resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
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.
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.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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.
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?
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
April, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 04
A Word About Insurance Reimbursement
By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT
I hope you don't mind, but I need a moment to get up on my soapbox. First, however, allow me to take you down my memory lane. I was born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York.I lived with my mom, dad, two brothers and two sisters in a three-room tarpaper shack on 40 acres of enchanting woods; it was a two-mile walk to our one-room schoolhouse. Eventually, my family "graduated" to what I call a converted chicken coop, but at least the boys and girls had their own rooms, and we had pull-chain electric lights and an indoor flushable toilet! My dad obtained a three-line telephone and an old "snowy" screen TV. I even learned what a nickel was; up until then, I'd only seen pennies.
When our school closed, we were transferred to a school with 30 students per classroom. The experience was so frightening, I never did adjust and with less than a year to graduation, I quit. I was naive and afraid of people. I took a job working at a summer resort and, through the years, had many other jobs: waitress, telephone operator, salesperson, church librarian, Montessori school bus driver, and real estate agent. In the late 70s, I was in an auto accident that left me in constant pain. I located an effective chiropractor that, interestingly, understood the insurance system. When my benefits were exhausted, he continued my treatments while employing me as his chiropractic assistant where I did everything: laundry, X-ray developing, phlebotomy, patient therapies, selling vitamins, appointment-setting, mopping, and errands - for $4 an hour. I did this while trying to raise my three little daughters.
The point of all this is: These experiences taught me to appreciate everything. I learned that time changes things, though not overnight. I learned that if you are diplomatic, kind, and wait your turn, you could get anything you want. I learned to stand up for and fight for my rights; I learned what is right, and that being honest and desiring to give rather than take brings about the best rewards in life.
That said, the insurance issues I want to write about are these: I see advertising on insurance seminars, manuals, and other things that I know contain false and/or misleading statements. I hear from therapists daily who feel they have been "scammed"; other therapists tell me they have been taught to bill up to $200 per session because they live in Denver, San Francisco, or other big cities. Folks, ask for credentials and proof of what is being taught at these seminars before you jump in. I, and others, have worked long and hard to protect this profession; unfortunately, if this fraudulent behavior continues, I see massage therapy going straight down the tubes when it comes to insurance reimbursement.
We didn't get to this point of insurance company reimbursement by taking advantage of patients or insurance companies. We got into the system through the back door, by giving good service at fees more reasonable than others who use the same codes or provide the same services. Insurance companies are not looking for ways they can pay us; they are looking to cut costs. Why do you think they try to get massage therapists or alternative health care providers to discount their fees for subscribers? They're looking for ways to give policyholders benefits at no cost to them - instead, it comes out of your pockets!
Do you think that we - who came on board last - will come out on top, if massage advertisements or statements threaten to sue insurance companies? We need to use some common sense. This is a helping profession. Although we deserve to be decently compensated for our work, insurance reimbursement is not a "get rich" scheme. Taking advantage will surely leave us out of the system.
Until recently, insurance companies never cut our rates. Other health care providers are fighting uphill battles and having their rates rationed by some insurance companies in some states and in parts of Canada. We have a long way to go, and are presently sitting on the edge; it could go either way. It is up to you and me. Are you in it for the long haul or for the dollars you can get today? This can be our beginning or our end - again, the difference is up to us. Insurance companies can write anything they want into or out of a policy. When insurance companies decide to write massage therapy out of their policies, we are up a creek without a paddle - it's as simple as that.
I try to be careful when it comes to these issues because I do not want it to sound like "sour grapes." But I do it because I love this profession, I love you, and I want our reimbursement by insurance companies to last a long, long time. I want for insurers to search us out for the quality service we provide: the best for less - not for peanuts - just for less. Yes, we can say we are worth so much because we work hard, put in a lot of hours, and have a great deal of training, but what will all of this mean when you cannot make money in the massage business?
There are many dedicated therapists and massage therapy associations working to get us "in the system" the right way. The old saying, "One bad apple can spoil the entire basket," still holds true today. Let's work together to get insurance companies to see the benefits of massage therapy, provided by trained massage professionals, for patients, employers that cover insured people, and the insurance industry, as a whole. Well, it's time to get down off this box!!
Click here for more information about Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.
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