I spent this weekend at The American Massage Therapy Association Washington Chapter Convention. It was wonderful to hear presenters that have been in the profession for 30+ years. Their hard work and dedication to the field has brought massage practitioners to the point we are today as healthcare providers!
I walked away from the conference with a deeper understanding of what changes and directions the massage profession has ahead regarding insurance billing and education. Washington has been one of the few states that has provided medical insurance coverage for massage and have been a leader in advocating national recognition pertaining to benefits and necessity of massage in the medical community. That advocacy led to massage therapy being included in the Affordable Care Act. In other words, all states should have massage therapy as a covered benefit. Additionally, in 2017, the coding system used for billing will be changed to allow more accurate diagnosis coding and thus a clearer way to document sessions with clients. That news is very exciting. The challenging part, as always, will be increasing reimbursement rates. The shrinking of compensation is the reason why I ended my contracts with medical insurance companies and am hopeful that with the advent of this new coding system the insurance companies will recognize the need to reasonably pay massage practitioners for their work. On that note, I believe there are changes that need to happen on the side of massage practitioners, namely education on best billing practices as well as a deeper understanding of treatment techniques if practitioners are working in a medical setting.
I am hopeful that medical massage practitioners will come out a stronger, smarter, and a better compensated profession because of these changes.
I am grateful to all the elders in the profession for their dedication and hard work in getting massage therapy the recognition it has today and who continue to push for even greater and higher goals. I am also grateful to all my patients as well as all the referring physicians who also recognize and support massage therapy as a rehabilitative and wellness tool. Without you, I know I would not have the knowledge I have today. Thank you!