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Date: Nov 17, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Online bookings are not available for this class, please see registration info below.


Tracy Walton, pioneer in the oncology massage field, explores how oncology massage therapists can successfully navigate the minefield of fee setting and discounts.

Early Bird Price (Register by Oct. 29th): $110
Regular Price (After Oct. 29th): $140
4 CEs, NCBTMB approved. This class does not award NY CEs.

Do you struggle with what to charge for oncology massage therapy and hospice work? Skilled massage therapy can provide enormous benefit to people experiencing cancer, cancer treatment, and end of life care. Yet these circumstances may come with financial barriers to receiving massage therapy when it is needed most. Access to care is important, but so is a sustainable massage therapy practice.

Oncology massage therapists (OMTs) often face the difficult decision of how much to charge for their services, taking into consideration flexibility with their fees and discounts. At a heightened time of client need, it can be challenging for practitioners to balance their own financial needs with the needs of clients who are in financial stress.

Some questions that OMTs face:
• Should I offer a discount to clients in cancer treatment, or at end of life?
• Who receives a discount, and why? How do I assess the need for a discount?
• How do I manage awkward conversations with clients about fees and discounts?
• Should I charge more for oncology massage, as a specialty area?
• How do I tell the hospice coordinator that I need to be paid, not volunteer for the “exposure?”
• Do I charge a travel fee for a home visit if it is a client in hospice? How much?

And some of our deep fears:
• What if I charge too little, so that my work is unsustainable or undervalued?
• What if I charge too much, and it seems like I have an inflated sense of my value?
• What if I feel guilty either way?

These are tough decisions, with a lot at play. We might rush through them because they’re uncomfortable, or avoid them entirely. It can be painful to see our own limits in the face of someone’s need for our services. We often navigate these decisions alone, or an employer determines them without our input. And the stakes are high. What if we decide against our own interests? If we do, it’s a formula for burnout, resentment, and an unsustainable practice.

How can this course help?
When setting fees and discounts, or negotiating with an employer doing the same, it helps to know in advance where you can give and where you cannot. It helps to know what to say to a client during an awkward conversation.

First, we lay out the strong case for OMT and massage therapy in hospice care. This might seem basic, but knowing the value of a service helps to price it appropriately. Along the way, we disentangle some of the factors and fears that go into setting fees. We consider the context in which we work: income equality, unequal access to health care, and clients who are in the middle of a health crisis. These are highly charged conditions that can strongly influence our decision-making.

After acknowledging the forces at play, and the value of our work, we explore pricing options. We look at base pricing for OMT in private practice and for home visits. We line up the pros and cons of special pricing. We look at discounts, sliding scales, and packages. We take on memberships and pay-it-forward programs.

We move from there to actual client scenarios. We brainstorm what to say for challenging situations, then have practice conversations. We discuss what to say, and when to say nothing.

I bring my own perspective, from years of experience and stories from my own practice. I bring advice from the many OMTs I have mentored. We also draw on the wisdom of the group, gathered in our classroom setting. We look at all the angles. Each practitioner has a unique style, so we do not search for a one-size-fits all approach. Instead, we search for the right solution for each therapist.

You will leave the course with:
• Factors to consider in pricing for oncology massage therapy and massage at end of life
• Reasons to discount and not discount
• Scripts for dealing with awkward conversations
• A list of problems that OMT solves, to use in setting fees and promoting OMT

When all is said and done, we hope you feel stronger about your fees or discounts, and how you can accommodate your clients. If you work in a facility where fees are already set, you might have new perspectives to share with an employer.

Massage therapy professional or advanced student. Already practicing (or hoping to practice) oncology massage therapy or massage therapy in hospice care.

Tracy Walton, MS, LMT, is a pioneer in the use of massage therapy in cancer care. She is also an established instructor, researcher, and practitioner, focused on some of the most important issues in massage therapy. She has been working and teaching in the field for 26+ years, has learned from thousands of clients, and has a story or two to share. Read more about her here.

What to Bring
Your experience, your questions, your challenges.
An open mind and heart.
Curiosity (“How do other people handle this? What insights might I bring home? What surprises are in store for me?”)
Snacks for you. Snacks to share if you want. Chocolate is particularly well-received.
Pen and paper.
There is no hands-on work.

Withdrawal Policy
Once registered for the course, if you withdraw by 7 days prior to the start of the course, you will receive a refund of tuition paid, minus a $20 administrative fee. After that date, there is no refund of tuition.

Registration / Cancellation Policies
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