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Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
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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