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
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
Knowledge is power!
The much needed winter break has ended, and as always I still
feel like I need another week - but then again who doesn't. Our
winter breaks are usually three weeks long and spring and summer
breaks last two weeks.
Three weeks was long enough for my husband and I to do some
business shopping. We had the chance to visit an acupuncturist in
Oak Park and a chiropractor. Each practitioner gave us different
advice but all very helpful. The office atmospheres were completely
The acupuncture office was more exotic and peaceful but
professional, which I really liked. I think when a patient walks in
the door they should breathe a breath of relaxation, which I felt
was accomplished in that office. The chiropractic office was very
professional and big with lots of light. It was a typical medical
office environment and in my opinion not very relaxing.
After listening to both practitioners, it seemed they tailored
their environment to their patients' needs and expectations. For my
husband and I, it gave us a big clue as to what kind of environment
we should strive for.
We also got a jump on the business ball by stopping into the
local Chamber of Commerce, which offered us much help, as well as
steered us in the direction of a reputable commercial real estate
agent. Even though we are looking a little early, I think it shows
our dedication and ambition as business owners to these individuals
(who could possibly be future patients). We also interviewed an
accountant who offered us loads of information free of
My advice to you, future students and possible business owners,
is to check out all of your business opportunities way in advance
of graduation. Talk to as many practitioners in the area in which
you are thinking of practicing because they can each give you
valuable information as well as warn you of any mistakes they have
On another note, the Fall 2010 graduating class was the largest
so far for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program. Cherlyn,
one of our Oriental Medicine grads will be traveling to China in a
month or so. She will be attending the program set up by our
Hui Yan Dr. Cai. Cherlyn will be teaching English to students in
exchange for room and board as well as attending grand rounds in a
University Hospital in Xi'an. We have had two graduates enter the
program so far. I plan to stay in touch with Cherlyn to give
everyone details on her year-long trip.
Stay tuned for upcoming weeks in which I will be sharing details
of my lunch with a former graduate and the infertility seminar I
Happy New Year!
• Clinic Success
• Rainy Saturday
• Business Planning
• Bee Venom Therapy
• Kinesio Taping
• SACA Seminar
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.