resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
April, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 04
Medical Codes for 2002
By Ed Denning, MEd, LMT
When I attended massage therapy school, I was provided limited information regarding medical codes, and part of what I did receive was incorrect. That background is what got me interested in reading and writing about medical codes.
If you used medical codes (CPT & ICD) in 2001, then you will use the same codes in 2002.There have been no changes.
Listed below are some of the codes most frequently utilized by massage therapists. The first list comprises codes that are useable by massage therapists; the second list consists of codes that are not recommended, and explains why they are not recommended.
97010 Hot and cold packs 15 minutes Self-explanatory
97124 Massage 15 minutes Lists specific strokes
97039* Unlisted modality 15 minutes Use of tools
* I include this code only because I know in some states, massage therapists may use devices that mimic massage techniques, or perform allowable therapeutic procedures. This requires constant attendance, and may require a written report and statement of justification.
97139 Unlisted Procedure 15 minutes Therapeutic procedures not covered by 97124 or 97140.
As with 97039, this code may require a written report and a statement of justification.
97140 Manual therapy 15 minutes Therapy not covered by 97124
97001 & 97002 For physical therapy only
97112 Not the code for neuromuscular therapy
97530 An occupational therapy code
99201 For physicians only (has a diagnostic component)
All of the abovementioned codes are derived from two manuals: The International Classification of Disease 9th Edition, Clinical Modification Manual (ICD 9 CM) and The Current Procedural Terminology Manual (CPT).
ICD 9 CM
The ICD 9 CM Manual classifies disease around the world. It is used by health care providers in any country involved in recordkeeping of diseases within the country. These classification codes have a history dating back to the early 1700s, when a French physician wanted to see if he could predict the mortality rate in newborn to five-year-old children. He was quite successful.
The manual is in its 9th edition. It has been highly successful at making statistical comparisons and recordkeeping between countries unified under a single system. It is because of the ICD Manual that we know that the particular diet prevalent one country suppresses the development of cancer, and in another country reduces heart conditions, and so on.
The ICD 9 CM Manual is produced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has been working on an ICD 10 CM version, which the U.S. will eventually adopt. Versions of the ICD 10 are already in use in Canada and Australia. When it will be adopted in the U.S. is unknown at this time by this author.
Massage therapists are not qualified to select ICD codes. We are allowed to cite them if we have a qualified source. That's why massage therapists need to have a physician's script before they start therapeutic work. Massage therapists who wish to submit billing for insurance need only call the physician of record and ask for the ICD code used. Since the physician's office has a serious vested interest in correct coding, they will be happy to provide you with the correct code.
The Current Procedural Terminology Manual (CPT) is a manual of procedure codes. It was first released for publication in the mid 1960s. Its goal is to describe every medical "procedure" of any kind using a specific number. The CPT codes are now firmly entrenched in the insurance and medical communities. These industries communicate using the CPT and ICD codes. All serious medical practitioners know the codes for their modality of work.
Massage therapists may select from the CPT Manual any code that describes a "procedure" they utilized. You are responsible for the code you choose (or use). Because of the nature of "procedures," many of the codes are highly specific and can only be used by those with training in narrow specialties. The codes tend to be training-dependent. This isn't explained to novices trying to read the manual.
An example is the meaning of the word "physician." In a general dictionary, the word is defined as "a healer." In the CPT Manual, a medical definition is used: "a graduate of a licensed medical school." This is just one of many ways in which an interpreter of CPT codes can get into trouble. Unless you have experience or training that assists you in identifying the vocabulary with specific medical meaning, what appears to be a common word can have an uncommon meaning.
All of the codes that might be used by a massage therapist are in a three-page section of the CPT Manual entitled " Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation." These codes all begin with the digits 97. Any code that does not begin with 97 requires licensure beyond the training level of a massage therapist. Use of a code not appropriate to the licensure of the therapist is considered to be misrepresentation of licensure. Typically such use is referred to as fraud.
Those who do not want us to do coding like to use the "fraud" word prominently. Do you know of anyone personally who has been accused of fraud? Probably not. Nor is it likely that you could be accused of such behavior. To be fraudulent, one must knowingly misrepresent him/herself. If you make an error, that's not fraud.
Did you know that nearly (if not all) auto insurance companies cover massage therapy? Educate your clients! Learn about codes before you need them. Did you know that codes can change from year to year? New codes are added and old codes are dropped. It is the therapist's responsibility to know about such changes. We all need a reliable coding source to save us the frustration of rejected insurance forms due to a coding change.
Have you heard of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)? The result of federal legislation, HIPAA places a mandate on insurance companies to simplify and expedite insurance submissions. Although no one knows at this time what the repercussions of HIPAA will be for the average billing massage therapist, the law goes into effect by this time next year.
Joining one of the major professional massage organizations means that you are supporting the organizations that protect our future. They represent us in meetings with groups, organizations and at political events. They provide for our safety and protect us from inappropriate legal action. They research and provide services on a national scale. They are a valuable resource for the entire massage community. I encourage you to join at least one.
Ed Denning is a licensed massage therapist in Ohio. He is coordinator of the massage therapy program at Stark State College of Technology, and also serves on the Massage Therapy Advisory Committee of the Ohio State Medical Board.
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