New Action Opportunities and Update on Music Therapy Licensure

An update from Melissa Hirokawa, M.M., MT-BC:

    A sincere THANK YOU to those of you who have responded to our calls to action about music therapy licensure so far this year! The active involvement of the music therapy community will significantly help our cause!

    We feel that the Subcommittee on Licensing Hearing went well, even though there was opposition by Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice (he testified against and opposed all proposed licenses heard). The subcommittee will make their recommendation to the Health and Human Service Reform Committee within the next 10-14 days. This provides us with an important window of time to continue to send information and letters of support to the committee members before they make their decision.

    Sending a unified, positive, concise, and informative message through both letter writing and in-person meetings is going to be our most effective approach.

    Below are new action opportunities:

  • Action Opportunity 1: Write and Gather General Letters of Support

    Even if you have already sent a letter to legislators, the biggest way in which you can help is to write and gather letters of support that we can use throughout the 2016 session.

    Letters from music therapists, others who work in healthcare (administrators, colleagues, PT, OT, SLP, RN, SW, etc), and family/friends/neighbors who are supportive of our work as music therapists will be incredibly helpful. We want to flood Senator’s and Representative’s offices with letters of support.

    We are asking that these letters be addressed to Respected Committee Members so that you don’t need to rewrite letters for each different committee (we may have 9 to go through between the Senate and the House).

    The State Licensure Task Force has put together the attached Please Support Music Therapy Licensure (2016) document to provide more information on why we are seeking licensure in MN, as well as a sample legislative letter.

    The key points we want to make are that licensure for music therapists in MN would protect our clients and increase accessibility.

    Because we are maintaining a folder of all letters of support, please CC Melissa Hirokawa to your letters.

  • Action Opportunity 2: Send Thank You to the Subcommittee on Licensing
    Send messages thanking Representatives for hearing our bill in the Subcommittee on Licensing and state your support of HF 2366.

    Attached is a phone script/letter template as well as a list of subcommittee members and their email addresses and phone numbers.

  • Action Opportunity 3: Send Letters of Support to Your Representatives

    Send letters of support for HF 2366/SF 2197 to the representatives that serve in your district. You can look up your Senators and Representatives here:

    District finder

  • Action Opportunity 4: Participate in Music Therapy Week and Hill Day
    We will have our 2016 Music Therapy Week March 13-19. We requested a proclamation from the Governor. The purpose of music therapy week is to raise awareness of and celebrate the profession of music therapy, and the impact it has on those that receive music therapy services. During this week we would like to have additional community outreach, community education, music therapist education, and expressions of gratitude for those that make music therapy services possible.

    As part of this week, we will have our Hill Day at the Capital on Tuesday March 15th. We are requesting that as many music therapists and supporters of music therapy as possible come to the Capital. We will be providing information packets to every Senator and Representative, and will be meeting in person with as many Senators and Representatives as possible. We will pair those that feel more comfortable at the capital with those who are less comfortable there, and will provide coaching as to what to talk about at these meetings.

  • Note on the media:
    We would like to keep the music therapy licensure topic out of the media as much as possible to avoid turning it into a potential political battle which would make progress more difficult.

    However, if anyone from the media reaches out to you to talk about licensure, we encourage you to talk about what you/we do as music therapists, and to stick with our two main rationales for licensure: to improve access to services and to protect the public from potential harm.

    Attached is a document with recommended Media Talking Points. These talking points are a combination of our “Music Therapy Fact Sheet” and “Please Support Licensure” document.

    Please contact Todd Schwartzberg , State Licensure Task Force Chair for assistance crafting your response.

    If you have any questions or concerns with music therapy licensure, small or large, please don’t hesitate to contact:

    Melissa Hirokawa, MTAM Government Relations Chair

    Todd Schwartzberg, State Licensure Task Force Chair

    We know that everyone is incredibly busy. Thank you in advance for your time and energy!

    Thank you for the amazing work you do out there!