New “Professional Conduct” rules were effective December 2015 for Washington state massage practitioners and acupuncturists. These new regulations are a big change from past regulations. Most of the changes have to do with dating clients/patients. However, the conduct is qualified by stating:
Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to:
- Suggesting the possibility of dating, sexual or romantic relationship after the professional relationship ends.
- Terminating a professional relationship for the purpose of dating or sexual activity with patient/client.
- Sexually demeaning behavior including verbal or physical contact, reasonably interpreted as humiliating, embarrassing or threatening.
- A health care provider shall not engage in any activity previously listed, with a former patient/client or key party within two years after the provider-patient relationship ends.
- Two years after patient-provider relationship is terminated, the provider shall not engage in a relationship if there is likelihood the patient will return to care with the provider or there is an imbalance of power, influence, or special knowledge.
- Patient initiation or consent does not excuse or negate provider’s responsibility.
Please contact your licensing board with any specific questions regarding these new rules.