resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05
Debunking Insurance Myths
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB
As the debate surrounding third-party (insurance) payment for massage heats up, there are some myths that need debunking. The first is that if massage is accepted by insurance companies, the credibility of the profession will be enhanced.The parallel myth to this is that individual therapists will somehow be accepted as more professional and more creditable, because they will have the "stamp of approval" of some insurance provider(s). Those who think this way are looking backward. Before insurance will accept massage as a service worth paying for, credibility must already be established. The fact that millions of people are seeking massage therapy proves the credibility of our profession. The fact that the vast majority of these people are willing to pay for massage out of their own pockets shows not only the credibility of the profession and the practitioners, but also the effectiveness of the techniques. People will do about anything if someone else will pay for it, whether it works or not. However, they will not pay for it themselves unless they receive a noticeable benefit. Credibility and professionalism have already been established. Insurance will not enhance either of the two. If insurance does to massage what it has done to other professions, it will decrease massage's credibility and professionalism, and lead to the billing schemes other professions have been forced to develop to survive.
No organization or institution outside of our profession can give us credibility or professionalism. Both must be earned. If the goal is to foster these traits, we must look within and increase the quality our education and our entry-level standards. This will improve the level of service being provided, which will in turn raise demand even further.
Another myth is that we must knuckle under to insurance companies and reduce our rates; that we must give them discounts off our regular fees. This is complete foolishness. Again, insurance companies are not coming to us because they believe in what we do or because they want to be "hip." They are coming to us because their policyholders are demanding it. We control a seller's market. Yes, they dictate terms to all other providers. That is because all other providers have sold out to them and have become dependent on insurance money. The insurance company can do anything to these providers. That is why insurance payments to chiropractors are constantly being reduced. Insurance companies know that there is a 74% demand for alternative care by the public. They need us. We do not need them. To reduce our rates is admitting that we are currently overcharging and that our services are not actually worth our posted fees. One therapist, who is physically limited to about 4 1/2 hours of massage per day, figured that by reducing her rates as demanded by a provider network, her income would drop to the point that she could no longer sustain herself as a therapist.
Why can't the membership and certification organizations of our profession realize that we hold all the cards? They should be protecting their members from the predatory practices of insurance companies by defending our fees. They should be demanding that insurance companies accept us on our terms, without allopathic gatekeepers. Instead, they seem to be bowing down to insurance companies, begging them to take advantage of and enslave our members. Are the associations getting kickbacks from the insurance companies to sell their members down the river? Every wellness-based form of health care has been sold out from the inside by misleadership. Will we be the next victims?
It should be the choice of the individual therapist whether or not to work with insurance companies. There should be nothing preventing therapists from running their business the way they want. However, there should be nothing that requires a therapist to accept insurance and be controlled by the insurance company the way other health professions are. The problem is, there may be enough therapists desperate enough to get insurance dollars that the rest of the us will have to submit to being ruled by allopathic insurance mandates. This is not a scare tactic or false speculation. It is the truth. Want proof? Look at chiropractors: They were originally outside the system - all their patients paid for services. Now, allopathic gatekeeper physicians control what DCs can see and do, and for how long they can do it. DCs are relatively helpless now, as it has become difficult to have a successful practice without accepting insurance. We are at the beginning of this cycle. Will we learn from the past, or will shortsightedness and greed enslave us as it has all other providers?
It is not hard to find a massage therapist anymore. However, it is difficult to find a really good massage therapist. Most of the good ones are really busy, and few are interested in adding another layer of hassle and paperwork to their practice. Therefore, few of them accept insurance assignment. They might give the patient a form and let the patient file (the best procedure if you want to get paid for your services while you can still remember providing them), but few do the filing and receive payment directly from the insurance company. The lesson here, for those of you hoping that insurance will increase your income or your patient load, is to study, train, practice and do what it takes to become really good. Become the best that you can be. Do not settle for mediocrity or for the bare minimum. Become a wellness-oriented holistic health provider and work for your patients, not for insurance companies. Provide wellness care, not sickness care. Practice what you preach: be an example to your patients, a resource for them. Then you will join those who do not need (and seldom want) to deal with insurance.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.
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