resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
June, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 06
We Get Letters & E-Mail
By Editorial Staff
Editor's note: The first two letters reference "When Massage Meets Managed Care," from the February 2001 issue of MT. The article can also be viewed on line at http://www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/02/04.html).
"I don't agree with pushing these managed care plans"
I really enjoyed your article in the February issue of Massage Today regarding massage therapy and insurance/managed care.I am a licensed massage therapist and have been practicing for 10 years. I have always been in a clinical environment, and I think it is a huge mistake for massage therapists to join these insurance plans.
Insurance is very destructive in a lot of cases. The insurance companies control the provider and the insured. They dictate the type of care people can receive and also dictate how much the provider receives for providing these services.
I think managed care will devalue the massage profession. If people truly understand the benefits of massage therapy, they will pay for it. Those who will only come if their insurance will pay are usually not interested in getting better or overcoming any type of problem, and they will drain you in numerous ways.
Why are we pushing this so strongly? I truly do not understand the mentality of the therapist who would want to join managed care. I have a very strong practice - completely booked with standing appointments (seeing 30 people per week); a waiting list; and all cash-paying clients.
I know there may be differences in the type of practice and type of clients other massage therapists have, but I still think we shouldn't be pushing these managed care plans. We should be able to have thriving practices simply by educating people and putting the appropriate value on the work we provide.
Lisa E. Kirk, LMT
"It's the game we should be preparing to play"
I received your February issue, and I have to say that your article on health insurance plans is right on track. What you have failed to mention is how the insurance game is typically played today by those already accepted into the "system." Inflated prices are commonplace in medicine, directly because of (in my opinion) these "modest discounts." And at one point I'm sure that they were just that: modest discounts. Doctors charged a fair price for their services, and people paid the doctor directly. Then came the third-party payor system and the progression of policy to what we see today. According to their tables (which are based on inflated prices), a 25% discount is modest. It is their world with their own benchmarks and standards. Doctors are forced to increase their rates disproportionately to get the insurance company to eventually pay a little more. We can see the evidence of this in the inflation rate of health care costs which are growing at 200% that of inflation (according to my memory from past news spots). It is commonplace for doctors to bill $300 and get paid $50 by insurance, while those paying cash get stuck with the whole bill.
It is clear that medical costs in general have become grossly distorted. However, we as massage therapists have not yet played the game of insurance long enough to become equally inflated. However, we have played the game of what the competitive market will bear, in which there is no room for grossly inflated prices. In order to survive financially and play their game, we too will have to become inflated in price to absorb the cost of discounting services. If we do play, we will become dependent upon the system, because no one outside of our contracts with the insurance company will be able to afford us. Moreover, the discretion of the therapist to appropriately treat the client will automatically be limited to what the prescribing physician orders and the insurance approves. For example, a physician writes a script for "massage" therapy for a patient's low back pain, and insurance approves the treatment for x # of sessions. Those who know little or nothing about holistic therapies will limit your ability to treat beyond the region specified (L1-L5). If you do treat beyond what was prescribed, your services will not be reimbursable if they "catch you committing fraud," and you will also have to contend with the potential legal consequences. It's precisely the same string that doctors complain of regarding HMO's -- the practitioner with the knowledge and skill isn't allowed to decide what is best for the patient.
There is another option, one that is becoming a major trend among many physicians: cash-based practices. Medical practices are firing billing departments, (on average it takes two full-time staff to handle insurance billing for every physician) cutting prices to fair/competitive levels, and going to cash payment for services rendered. In turn, the doctor provides patients (now customers) with a form detailing their diagnosis code, treatment codes, necessary physician information, and the amount paid by the patient. If patients desire to be reimbursed by insurance, they submit their claims to their insurance carrier and the carrier reimburses them directly. This is the type of game we can play where everyone wins, and it's the game we should be preparing to play as an industry.
Peter C. Kassner, ND, LMT
"I don't ever want to take insurance payments..."
I am a certified massage therapist in Virginia and just read the second issue of Massage Today. I agree with your article about "Massage and Medicine." (See the front page of the February issue, or access the article on line at http://www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/02/06.html.) I had the option to participate in the networking program (access) and decided not to participate.
I am having trouble understanding why any massage therapist would participate. The only benefit a massage therapist gets is "possible" referrals. I am a business owner and started my business 1 1/2 years ago. The business has grown and continues to grow. I advertise some, but most of my new clients come from referrals, from other clients (word-of-mouth). With some hard work and patience, the referrals come and I don't have to take a cut in pay.
As a business owner, I can decide at any time who to give a discount or coupon to, for whatever reason. I would never agree to giving too many discounts, because I have monthly business expenses (office rent, phone, laundry, supplies, self employment taxes, etc.). I also earn my living solely on the profit of the business, so I cannot afford to give to many discounts. I opened my own business because I wanted to be the decision maker and not dictated to about policy and procedure.
I am also worried about HMO payments with the set price of $45 per hour (because that's the set price that all participating MTs have agreed to). Massage therapists participating in this sort of arrangement will never be able to get raises as they desire.
I only charged $45 per hour during my first year, but have since raised the price to $50 per hour. I will always try to keep my prices affordable for my clients. I pay out-of-pocket for my chiropractic care and at times, massages. I think enough about my health that I don't mind paying out of pocket for alternative health services. I don't expect any more from my clients than I expect from myself.
I don't ever want to take insurance payments because that will come with all kinds of problems (treatment dictation, three-month wait for reimbursement, etc.). I work extremely hard at my business. It's more than just doing massages. It's cleaning the office; washing the sheets; client chart paperwork; self-employment and tax paperwork; designing and printing my own brochures; newsletters; advertising; mailing birthday cards and newsletters to clients; etc.
I realize that $50 per massage sounds like a lot of money, but after my expenses and the time that I actually invest, I'm lucky if I'm making $12 per hour. I work too hard to make any less.
So honestly, what is the reason that MTs would participate in the networking program? Why not go out and get your own referrals, and charge what you think is fair to your clients?
Susan Cumpian, CMT
Reward Wellness, Not Sickness
I read your article in Massage Today concerning "Massage and Medicine. I was very taken with the article. As a massage therapist, I have many clients ask me if I take insurance. My reply is always, "No!" for the simple fact that I do not want to be dictated to. I work for myself on purpose. This way I have control over my business in its entirety. I know that Blue Cross and Blue Shield are involved in the alternatives now. Many organizations have approached me about belonging to their group. The reason I say "No" is because they want to tell me how to run my business concerning their clients, as you so aptly stated in your article.
I am 52 years old and have been practicing for 5 1/2 years. My practice is doing very well and I am grateful to all of my clients. If they choose to submit their time with me to their insurance carrier, I will give them a receipt for that purpose. This is as far as I am willing to go. People need to be responsible for their own health. Insurance carriers should be reimbursing clients for their wellness, not the other way around. It is just a matter of time before insurance companies reward people for maintaining wellness instead of rewarding them for sickness.
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