resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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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