resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
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.
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.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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?
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
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.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
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.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11
The Real Purpose of Insurance
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Many things are not as they appear. To many, health insurance appears to be a great opportunity for massage therapists. It appears to be an opportunity to make more money and to reach more people with our services.The collective ego of our profession has been inflated lately because insurance networks and insurance companies have suddenly taken an interest in us. It appears that this is because patients are demanding it. I dispute that this is the reason for the sudden interest in alternative providers by the traditional medical profession and its banker, the insurance industry. Many things are not as they appear.
During the last 20 years, there has been an ever-growing movement by the public away from allopathic care. Allopathic care is the "traditional medicine" practiced by MDs, most DOs and PTs, etc. Allopathic care is based on the suppression of symptoms and on heroic intervention. It is a sickness-based, crisis-management-oriented system. Thank God for it if you are ever sick or injured. We have the best such system in the world. Hopefully, we can keep it, but in its place. However, it makes no significant money from healthy people, or from keeping people healthy. It only makes significant money from sick people. Have you ever gone to a hospital when you were feeling great and checked in for a few days of rest and great food? Of course not! Hospitals have nothing to do with wellness and health; they have to do with sickness and trauma. If everyone was well and injury free, hospitals would go out of business. They have no reason to promote health, so they don't. They require a constant flow of sick people. Therefore, they manage crises, send the people home, and wait for their return with a relapse or a different crisis. Patients get better. Patients get back to work. Patients seldom get healthy. This system is documented as the third-leading cause of death in this country.
The public is running away from it as fast as they can, looking for an alternative. The public found this alternative in massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, homeopaths and other practitioners the allopathic system publicly denounces as "quacks." Much to the horror of the allopathic cartel, the Eisenburg studies documented that millions of people were stepping out of the allopathic system for all or part of their health care needs. Billions of dollars were being lost to alternative practitioners; worse, many people going to them were achieving levels of wellness impossible with allopathic treatment. The loss of money is bad enough for the allopathic industry, but the loss of control is totally unacceptable.
Shortly after the second Eisenburg study, funded in part by our own associations, the allopaths suddenly developed an interest in wellness. Hospitals are opening up "wellness centers" as fast as they can. Insurance companies suddenly are interested in accepting alternative providers. Wow, isn't this great? They have finally seen the light. The tide has turned. They are accepting us. Sickness care is becoming health care. They love us now. All we have to do is lower our rates and fill in a bunch of forms, and they will promote us in their networks. Yes! Free advertising, we're legitimate, this is so cool.
Hey, it gets better. If we work by prescription from physicians, we can get third-party reimbursement. We have to lower our rates, fill in more forms, wait awhile to get paid, and we can only do what the physician allows, but it's worth it. We're part of the system. They finally respect us. We feel so good.
The only reason all this is happening is to regain control. Insurance is the bait. Once we are firmly ensnared in the insurance system, we will find ourselves in the same position as the DCs. Our rates will continually be reduced, and the freedom we have to provide a full range of wellness services will be curtailed. We will work by prescription only. The allopathic community knows it cannot eliminate us. It must control us. Sadly, it probably will. Our leadership will pave the way and our colleagues will most likely march like lemmings to sign up. Yes, it will most likely happen. History tends to repeat itself. Yes, this has happened before. Many of that group are now struggling to get out of the very situation so many of our colleagues are trying to get into. The group that went before us are now known as PTs.
Insurance, especially as it relates to massage, is about control. Insurance controls the money flow in the sickness industry, It guarantees a steady flow into the allopathic cartel, as it was created to do. It even controls the allopathic cartel. It only pays so much. It only pays for certain things. When the system becomes too demanding, it reduces what it will pay. Now add the government insurance system (Medicare and Medicaid) on top of it, which also act as controls as to what can and cannot be done. The government that controls the health care of its citizens controls its citizens. Watch out when politicians start talking about nationalizing health care. It's never about health, it's only about control -- of you.
Some will be willing to give up control of their practices and go to work for the insurance industry. Some people will give up a lot of their freedom and potential for a small amount of security or prestige. If enough do, alternative health care providers will be successfully brought under control of the sickness industry. The independents will be weeded out through prosecution by the medical boards and persecution by the media.
Want to work for insurance companies and/or the government? You work for whomever pays you. Or do you prefer to work for your patients? The fate of our profession rests on the choice of the majority of our colleagues. More importantly, the fate of true health care and the wellness of our fellow human beings hang in the balance.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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