resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Insurance Fraud and Massage Therapists
By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT
This is to inform all therapists who work for physicians, MDs, chiropractors, massage therapists or other providers who bill insurance for their services to be aware of possible fraud; it is your license and your reputation on the line if others are using you to their advantage.More and more, fraud and in some cases, organized crime, is taking place involving massage practitioners.
Abuse is most common among newly licensed or just out of school therapists where the therapist, though not involved in fraud and abuse themselves, is unaware of billing rules, legal and ethical documentation guidelines, correct coding and other insurance-related issues. Therefore, they are easy targets for those who hire them with intentions of making a lot of money by running insurance mills, or taking advantage of patients and their insurance.
Again, many therapists are not even aware that illegal or unethical activity is taking place nor of how serious the situation can become if the offices they work for come under question by authorities. This article is meant to help inform and protect you from activities that could eventually cause you to lose your license if not face possible prosecution, penalties and jail time.
You may be working for a "clinic" or other medical arrangement where you are asked to perform many procedures and modalities during a single patient visit, such as: hot/cold packs, manual therapy, massage therapy, neuromuscular re-education, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercise, therapeutic activities, manual traction, mechanical traction, and other such procedures and modalities. Commonly, the office uses checklists and has the therapist check off the modalities and procedures performed. However, often times checkmarks are added after the therapist has submitted their paperwork, while the therapist is none the wiser.
It is not that some or all of those procedures and modalities are not in our scope of practice and training (depending on state licensure) but certainly, it is impossible to perform each of them within the normal treatment session of no more than one hour. Further, when there is a lack of thorough daily documentation (using just checkmarks is not thorough), it can lead to open-door fraudulent actions.
We are trained licensed practitioners and we should know not only our scope of practice but also what is within our legal, moral and ethical boundaries. Over-coding, over-billing and over-treating or documenting what is not provided are certainly not what we should be doing if we want to continue to build our professional image within the massage, medical and insurance communities.
I have received numerous calls over the past year or so from very concerned and frightened LMTs who have been caught-up in this sort of practice working for others. Sadly, there are still a whole lot of massage therapists who by choice, fear or intimidation are still working for this sort of practice. If you (or someone you know) is involved in such activities whereby you are told to perform many treatment modalities and procedures in one session, you might be involved in criminal activities.
The maximum in our industry standards is normally no more than four procedures and two modalities when noted on written prescription - not eight to 12 as some are performing. You might be involved in criminal activity if:
As insurance consultant for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA), I first presented this information in FSMTA's Massage Message magazine. Since, I have been requested by insurance fraud divisions, the FBI, police investigators, and attorneys to provide information about our scope of practice, coding, industry standards for massage billing and to review suspected massage therapists' billing forms and practices.
I would highly advise that you pay special attention to the services you are asked to provide, and the paperwork you are asked to sign. As a legitimate independent contractor you should be able to request any file or patient record that you have created. By learning how to accept and bill insurance (when and where it is feasible), you can avoid falling victim to fraud.
Know too that all medical providers are not dishonest and as always, it is the one bad apple that spoils the bushel. So forewarned is to be forearmed.
Author's note: I am not a legal advisor, CPA or accountant. Please be sure to consult with proper authorities if you have any questions or concerns that pertain to a medical facility that you work for.
Click here for more information about Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.