...taking great pains to not waste 10 or 20 cents worth of postage (such as going and buying exact postage so as not to waste stamps) despite the fact that you routinely waste considerably larger amounts of money in other ways.
In August, I changed my last name through a legal marriage in Massachusetts. Marriage licenses in Massachusetts take anywhere from six months to over a year to become recorded at the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. However, the city or town will provide essentially a glorified photocopy of the form we filled out, complete with signature and seal and everything, as proof of marriage (and name change, if applicable). According to the Boston registrar, with whom I spoke last week, the document is accepted anywhere in the world for adoptions, purchases of property, and so forth. I have been able to change my name on everything (driver's license, mortgage, Social Security card, W-2) using either this copy of the license or a copy of my voter registration (I was able to get the voter registration immediately, but the marriage license copy took a week or so to get).
The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals changed the name on my Massachusetts counseling license without any documentation whatsoever. I just filled out a form, signed it, and received my new license. They apparently rely on my professionalism. Which really makes sense, given that they trust me to make professional judgments that impact people's lives; it would be a bit odd if they didn't also trust me to be honest in reporting my correct legal name.
The Certification Board for Music Therapists, however, is asking that I provide an actual registered copy of my marriage license in order to change my name. I had a lengthy conversation with a staff member there, who stated that they will not accept my driver's license, Social Security card, mortgage documents, tax documents, or professional license. I should mention that the MT-BC credential does require completion of extensive training and continuing education to secure and maintain, but is not a professional license by legal standards. Having the credential does not grant any sort of legal standing or privileges.
I just received a voice mail from a board staff member stating that she has talked to the board's lawyers, and I can fax over a copy of the marriage license from the city, and the board's lawyers would look at it and "decide if it is acceptable."
In the event that it is not, the board will effectively be asking me to use a name in a professional capacity that is no longer my legal name. They will be asking me to have a different name on my certification from the name associated with my private practice, tax documents, and state license. Actually, at the current time, they are asking that I use a name that is not my current legal name. How is this any sort of professional standard? I asked the staff member to whom I spoke if she could at least update their directory to include both of my last names, in the same way that one is free to choose whether to have a middle name or initial listed. She stated that this was also not possible without "a legal document." (Which, remember, doesn't include Social Security cards or tax documents, according to CBMT).
I should also mention that, for many therapists, the MT-BC credential is not "needed." The CBMT is not a gatekeeper for all therapists. With my master's in expressive therapies and license in mental health counseling, I am qualified to practice as an expressive therapist and to use music (and other artistic modalities) in my work to the extent to which I have appropriate training. I choose to maintain the MT-BC credential mainly because I value the field of music therapy and wish to do my duty to further it, but I'm starting to reconsider this.
Since this is a public entry and could be potentially read by clients and others, I will say here that I absolutely do not intend to discontinue practicing, and that this post is not intended to pass judgments on the field of music therapy overall. My intention is quite the opposite actually; I want to point out that if the CBMT is going to hold standards that are ridiculousarbitrary considerably higher than those held by state boards -- particularly in areas totally unrelated to professional practice, such as which proofs of name they'll accept -- they're going to lose good people. No one who is assessing the validity of the field is going to call the board and ask what methods they use for documenting name changes. They're going to look at standards of credentialing and standards of practice. While I continue to uphold professional standards as is my obligation, I will say that I have spent a lot of time over the past week on the phone with the CBMT and various state bureaus instead of putting extra energy into the treatment plans I'm updating.
This doesn't do the field any good.
UPDATE: They did finally change my name after having a meeting with their lawyers. Yes, a meeting with their lawyers. This is how the CBMT spends their money, apparently.
To: Just about every media source I've looked at in the last few hours From: eeka Subj: WTF people
1) "Partial-birth abortion" is not a medical term and is not recognized in the field of medicine, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among others. You know, those people who a thinking person might have thought to check with before writing a story about women's health. When you use this term, you need to qualify it.
2) None of your articles mention that the ban does not provide any exception for circumstances in which a woman's health is endangered and could be saved through a dilatation and evacuation procedure. Since the general public isn't informed about very much and doesn't do a lot of thinking, you might want to point out how the ban is completely ridiculous, because it essentially asks that physicians let women lie there and die, rather than rendering a life-saving procedure.
3) Your articles also don't mention that the ban still permits abortions to be performed during any point in pregnancy using other procedures, such as induction or abdominal surgery, which carry significantly greater risks to the woman's health, and are completely contraindicated in some situations (see "let women lie there and die", op cit.). The ban doesn't actually grant any additional fetus rights, or whatever it is these people are looking for; it just prevents doctors from using the safest procedure and requires them to choose others.
In the person's comment, they attempt to make a case for removing public records from the internet by stating that people who are at risk for violence or stalking often do not have the connections or financial resources to handle financial and civic transactions through a third party (as celebrities often do). This is of course true. But it pointed out a couple of misconceptions the poster has, which led me to feel obligated to provide a little public service announcement correcting these misconceptions.
First of all, removing information from the internet is not going to protect anyone from a stalker or offender. It could potentially stop a lot of people who want to find and harass someone in the heat of the moment, or people who are looking to make prank calls or otherwise annoy people. But if someone is really looking to find someone, they aren't going to give up when they find that the information is unavailable on the internet. Anyone can walk into a city or town hall and anonymously look through voter records, tax records, or census information. They can also look through deed information, court records, vital statistics information, and any number of other things. The information on the internet is drawn from these sources, but taking it down from the internet doesn't cause the original sources to stop being a matter of public record.
Pretty much the only way to avoid being part of public records is to have your home, car and utilities in someone else's name, as celebrities do. Oh, and you also need to have a legitimate means of using a second address as your legal residence so as to keep your true residence from showing up in documents if you marry, divorce, give birth, adopt, or become involved with the courts. This is pretty much only accomplished by owning a second home that pretty much stays empty and having a power of attorney.
This brings me to my second point that, yes, it's pretty much impossible for a person of normal means to avoid being a matter of public record (regardless of whether this information is on the internet), but there is a free and relatively simple means of obtaining a substitute address if "disclosure of his or her address threatens the safety of the applicant or the applicant's children." This is done by applying to the Address Confidentiality Program. The new address shows up on the individual's identification and legal documents and becomes the individual's new legal residential address. The program staff retrieve mail from the substitute address and forward it. Since, as I explained above, it's almost impossible not to be listed in public records, I recommend that anyone who is at risk for stalking or violence check out this program.
I was quite pleased to see that MGH has a new policy of asking patients to provide race and ethnicity data. I've always thought that the census categories for race were stupid and arbitrary, and never saw what purpose they served in patient care.
In order to be sensitive to someone's cultural ties, we need to know a lot more than which census color is closest to who they are. It also doesn't make sense in terms of compiling stats or being aware of hereditary medical conditions; I once told a medical records person, when asked for my race (with only the census options to choose from), that I declined to answer. She told me it was required, because many diseases run in certain racial groups and not in others. I told her that, yes, I realize this, and I belong to a couple ethnic/racial groups with characteristic diseases, but that the option of "white" wasn't really going to serve this purpose. She didn't get it.
So, I thought MGH's practice was a great idea, until I saw that their "ethnicity" field in the computer wasn't anywhere near comprehensive. It had maybe 30 options (hopefully someone who works at MGH can correct this), and it seemed to focus on mostly Asian and Caribbean ethnicities, with a few others. It didn't seem to be based on anything logical, like ethnic groups that are well-represented in Boston, ethnic groups for whom there are notable hereditary diseases, or ethnic groups for whom sensitivity to traditional medicine practices is particularly important. It didn't list any Jewish groups, and I don't believe there were any European ethnicities other than "European" listed.
It's great that they're wanting to know these things about patients, but why not just have a blank field instead of limiting the choices of valid ethnicities?