Archive for tag: networking

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!

Business Shopping

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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.

Office Environment

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 different.

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.

Community Contacts

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 charge. 

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 made. 

AOM Graduation

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.

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Stay tuned for upcoming weeks in which I will be sharing details of my lunch with a former graduate and the infertility seminar I just attended.

Happy New Year!