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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.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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.
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.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
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.
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.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
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.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
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.
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.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
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.
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