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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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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