receptive of the information we shared and offered helpful advice for the political life of bills in South Carolina. I am so proud of all the wonderful work being done by the South Carolina music therapy task force, the professionals who took time out of their work schedules to be present, as well as the future of our profession, the students, to be present in the future of the music therapy profession.

CALL TO ACTION! Ava's Law in Georgia

Ava’s Law, which state Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, filed this week, would require Georgia-regulated health plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism, which includes expensive, intensive therapies and services. Georgia is one of just 18 remaining states yet to require autism coverage by law. Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana did this and SO CAN WE! Georgia's 1 in 88 Can't Wait!

Currently, insurance companies in Georgia won’t pay for specialized therapy for children with autism. Parents must either accept the diagnosis and rely on minimal services from the public school system, or pay for therapy that can improve the child’s abilities at an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 per year.

Ava’s Law is named for Ava Bullard, an 8-year-old Lyons, Ga., girl whose mother, Anna, has crusaded for the insurance coverage since her daughter was diagnosed with autism.

To help advocate for our children please do one or more of the following:

1. Call, email, or pay a visit to your legislators and urge them to vote for HB 309! You can find you legislators by going to www.votesmart.org and entering your zip code.

2. Share this blog or any of the links below on your social networking sites so that others may join our crusade!

3. Email Representative Ben Harbin (ben.harbin@house.ga.gov) and THANK HIM for championing this Bill! Co-sponsors are: Rep. Katie Dempsey, Rep. Matt Ramsey, Rep. Nikki Randall, Rep. Paul Battles and Rep. Jay Neal.

4. Sign up at www.georgiaautismbill.com to receive future email campaigns immediately. Please contact Meagan Andrade at meagan@georgiaautismbill.com with questions.