resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
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 previous articles by Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT.
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