Some of you may remember my post from last week discussing music therapy, politics, and the meeting that we had in our state this past weekend. I promised an update, so here it is.
As I mentioned in the previous post, South Carolina is poised to submit legislation for licensure of music therapists in our South Carolina. I didn’t delve too much into what that means in the last post, so I will explain that now.
Music Therapists are certified professionals. In the past, having a national certification was the norm amongst music therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, etc. However, those larger fields began to move to state recognition as the federal government handed it more to each state to govern the professionals working within it. As a result, a form of state recognition became the norm as opposed to national certification.
The effect of that in this state has been to limit funding availability. Historically, it has been very hard in South Carolina to practice music therapy. Medicaid, for example, does not like to approve funding of services provided by someone not licensed by the state. This limits the access of clients to music therapy services.
From this history, we arrive now at our current situation. We are poised to present legislation for the licensure of music therapists! Our meeting this past Saturday featured Dena Register from the Certification Board for Music Therapists, as well as Judy Simpson from the American Music Therapy Association. They gave a presentation about advocacy and answered a lot of questions about moving forward with our legislation and the impact that it would have on music therapists in our state.
I have to say, these women are pros. They lawless presented to the group the pros and cons of what we are doing, as well as the reasons that we have to do things the way that we are. In our state, unlike some others, a registry or simple title protection is not going to help us. South Carolina is not an easy state, and we are fighting hard so that our services can reach the clients we all care so much about! It was amazing to see Judy and Dena handle and answer the questions. It was inspiring to hear from other music therapists their position, and remember how it may have changed.
Mostly, it was amazing to see such a large gathering of music therapists and students in one location. With it being difficult to practice in South Carolina, we don’t have as many music therapists as some. In the past, our meetings may have had low attendance. On Saturday, we had nearly 40 people present! That is so exciting.
So where are we going from here? We are taking a final vote of board certified music therapists in our state’s opinion about moving forward with licensure. After that vote, we may be calling upon you, those who partake of our services, to contact your state legislators and let them know all about music therapy and its benefits.
I’m also our state’s new President Elect. I’m excited!