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Patient Retention Techniques
When talking about techniques to grow your business, we tend to focus on the "large" aspect of the patient base, that is, on strategies to attract new patients. However, it is important to remember that "loyal" is equally, if not more, important.
ASA Ready to Impact Profession
The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) is a 501(c)6 (pending), not-for-profit collaboration among state based, acupuncturist professional associations.
Data: The New Frontier in Health Care
Your practice is empowered with the data you need to improve patient health, run a more efficient (read: profitable) practice, get paid in timely fashion and help show the efficacy of chiropractic on the national stage in the midst of sweeping changes in health care!
Making Public Health a Chiropractic Priority
As highlighted in this edition's News in Brief, Rand Baird, DC, MPH, FICA, FICC, editor and occasional author of our long-running column, "Chiropractic in the American Public Health Association", was recognized by the organization recently for 40 years of membership.
A War You Can Help Patients Win
The average American consumes approximately 60 percent of calories from sugar, flour and refined oils. A donut is a good example of a so-called "food" that represents these calorie sources.
Teaching Qi Gong to Children
Many of us have come to embrace Qi Gong or Tai Chi practice as a regular part of our lives. Qi Gong has been a stabilizing factor in my life for the last twenty years.
Healing the Core: AWB Nepal Earthquake Relief Project
With almost 9,000 people killed during the earthquakes in April and May, another 23,000 suffering injuries, hundreds of thousands left homeless when entire villages collapsed, and many sacred sites destroyed, no one in this country of approximately 28 million has been left untouched by the disaster.
Integrative Sports Medicine
One of the most rewarding and challenging clinical scenarios is the treatment of athletes.
ICD-10 Is Not Scary (and Not About Billing)
In my 13 years of consulting with doctors on billing and coding matters, ICD-10 has aroused the biggest combination of misguided fear and ignorance I can remember.
Online Marketing Basics: Website Creation
The various online marketing options make it a challenge, especially when all you want to do is help your patients feel better. With such a broad topic, I'm going to share some basics you should know about website creation.
An Unexpected Superfood: All About Eggs
About 40 years ago, excessive dietary cholesterol was labeled a public health concern. Specifically, it was thought that there was a causal link between consumption of cholesterol-laden foods and increased risk of heart disease.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 1
All humans, by the very nature of being human, will experience moments of trauma and suffering. What, then, makes the difference in how the individual who experiences trauma, suffering, and spiritual loss reacts to such experiences?
Peaching to the Choir: How to Extend Our Reach Beyond the CAM Community
Professional conferences offer unique opportunities to network, be exposed to cutting-edge innovators, share your interests and work, and be inspired.
News in Brief
Support of F4CP Continues With Latest Donations; Walter Reed Honors Dr. William Morgan; Recognizing 40 Years of Public-Health Activism; Allstate Decision Reversed.
Acupuncture Treatment of Trauma in the Canine
From 1972 until 1976, John Ottaviano and I were treating dogs at five different veterinary clinics in the Los Angeles county area. Usually, we were at a clinic for seven to eight hours.
What to do When Today Sucks
Have you ever had one of those days when nothing went the way it should have? The patient with migraines got worse instead of better from a treatment similar to one you've effectively used on him before.
Technology Meets Practice: Chiropractic Every Day
About a year ago, I had an interesting conversation with a DC who made house calls. When I asked why, she was quick to explain she learns much more about her patients when she sees them at home than she could ever observe in the office.
Relationship Marketing: A Modern Approach
Remember when you used to get real letters in the mail? Not the automated type, but the real deal, hand written with a personal message just because someone was thinking about you? You know what I'm talking about.
Exercise Recommendations for Healthy Aging
Aging is inevitable, but how you age is not. Common physical signs of aging include decreased muscle mass, decreased muscular power, increased body fat, and decreased aerobic (lung) capacity.
Lower-Extremity Overuse Injuries: Primer on Causes and Corrections
From ankle sprains to stress fractures, shin splints to plantar fasciitis, the research is clear: These common overuse injuries of the lower extremities – among dozens of others – may be related to abnormal foot function in your patients.
Treat Every Patient as an Athlete
Frontal-plane movement pattern dysfunction can set the stage for musculoskeletal injury. Frontal-plane stabilization is essential during the normal activities of daily living: think single-leg stance and gait cycle.
It's Time to Wake Up
It is time for this profession to wake up and tell someone about the healing benefits of acupuncture. This is the time for Asian Medicine. Its popularity, growth and unusual acceptance is nothing short of amazing.
Learning the Transformative Language of the Channel System: The Sinew Channels
The Chinese medical classics describe the energetic terrain of the body in much detail. The acupuncture channel systems, as presented in the Ling Shu illustrate the various expressions our qi energy can take.
Treating LBP in Golfers: Beyond Basic Assessment
The drive to master the most efficient swing demands a tremendous amount from the lower back. Maintaining stability in a flexed posture, supporting torso rotation and repetitively supporting the golf swing all put the lower back in a vulnerable position.
Fish Oil: A Key Component to Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
The Ethics of Herbal Prescribing
While teaching ethics classes, I often encounter licensed acupuncturists who are surprised that our use of herbs and supplements has a specific section in the material. It is often an aspect within ethics that clinicians don't think of in practice.
Aetna Updates 97140 Policy
In a development the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors is calling "a resounding victory for chiropractors nationwide," Aetna Insurance Company has updated its national reimbursement policy regarding 97140 (manual therapy), reaching an agreement two years after the association filed a declaratory judgment suit in federal court against the insurer.
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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