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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
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.
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