I suggest you start with a car accident case or a work related injury case. Right now in most states, you can bill easily for a car accident or worker comp case.
Why am I asking you to do this?
We need you! The massage profession needs you!
Yes massage insurance billing may seem like a nightmare to you…but it doesn’t have to. It is just a process of learning what you can and can’t do in order to bill AND get paid. Don’t let that scare you!
We need more people learning to bill insurance so we can have more people who are aware of how it all works so we can have more people standing up for us with the insurance companies and medical professionals. We need more people at the table working for the massage profession to make more changes and to show the insurance companies and medical professionals that massage does work and it could really help reduce costs in the insurance world and patients would be much happier when they can avoid surgeries and pain meds that make them feel awful in other ways. (Personally, I do not recommend having your whole practice be based on medical billing as thing are changing so rapidly with new CPT codes coming out in 2018 and new ICD-10 codes coming in Oct 2015. Those changes will take time to implement and incorporate into billing services meaning times for payment could be delayed greatly.)
We need more massage therapists learning about documenting their massage sessions through SOAP notes and putting what we do in a massage session into words the medical professionals and insurance companies will respect and understand. Our chart notes are what will show doctors and insurance companies that massage does work and that massage therapists know what they are doing. Our chart notes will show progress in clients/patients and help give massage the respect it deserves. Charting is much more then just saying people have tight muscles and you released them. The best resource on charting is the book Hands Heal: Communication, Documentation, and Insurance Billing for Manual Therapists .
With so many challenges around being a Health Care Provider (HCP) , we will need associations hiring lawyers to help us navigate the legalities of being a HCP. We need lawyers and lobbyists in every state. It is different than just being a massage therapist. There are more responsibilities around privacy and doing business as a HCP.
States will need more help with licensing and legislation issues to help states that are not HCP’s to obtain that status in their state. Currently, the states that I know of that are licensed as HCP’s are: WA, NY, FL, MI, WI, NC, GA, AL, TN, VI, CT, MD (LMTs only), WV, Wa DC, OR. NM, MO and possibly TX. We need more information on this to determine each states status and be working to get the other states on this list. In most states, massage therapists can already bill for car accidents and/or work related injuries even without being in the official HCP category. I also think that could help the efforts to get recognized by health insurance companies.
We need more research to show how massage works and why it works. We need more evidence that shows massage can help for the many conditions we constantly work with – headaches, back/neck pain, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome and more. Right now we have nothing really that shows without a doubt that massage works. At best we have research that ‘shows promising’ in the words of Christopher Moyer author of Massage Therapy: Integrating Research and Practice
We need more case studies to base the research on. The case studies are what come from the people in the massage table trenches doing and seeing the results of the work – that means YOU! Find out more about writing a case study from www.massagetherapyfoundation.org
What this could mean for you and for the massage profession.
Taking just one insurance case in the next few months or even stepping up to take a few insurance clients a month or even a year, could help make your massage business more profitable. It is also a great learning experience to work with people with such injuries and health conditions and see people get better. The more people we have billing and getting involved in the process, the more chances there are for insurance companies and medical professions to learn about what massage really does. Creating relationships with medical professions and insurance companies is really one of the easiest ways to fill your business with clients too. People who are injured or in pain or under stress come in weekly or even 2-3 times a week depending on the severity of the case.
For the profession, the more exposure we get, the more we can get our selves out of the idea that massage is Pampering and is somehow just a luxury. The low cost/low paying, controversial franchise model could get exposed for what it is – mostly mediocre massage.
Billing insurance for massage services is a very complex and always changing process that is usually thought of being more of a pain in the neck than worth the time and energy to do. While that pain in the neck, can be true with certain cases, the thing is that if you learn how to bill and learn how the insurance companies in you area work, you can easily learn what cases to take and which cases to avoid that will be more time consuming or more difficult to get paid.
2706 of the ACA paves the road for getting paid more by health insurance companies, but no one is working on enforcing it and there are no clauses that site how it will be enforced either.
There is also the Triple Aim framework was developed in 2007 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that describes an approach to optimizing health system performance around the world. The Triple Aim is about:
- Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction);
- Improving the health of populations; and
- Reducing the per capita cost of health care.
Massage Therapy would fit nicely into all three categories if only someone or some organizations would start paying attention. Where are our massage associations? Still no national lobbyist for massage therapists? Still no one standing up for the massage profession?
The main thing is that more health insurance companies ARE actually paying for massage services and they are doing so without any input from the profession on the many things that are at stake: low allowable fees, closed provider lists, dwindling massage benefits.
Don’t be afraid to bill insurance!
Learning to bill insurance may seem like an overwhelming process. It doesn’t have to be when you learn from others and have a forum for asking any and all of your questions. You can get just that when you purchase my Book in PDF or in paperback – Massage Insurance Billing Manual.
The PDF version which you download immediately and directly to your computer is $32.95 and that includes the billing forms and the entry into the private/closed Facebook group. Purchase the Massage Insurance Billing Manual PDF Now
The paperback version available through www.amazon.com is $26.95 and DOES NOT include the Facebook forum but you get a special link in the book to take the next step and join the Facebook Group for a small fee. That way I can provide you will all of the updates in the insurance billing world and also help answer your questions. Buy the Paperback book Now –Massage Insurance Billing 101: Putting the Care Back in Health Care
Bill One Insurance Company for
Massage by Dec 31, 2015! and start making a difference
Putting the Care Back in Health Care!