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Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint: headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
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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