Contact: DOH Communications,
Ashley Carr, (850) 245- 4111
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES 80 MORE MASSAGE THERAPY SUSPENSION ORDERS
-Surgeon General identifies additional individuals who obtained licenses through fraud-
TALLAHASSEE- In addition to the 81 licenses suspended last week in conjunction with Governor Scott, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong today issued 80 emergency suspension orders (ESOs) for massage therapists who obtained their licenses to practice through fraud. As part of the ongoing investigation and partnerships with law enforcement and anti-human trafficking groups, it has been discovered that these individuals paid between $10,000-$15,000 to obtain fraudulent college certificates and transcripts. These suspension orders prevent these individuals from continuing to practice massage therapy. To date, nearly 200 individuals have been identified as being involved in this fraudulent activity.
“The Department of Health is committed to retaining the integrity of the massage therapy industry here in Florida,” said Dr. Armstrong. “We will continue working with massage therapy schools and our various partners to ensure that this type of activity is not tolerated in our state.”
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) continues to work with the Clearwater Human Trafficking Task Force and the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force on a joint investigation of several Florida massage establishments, which began earlier this year.
Governor Scott tasked the Department of Health with reviewing the practices of Florida’s approved massage therapy schools and identifying measures to prevent this behavior moving forward. The report will be shared with Governor Scott and members of the media this week.
The Department of Health licenses massage therapists, among 40 other professions, and approved massage therapy schools are dually regulated by the Florida Department of Education and DOH.