resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
September, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 09
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
As readers of this column are aware, I am not a big fan of health insurance. I prefer to work for the patient, not an insurance company. I place a high value on the confidentiality of the patient-therapist relationship.I also place a high value on my privacy; therefore, I am very sensitive to the privacy of patients and their records.
Relatively new federal regulations regarding privacy of medical records became effective in April of this year. These regulations are artifacts of the socialized health care system proposed by the Clinton administration early in its first term. Fortunately, their original proposal failed; had it passed, massage therapists would have been restricted to purely relaxation massage, or would have had to work for a physician or hospital - unless they wanted to become felons. It would have been bye-bye to private practice and first-door provider status.
Several concepts of this proposal reemerged as the Kennedy-Kasselbaum Bill, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. This 1,500-page bill was signed by Bill Clinton and implemented by George W. Bush. It is a bipartisan effort to set the stage for socialized medicine and to give the government complete access to all patient records for virtually any reason. This will, if allowed to evolve, give the government control over every aspect of our medical care. Remember, the government that controls the health of its people controls its people.
Its very name is deceiving; the terms "portability" and "accountability" might lead the typical person to assume this bill is to protect their medical privacy and allow them to change jobs and keep insurance coverage. That is a faulty assumption; rather, HIPAA is designed to protect the government's right to privacy as they collect and use your medical records however they see fit. The days of "government for the people, by the people" have become the times of "government for the government, by the government."
HIPAA is now in its data collection phase. All providers that file electronically must comply, according to published schedules. Electronic filing is much more efficient than paper filing, often allowing for higher reimbursement rates and faster claims payments. For these advantages, most providers file electronically, therefore they must comply. So, if you must comply, that compliance means turning over your patients' records - all of them, everything you know about them - to the government's new database.
Interestingly, filing manually or "paper-filing" compliance is not required - yet; therefore, you can legally avoid turning over your patients' privacy to the government for a while by filing manually. Unless you support more government control of your life, you might want to encourage your physicians, providers and colleagues to "paper file." Full enforcement is not scheduled to begin until 2005. There is still time to get this changed!
If you must comply, it is your duty to explain the outrageous intrusion this requirement is on your patients. Inform your patients ("clients," whatever you call them) that you will have no choice but to release their records to government agencies; insurance companies; direct mail marketers; law enforcement agencies; researchers; and other parties. If you don't, the database will. The HIPAA consent form I have seen is nothing more than a "Miranda warning," advising patients that anything they say or put on their forms may be used against them. I am being brief and superficial, but the more you know about HIPAA, the worse it becomes. Isn't this creating a great environment in which to practice health and wellness care?
It gets worse. In the name of patient privacy, offices and clinics are supposed to have separate entrances and exits, so patients don't see each other as they enter and leave. Does your waiting room have separate, private cubicles for each patient so they cannot see each other? Do you call your patients by name? If so, you are "invading their privacy" if anyone else is within hearing distance. You should call your patients by a number or code. How healing.
Isn't it interesting that after all this hype about protecting patients' privacy, the information you submit as part of their insurance claims is made available to anyone who can get into the database to be used against both patients and providers? This is the "double-speak" of today's regulatory environment. If you like this, if you believe in this, then you'll love what's to come. If you don't, you'd better start fighting with both hands to defend your rights and your patients' rights. Educate your patients and get them involved. Once rights are taken, they will not be easily returned.
There is potential help: The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is fighting HIPAA. They have forms that help providers legally avoid HIPAA and explain it to patients. They are also working to repeal HIPAA with a bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. If you care about this, you should help support these efforts. Visit the AAPS Web site at www.aapsonline.org.
Of course, if you are a fan of socialized medicine and believe the government is going to better the lives of alternative providers (like massage therapists) when, in reality, they completely control us, good luck in your compliance efforts. I hope your office remodeling is enjoyable and the payback on your investment is prompt.
Be sure you are also providing the government with a huge amount of information about yourself and your practice by filing your patients' records with the insurance/government database. The information can be used against you, too!
If you do not want to be a government spy by collecting and providing the most private, personal information on your patients to the government (for who knows what purposes), you must join the fight for freedom of choice and privacy in health care, now!
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.