resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
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.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
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.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
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.
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.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
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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