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Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
August, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 08
Money and Ethics
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
As the insurance debate heats up, emotions are kindled. As emotions become involved, logical thought goes out the window. Please try to put your emotions aside as you read the following five points regarding financial and ethical considerations in being an insurance provider.Ponder them carefully, and use them to help form your opinions, rather of rallying to the call of your emotions.
"We could help more people if we could get insurance reimbursement," is the rallying cry to justify monetary cravings. If helping more people is indeed the true desire, offer your services on a donation basis. Then everyone can afford you. You'll have all the people you have the strength to work on. Of course, this is unacceptable to most therapists who seek insurance because, in reality, it is the money they seek. That's fine - there's nothing wrong with getting paid for your services. Massage is a valuable service, and a physically demanding one at that. This limits how many hours a day one can work -- something not understood by insurance companies. You deserve to live a comfortable life. Money is required for that.
Now the question becomes, "Is there more money available to a therapist working for insurance, or working in a cash practice?" Let's do the math on insurance network programs. Let's accept their claim that they will send you 30% more clients if you accept a 25% rate cut, and see what eventually happens.
If you add their 30%, you gain six new clients. If only those new clients are participants with the "Alternative Care" company plan, here's what happens:
However, if your regular, full-paying clients find out about this "deal" and go with the insurance company, what will happen? Let's say 10% of your clients sign up, so now 40% of your clients (10.4, which I'll round off to 10) are now paying $37.50. That's $375 + $800 = $1,175. You should note that you will now be doing six extra massages for $175 total ($29.16/hr., not $37.50/hr.).
As 60% of our clients join the company, our income slowly dissipates as we work more hours.
At 100% of clients belonging to the company, which is not unreasonable considering what PTs and DCs do, and how fast the word spreads: 26 clients @ $37.50/hr = $975/week.
In other words, you make $25.00 less than when you "only" had 20 clients. Do six more massages, make $25 less. Work more for less. That is what insurance plans bring. Note that the insurance networks cap what you can charge. A therapist who now charges $70/hr. will only get $35/hr. tops on some plans -- a 50% deduction from regular fees.
The above example is for an access plan in which you get paid at the time of service by the patient. If you want third-party payment insurance reimbursement, you get to spend the additional time necessary to file and follow-up on all the paperwork or e-filings. More work, for the same or less pay. Gets better all the time, doesn't it? What would possess a logical, thinking mind to do this?
In other professions, providers/therapists have jacked their rates way up so that, after the insurance discount, they still make what they want/need. Responsible clients/patients are punished so severely that they have no choice but to buy insurance. They cannot afford health care because of insurance. This is by careful, premeditated design.
Back to the issue of helping more people. Helping more people now is not possible, because those people have made choices that prevent them from affording our services at the prices we want to charge. Soon we will not be able to help patients because the gatekeeper sends them to a PT or limits the number of appointments they can have. A plan or physician could allow only eight massage therapy visits a year, even for chronic conditions, like fibromyalgia. Worse yet, with insurance driving up prices, few people will be able to afford massage out-of-pocket. This has happened to every other profession, and it will happen eventually with massage.
If you do not have enough patients now, insurance may look like a way to get ahead fast. It may even look like a way to reach new patient populations -- to help those who choose not to afford massage. "80% of something is better than 100% of nothing" makes insurance cases sound tempting initially. The reasons most therapists have low patient loads is they do not have adequate therapeutic, personal and/or promotional skills.
Invest in acquiring better skills, rather than in learning how to play the insurance game. Skilled therapists become very busy no matter where they live. More people in stress and pain are looking for help than we can ever serve. Acquire the skills to help them and you will never need or desire to subject yourself or your patients to the abuses of insurance.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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