resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05
Debunking Insurance Myths
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
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, NCTMB.
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