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Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of 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?
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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