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Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
October, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 10
About Coding for Insurance Billing
By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT
According to the number of phone calls and e-mails I have received from massage professionals across the nation, as well as a recent survey by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), there are a variety of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes used by massage therapists for billing insurance.Many of those codes used are deleted codes, codes not in our scope of practice, codes that raise red flags with insurers, and codes used in conjunction with correct codes.
When I began billing insurance in 1984-85, I billed using code 97139 (an unspecified procedure code). I used the term "soft tissue manipulation," eliminating the words "massage or massage therapy." This worked fine for several years, until Blue Cross came upon the scene and only reimbursed $12 for an hour-long session.
As always, I tried to find ways to get into the system. I searched for ways to increase income from those whose reimbursement was extremely low and find exposure for massage therapists in general. I began to practice with other codes. Workers' compensation in Florida -- as with most states -- was way behind the times when it came to coding, so I had to bill differently with them. Over the years, we expanded the codes we used and were reimbursed for.
I had always thought that we massage therapists would be content if we were allowed to use just a few codes and were decently paid. As time went on and reimbursement began to increase, we began to reduce the number of codes we experimented with to simplify things. Because I am a CEU provider for insurance billing seminars and home-study courses, I became a lot more conservative in order to protect you, who now bill insurance companies.
Now it is to the point where the procedure codes 97124 (massage) and 97140 (manual therapy techniques) are the only ones necessary for basic Swedish massage, myofascial release and manual traction. Because reimbursement is now at a fair rate, many "techniques" are aspects of massage or myofascial release. Of course, there are always those codes for other modalities, which may be used if within a therapist's scope of practice, such as whirlpool, infrared, contrast baths, electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, paraffin baths, etc. Be sure you know the scope of practice for the state you live in.
Insurers often want to only reimburse for a 15-minute segment of time, even though American Medical Association CPT coding descriptions indicate the codes are for each 15 minutes. Usually, four 15-minute segments of time are the maximum allowed for hands-on procedures. Documentation is the key to getting paid for time and codes used, along with following the prescriptions written by treating or authorized physicians.
As time goes on, I am sure coding changes or definitions will work more in our favor, but until then, let's use common sense. Do not go overboard; it only raises red flags with insurance companies, and can set us back many years. Stay strictly within your scope of practice and to what the physician writes on the prescription. Make sure your notes reflect what the prescription calls for and that your bills reflect both the prescription orders and your documentation.
Click here for more information about Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.
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