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Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
March, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 03
Health Care Reform and the Massage Profession
A Crisis Too Great to be Wasted
By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB
The current economic downturn is a crisis "to great too be wasted," according to our new president's chief of staff, and we will soon see some form of socialized medicine. It is not a question of if, it is a question of what and when. The point of this dose of reality is this: How is the massage and bodywork profession positioned to maintain its viability when health care is nationalized?
Health and health care is not really a right, it is a responsibility. Sadly, people in general do not want to take that responsibility and further, they want someone else to pay for their own irresponsibility and misfortune. We are in a period of rewarding bad behavior and poor decisions.
When "the people" ask the government to take over their personal responsibilities, this transfers individual rights and freedoms to the government. (And politicians can hardly wait.) The government that controls the health of its people controls its people. Ultimately, the State wants to manage its "human resources" (that's you and me) to maximize productivity for the State. It will take awhile, incrementalism is essential, but eventually it leads to population control.
Allopaths Versus Massage Therapists
In a government run system in the United States, "traditional medicine" (allopathy) will rule. Retirement is very unproductive and bad for the environment. In between, the allopaths get to skim their profits. Where does a health-based paradigm fit in? Think about it if you dare. Only a significant shift in societal consciousness (awareness) will change this.
The pharmaceutical-medical lobbies have the most money and thus access to the best politicians money can buy. The alternative health movement's window of opportunity is rapidly being closed, much to the delight of the allopathic system. Alternative providers tend to promote health and allopaths abhor health.
If that statement shocks you, and it is suppose to, remove your emotion and objectively look at our current health care delivery system. There is no economic incentive to the system to get or keep people healthy. They only make money off of sickness and symptoms. There is relatively little money to be made curing conditions, and even less preventing them. There are huge amounts of money to be made treating never-ending symptoms. This is why effective cures, cancer cures for example, are suppressed or run out of the country. Follow the money trail. You have to see the overall structure and philosophy of the system. Once you can, it is crystal clear. Of course there are exceptions within the system.
There will be a potential opportunity to bring wellness based care to the forefront in a nationalized system and that could be huge for us. It could save money and prevent a great deal of suffering (like 250,000 people dying from the allopath's admitted mistakes each year). Sadly, the government is not interested in cost-effectiveness or optimizing your wellness. It rewards inefficiency and ineptness. Allopathic sickness care is the epitome of both.
Current Bill in the House of Representatives
How will massage and bodywork, as a profession, be affected by the implementation of socialized medicine? It could be as benign as being left alone. If the Clinton plan is revived, we could have to become employees of hospitals or physicians or face being felons. There is currently a universal health care bill in the House of Representatives, HR-676. In this bill there are provisions for alternative providers to participate in the plan as long as they are licensed. This means our colleagues in states that are not licensed or that have some lesser form of regulation than full state licensure could be put out of business. Also, one of the three ways HR-676 will be funded is with taxes on the self-employed. That's a lot of us.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services' first first assignment will be handling health care reform. Obama's top pick for Health Secretary, former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, abruptly withdrew his nomination after admitting his failure to pay about $140, 000 in back taxes. While Daschle is out, his nomination gives us some guess as to the types of policies we will see after an eventiual appointment. Daschle, who was voted out of office by his own constituents in November 2004, has said the Clinton plan failed because it had too many details. Instead he proposed to pass a skeletal bill and let bureaucrats make the administrative rules that will fill in the details of the plan.
[Editor's note: As of press time, the appointment of the Secretary of Health and Human Services has not been made.]
The Crisis is Too Great to be Wasted
Bureaucrats are not very supportive of us. If you doubt this, notice how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration treats herbs and supplements. Notice how the Department of Agriculture treats the organic food movement. There are plenty of precedents to make one quite concerned about how the bureaucracy might treat us and what amount of freedom they would give us to do therapy.
Who is going to watch out and stand up for us when this "health care reform" is created? Who is going to be the voice of alternative providers? Who will offer a serious wellness model beyond mandatory allopathic tests and vaccinations?
Where are our beloved membership organizations on this issue? Are they ready to represent you, to protect you, to insure you are at least allowed to continue to practice? Will they stand idly by and let us be put under the thumb of allopathic gatekeepers, making us unwanted slaves in the physical therapy departments? If you care about this, you might want to find out what their plans are, or if they are just counting on hope. Hope has never accomplished anything.
Take Action: What We Can Do?
It will be in the best interests of all of us to be in contact with our U.S. Representatives and Senators and let them know we deserve a place as the first door providers we are now, in any new system they may implement. We need to lobby strongly for our right to practice therapy both with and without gatekeeper supervision. Let me be clear on this. If you want to work for the government that should be your choice, but if you want to work for the patient, outside of the government system like most of us are now, you should have that right too.
If we are forced to become employees of hospitals or physicians or can only access patients through controlled referral, we will not last long. Remember, they ran manual therapy out of medicine here a long time ago. It is not profitable enough.
To survive as first door providers, we will have to lobby individually and through our associations. Are we up to the task? If all else fails, we may have to play dumb and say, "Hey, its just a massage."
Happy kite flying! See you in May with how we may get sucker-punched by research.
Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB.
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