resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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?
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 11
Top 5 Questions Asked of Me Daily
By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT
While some of the following information might seem to be repeated, please know that since the same questions reoccur daily, it's apparent that many still are in need of this information.
Do I really need to be a "Certified Medical Massage Therapist" in order to bill and be reimbursed by Insurance?
The answer is emphatically NO! For the past year or so, you have been seeing lot of propaganda/advertising to this effect and many of us feel it's detrimental to our profession.Your massage magazines make a lot of money on these ads, so it is understandable why they run them, even though it has been brought to their attention from different sources that some of these ads have contained several false and misleading statements.
I will reference Florida here a couple of times due to present laws in effect. However, there also are other states, such as Washington, with laws in effect that pertain to the reimbursement requirements for a massage therapist.
In Florida the law states "IF the policy covers massage, it shall then cover the services of one licensed to perform massage."
It does not say one single thing about having to be "certified" in ANYTHING. Our license and the fact that patients' conditions meet medically necessary requirements, determined by a referring physician's medical diagnosis, is what designates if an insurance company will or will not reimburse for our service. There are, of course, a lot of other things involved that will determine whether or not an insurance company must or will reimburse, but one of them is NOT whether or not you are a "certified medical massage therapist."
I do, however, highly recommend you obtain all of the additional training possible in procedures and techniques that will enhance your skills to benefit the patient. To have the skills and knowledge equals more referrals and more repeat business. It just makes sense that you cannot perform your best if you have not given your best to learning more techniques and procedures that will help to create a more positive functional outcome for patients. That is what insurers look for when they consider further reimbursement. If you or I can't provide it, somebody else will.
Can you provide me with a list of insurance companies that will reimburse a massage therapist?
I'm sorry to say, there is no such thing as a list for this purpose. There are directories available from your state's Insurance Commissioners' offices that list every insurance company and other pertinent information. However, no single insurance company specifically listed will or will not reimburse a massage therapist or any other provider for that matter. Let me explain. If State Farm reimburses for an auto accident case, it does not necessarily mean this same insurer will reimburse for a major medical condition under the same patient's health policy, nor for a workers compensation related injury.
Some insurers only reimburse for workers' compensation cases, while others might cover auto injury cases and yet others might have a multitude of situations they will provide reimbursement for under different conditions. For example: Blue Cross of Florida might cover the services of a massage therapist for a medical referral under a private policy or under a state employee policy or certificate of coverage, and yet not under Medicare Supplemental Plans or even some self-insured employer plans. Blue Cross of Tennessee, and most other states, will not reimburse a massage therapist at all.
Do you think it possibly would benefit those of you in your individual states to seek legislative changes to help you, as has been done in Florida and Washington, rather than let profit seeking individuals set the rules for you in the future?
Do I need a prescription from a physician to be reimbursed from an insurance company?
In my 20 years experience in the insurance related field, I have never seen an incident where it was not necessary. The reason is this: For an insurance company to reimburse someone, the patient's condition must meet the medically necessary requirements. It's not in our scope of practice to diagnose a medical condition. Therefore, only a physician's prescription will provide the medical diagnoses. Also in some states, laws require that the prescription must indicate the frequency, duration, diagnosis and physician's signature.
Why are insurance companies denying one code or the other when I use 97124 and 97140 together?
Because they feel the two codes, myofascial release 97140 and massage 97124 provide the same service. If this were indeed true, the AMA CPT Code book would not need to have a separate definition for each code, nor would insurers reimburse differently for each code. However, it's sometimes easier to do what they want and be able to put the money in the bank. It's not always worth fighting city hall, although that is exactly what I was willing to do when I had my practice for nearly 16 years, in order to continue to make inroads for all of us.
I am constantly being turned down for payment for one reason or another. Can you tell me why?
When working with insurance companies, the insurer requires that all your "i's" be dotted and your "t's" be crossed. Without specific situations, I only can say the following:
Too many therapists are obtaining a CODE or a FORM from somewhere then try to piecemeal it all together and then expect to be reimbursed.
A few of us pretty much invented that wheel in the first place and crossed those bridges one step at a time. That is why I am here trying to help you to avoid those pitfalls.
Many therapists who wish to begin working with medical referrals and insurance cases are not aware that to do so has legal ramifications and requirements. They need to be informed of laws, rules, guidelines, warnings and other specific situations, especially those where insurers are not required to or are not going to provide reimbursement.
Many therapists will bill for types of cases they cannot or will not be reimbursed for under any set of circumstances. They need to know that working in the insurance industry and with medical referrals requires specific training in and of itself, and should be willing to make an additional investment in training, just as they did to become a massage therapist or bodyworker in the first place.
Those who have done this, find working with insurance easier, more enjoyable and certainly very profitable. Often, a therapist will e-mail or call me for a code or specific form or piece of information. While I am ALWAYS more than willing to help, it's also imperative they understand the importance of making an investment in materials, courses or other valuable information to prevent denials, delays and financial losses, as well as major disappointments.
I know I am not alone when I say that I wish more schools would incorporate more of this, or other business-related training in their curriculum so therapists would have a better sense of direction when ready to go out into the business world.
Click here for more information about Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.
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