New Sexual Misconduct Rules - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Sexual Misconduct Rules

KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health is taking careful steps to prevent new cases of sexual misconduct between health care providers and patients.

The Department of Health has given providers a new set of do's and don'ts. 

Officials hope the new rules will help providers better understand where to draw the line.

The new standard lays out guidelines from - Do not have sexual intercourse, to - Don't ask patients for a date.

The rules now apply to all 27 types of health care providers regulated by the State of Washington, providers like doctors, nurses, and massage therapists.

"Any patient that goes to any health care provider can pretty much know what the limits for behavior are and those providers know what the limits of behavior are too," said Laurie Jinkins, Washington State Department of Health.     

Melanie Carver is a licensed massage therapist at Salon Monroe in Kennewick. She feels the new standard will help the her industry avoid questionable situations, but says her providers shouldn't need the state to spell out what's right and wrong.

"What if this? Is this okay? Is this something that I shouldn't be doing? If you have to question things, then you probably shouldn't be doing them," said Carver. 

Carver said she's never been in an uncomfortable situation at work. One reason is she carefully walks her patients through each part of the procedure.

"You need to make sure you let them know what your doing before you do it and explain why. 'Okay, I'm working this muscle because of this," said Carver.  

For providers not as equally motivated, Health officials said the standards make it easy to interpret sexual misconduct cases.