resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
April, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 04
CPT Codes: To Use, or Not to Use?
By Ed Denning, MEd, LMT
CPT Codes 97001 and 97002
97001: Physical therapy evaluation
97002: Physical therapy re-evaluation
I wrote to the American Medical Association (AMA) Information Services Committee in 1998 regarding the use of 97001 and 97002 by massage therapists.The committee's first response left room for wide interpretation. In April 2002, I wrote a follow-up letter that resulted in the following response:
This response states clearly that only physical therapists are qualified to use these two codes. Massage therapists should not use these codes unless they are physical therapists by licensure; even then, such use would be under the restrictions of the physical therapy licensure of the state in which they practice.
The AMA writes and produces the only CPT manual used in the U.S., and are the final arbiters of a given code's meaning. In this case, its initial explanation was later corrected/modified, resulting in a recommendation against use by massage therapists. This is why your coding information needs to be updated annually. Codes can and do change in meaning and interpretation; new codes are added, and old codes are deleted.
CPT Code 97112
Therapeutic procedure, one or more areas, each 15 minutes; neuromuscular re-education of movement; balance; coordination; kinesthetic sense; posture; and proprioception.
In March 2001, I wrote another letter to the AMA Information Services Committee regarding CPT code 97112, requesting the following information:
The AMA response included the following:
Massage therapists certified in PNF stretching can use this code to report that service; certified Hellerwork practitioners also can use this code to report their work. Massage therapists might interpret their ability to desensitize as fulfilling another aspect of this code. Such an interpretation may or may not result in payment and would be stretching the intention of the code. This code is definitely not referring to neuromuscular therapy in any way. The majority of massage therapists should not use this code.
CPT Codes 97124 and 97140
97124: Therapeutic procedure, one or more areas, each 15 minutes; massage, including effleurage, petrissage and/or tapotement (stroking, compression, percussion).
97140: Manual therapy techniques (e.g., mobilization/manipulation, manual lymphatic drainage, manual traction), one or more regions, each 15 minutes.
In March 2002, I wrote a letter to the AMA Information Services Committee seeking the following information:
The AMA response follows:
My Interpretation of Codes 97124 and 97140
97124 is for increasing circulation and to promote tissue relaxation to the muscles. The specific techniques involved would be effleurage, petrissage and/or tapotement. This code is reported in units of 15 minutes. If your treatment is based on or consists of a basic relaxation massage (Swedish massage), this is the code to use.
97140 is used to describe therapy which increases active pain-free range of motion, increased extensibility of myofascial tissue and facilitates return to functional activities. This code is reported in units of 15 minutes. This code would be used for the techniques stated. It would include neuromuscular therapy, positional release, stretching and nearly any therapeutic technique performed manually for the purposes mentioned in the first sentence.
Caution: There are coding strategies going around which have the apparent purpose of billing for higher amounts of money by using multiple codes to describe the therapy session. Such coding decisions are not that difficult to make. What did you actually do in the session? How many units of time did you spend doing 97124? How many units of time did you actually spend doing 97140? Could a client tell when you had transitioned from one treatment code to another?
Do your clinical notes reflect the techniques for which you are coding? Can you justify your billing by clear delineations within your clinical notes? What was actually performed within the session determines the billing that takes place.
I believe that the vast majority of massage therapists cannot justify the use of 97124 and 97140 within a single treatment session, based on their clinical notes. If you choose to bill using multiple codes, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time writing clinical notes to support your billing practices.
CPT Code 97530
Therapeutic Activities, direct (one-on-one) patient contact by the provider (use of dynamic activities to improve functional performance), each 15 minutes. I wrote yet another letter to the AMA requesting the following information:
The AMA response included the following paragraph:
This code is not recommended for use by massage therapists. Dynamic activities to improve functional performance refers to a series of movements to perform specific functions. The series of movements is therapeutic in nature; it is planned and specific.
An example would be a series of movements designed to gradually increase flexibility, strength and coordination through the use of graduated weights. The action is designed to simulate related activities such as picking up a plate and lifting it up into a cupboard, picking up a hammer and placing it in another location, etc.
97530 is a code used to report a series of movements involving flexibility, strength and coordination specifically designed for recovery of everyday functionality. This code is intended for use by occupational therapists who receive the specific training needed to design therapeutic activities. If you have not received that specific training, you should not use this code. (A weekend seminar is insufficient.)
Editor's note: Mr. Denning notes in his article that billing codes are subject to annual change, and as Massage Today reported recently, new codes specific to alternative therapies are in the works. If you are currently or plan on using codes to bill for services, do your homework!
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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