resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
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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