resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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