To Work or Not to Work
As Washington State Massage Therapists grapple with a global pandemic, they are finding that to work or not to work is not a binary decision that can be applied equally to all massage therapists across the state. Regionality has a great influence as counties see major COVID-19 outbreaks, while others do not. Availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is also a major consideration. Outside of those concerns, our regulatory body has given us the freedom to exercise our clinical judgement to make the best decision for ourselves and our clients/patients, assuming that we adhere to some strict rules of engagement. This article is designed to assist WA massage therapists to make those critical decisions about whether to go back to work, whether it’s time to temporary suspend work, which cases to accept depending on the status of the pandemic in their region or if working as a massage therapist during pandemic is the right decision for you.
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CHANGES TO PRE-AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR UNIFORM MEDICAL PLANS IN 2020
Uniform Medical Plans have some new pre-authorization guidelines that started on March 1, 2020. CPT code 97112, among others, are subject to the new pre-authorization rules. This article summarizes some of these changes with links to the latest Certificates of Coverage for the various plans with UMP.
HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
On October 30, 2019, the Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA) Clinical Practices Program sponsored an in-person consultation/CE with Lori Taylor, licensed insurance broker, on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). She included what HSAs are, how our clients can set them up, how to contribute to them and how to utilize them to cover our services. Massage therapy is an “eligible expense" if the patient has a prescription, letter of medical necessity or a doctor's directive on record (in their IRS tax file) to verify “qualified HSA medical expense".
CONTINUING EDUCATION AUDITS
Every month the Department of Health audits 2% of the license renewals which have continuing education due. A shocking 50% of therapists fail the audit. This is not always due to a lack of education hours, but can also be due to not having hours in the required categories. The Board of Massage has developed a handy tracking form which lists the requirements and space to enter your continued education classes.
Print out the form, write in any classes when you take them, attach your certificate, and you are ready for a successful audit.
There will likely be some changes to CE requirements in the near future. We will let you know when the regulations become effective and supply you with the link to the updated form.
Our Board and Committee members are all unpaid volunteers working for you. Our little group could use individuals willing to take on jobs big and small. It allows you to connect with other LMT professionals, receive mentorship, find out the latest discoveries in our profession, receive CE hours for certain activities and support other up and coming LMTs. We are looking for volunteers interested in helping with, but not limited to:
Our Board and Committee members are all unpaid volunteers working for you. If you have a story idea, an educational experience or ideas to share, please contact us. Please specify your interest in the Clinical Practices Group, our coding subcommittee or if you are looking for volunteer opportunities.
Clinical Practices Program is providing a variety of examples of forms from active WA massage practitioners to use as templates for resumption and provision of in-person healthcare treatment during the COVID-19 public health crisis. These may include:
These are provided as a starting point. They do not reflect any legal requirements or the only way these forms could be created. They should be customized so it reflects your actual practice and process.The purpose of these forms is to:
Whether they are sent in a pre-appointment email, reviewed at time of service or posted on the website, the key is to communicate your practice has changed its delivery of services to optimizing safety and health. Obtaining signatures or initials on the forms will hopefully assure they have read it, but it is not a liability waiver or legally binding agreement.
The documents below are in MS Word format for easy modification to your practice needs. We hope you find them helpful.
COVID 19 Integrated Form (.docx)
COVID 19 Symptom Check (.docx)
COVID 19 Office Protocol (.docx)
WHAT CLINICAL PRACTICES DOES FOR YOU
In Washington State, massage therapists are in a unique position, licensed by the state and credentialed by insurance as health care providers. LMTs are included in insurance provider networks. The Clinical Practices Program (CPP) mission is to be a communication portal (conduit) to address issues that impact clinical practices at the state level, while bringing best practice information to individual massage therapists and clinics. We bring our voices, our knowledge, our experience and collaborative approach to Washington State's regulatory, legislative and insurance arenas. We also prioritize effective communication with our members as well as other professional organizations in the healthcare field, particularly rehabilitation therapy.
Our current and ongoing focus is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for Best Clinical Practices and for compliance with our massage laws as well as other regulations that apply to healthcare providers. We seek and participate in opportunities to work with networks and insurers on behalf of Washington LMTs to address issues including but not limited to credentialing, improving access to provider networks, network adequacy, prior authorization requirements, payers compliance with reimbursement regulations.
The Coding and Documentation Work Group
This group is a subcommittee under the Clinical Practices Program. Our focus is to research, network and share resources on issues of coding, documentation and other key components of clinical practice. Our goal is to share information and provide tools for licensed individual practitioners and clinical group.