Not working for over a year has been an amazing experience. For me, I have had more fun, time to relax, time to really get clear on what is important in life and for my massage business. I have 2 1/2 years left on a lease on a space that I rent from another therapist and have rented from for over 25 years. My office is in the heart of downtown Seattle. Many things around me have closed temporarily and permanently. Downtown is still a ghost town. The tech workers who were my main source of clients were sent home to work March 3 of 2020 and the word is that they are not coming back until fall, although waiting to hear if the latest news on the mask situation and vaccines will change their minds. The symphony hall is right across the street from me and they said the are coming back live in Sept. That means the wonderful restaurant across the street may one day reopen. I am not sure if I have anything left of my practice but don’t feel concerned about it. I have things in place that will help me reopen easily like good placing with the search engines with my website and Google Business Listing.
Just last Monday I had decided I would go back in September after receiving the good news that I had gotten a grant from the State of WA. A few days later the news hit with the CDC saying we could take the masks off outside and in some settings if we are vaccinated. I am now rethinking my date to go back and might start with one day a week and move up to two and see how the summer goes.
The Mask and Vaccine Debate
That is a no brainer for me. Mask. You just cannot give a massage without social distancing and more specifically breathing in the person’s face!
Is this new claim about going without masks to get more people to get vaccinated or does it mean that the vaccine is really working? It’s both really. Something to really think about if you are still on the fence about getting the vaccine.
I am still looking for the legal ramifications of requiring people to show their vaccine card and be fully vaccinated before coming in. I will be doing that especially in the beginning. But will that be enough to protect myself and my clients from the virus? Talk of fake cards and people who are not vaccinated lying about it now so they are not ostracized.
I am not afraid of the virus, but I don’t like what it can do to people and even though most get mild cases, there are those awful cases that make me think. This is no longer about freedom to make your own decisions based on your beliefs…you have to make decisions based on the best science we currently have.
For over 30 years I have been billing insurance for massage sessions – mainly health insurance but also for motor vehicle collisions and workers compensation. I sent in my notice to cancel my contracts with health insurance panels last month and will be off of them by July. About 10 years ago or so when the first insurance company reduced their allowable fees significantly, I had started on this journey to figure out what could be done. It took 2 years or so of hanging out at AMTA-WA Conventions and talking to many people that there was nothing that could be done, so I helped start the WA State Massage Association (www.mywsmta.org) with the goal of figuring out how to get health insurance panels to pay us more and also deal with all the little everyday issues of billing insurance like when they tell you a prescription is not needed and make up your own ICD code (one was told to put a code that said something about death…truth.) The one big thing that needs to happen is some sort of profit and loss study to show massage businesses cost per client and provide that to the insurance carriers. They use it to determine the allowable fees and when they don’t have it from the profession, they use their own data – hence the low allowable fees.
No more insurance for me. Zip.
I will also be raising my rates significantly from $95 up to $120 for an hour massage. I will be taking more time in between sessions and still cleaning etc. I am looking for a new booking system that will also take care of the intake process, payments and note taking but have yet to find the perfect system.