Seminars and More

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Wow, it's only three weeks into the trimester, but I've been to a weekend seminar each week! This weekend I went to an advanced insurance seminar given by the American Acupuncture Council (ACC). When I signed up to be an acupuncturist, I guess I didn't think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes to actually make a successful practice. As I have said in past blogs, my husband and I are planning to open our own practice and as you can see we are trying to gather as much information as we can so we can be as successful as some of our counterparts.

I have to give props to National and Dr. Hodges, our business planning professor, for giving us a firm foundation on how to start, manage and market a business.  However, there was a lack of billing and insurance information given to us. I suppose the lack is because in the state of Illinois, we as acupuncturists cannot bill many health care insurance plans and expect a refund. However, each state is different because they each have different Scope of Practice Acts for acupuncture and therefore may have better reimbursement. Also, if the health reform act is passed, we will have more benefits such as equality in patient visits, but don't quote me on that. That's how I understood it coming from the presenter of the seminar. The presenter Sam Collins gave a great presentation. He is a chiropractor and on staff of the AAC. He is knowledgeable of our medicine and wants us to succeed.

As Sam said, many of the attendees will go home after the seminar and re-bill many of their rejected claims because they now have the correct codes and when to use them. As it was explained, the insurance companies may reject a claim only because a four-digit code should have been a five-digit one, or a date or signature was missing. As a student, I was aware that acupuncturists cannot give a diagnosis, but what I learned was I needed a diagnosis code to bill. Therefore, the patient must have a previous diagnosis, which in Illinois would be from their PCP, before I can bill.

The seminar also clarified subjects such as worker's compensation and personal injury cases, and when and how we should expect to be reimbursed without being taken advantage of by lawyers, patients or insurance companies. Sam also made us aware of free websites and other tools to receive the proper reimbursement.

Well, I don't want to bore you with all things insurance, but as I have said before, as a student we should be going to as many seminars as we can and often we receive a discounted fee. Oh, and it's a great meet-and-greet venue to exchange business cards. 

Knowledge is power!

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