Getting massage in hospitals is part of the future of the massage profession but it could also be the end if not done carefully with awareness and creating boundaries. The leader in providing information on this topic is the Hospital Based Massage Network that offers a few books and DVD's on the topic as well as a list of colleagues who are doing the same. The also have a list of resources to help you get started in offering Massage in Hospitals
An article in the AMTA Journal called "Hospitals embrace Massage Therapy says:
Of HBMN’s 116 hospital-massage program members: 16 are based out of wellness or health and fitness departments; 12 out of rehabilitation, eight out of physical therapy; nine are based in women’s health clinics, labor and delivery or perinatal departments; eight out of complementary or mind/body medicine hospital clinics; four hospital-massage programs are based out of nursing; four out of a cancer center or oncology department; and two out of a surgical department. Other programs operate out of cardiac, sports, family medicine, continuous learning, community outreach, ambulatory services and occupational therapy departments. The massage program at South Lake Hospital in Florida is based out of the U.S.A. Triathlon National Training/Wellness Center.
Thirty-six of the programs report offering massage in obstetrics/gynecology, 34 in oncology, 31 in wellness, 22 for infants, 21 in physical therapy, 19 in geriatrics and 16 in surgery. Other units on which massage therapy is administered include intensive care, critical care, emergency room, psychiatric, family practice, cardiac, orthopedics, rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS.The main thing to remember is that the medical profession does not really understand the value of massage and they think that it is going to be an added expense - as in the patient gets $10,000 worth of back surgery and then $2,000 worth of massage. They don't understand that the back surgery could be avoided altogether with using massage.
While most health insurance is yet to cover massage (except for WA and FL), car and workers compensations plans are more open to paying for massage. It is just a matter of time before all states make it a requirement that insurance companies pay for massage therapy. Obama's Health care reform act hints at some of the things to come. This article "Healthcare Reform and Massage" in Massage Today by Vivian Madison Mahoney states:On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. As it stands now, here is the excerpt from the health care reform bill passed:
"The provider non-discrimination provision (Section 2706) to be enacted into law reads in part: 'A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider's license or certification under applicable State law.'"
While we do not really know what that all means for the massage profession as far as getting paid by insurance, I do know that here in WA State being able to bill for insurance has been a mixed blessing. It is mainly because we do not have any say in what the insurance companies pay or what benefits they allow for massage. It has been a good way to provide service to many people who are injured or suffering from a disease or condition that massage can help. Maintenance and preventative massage is NOT covered.
Massage is being offered at places like Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center
It is important to create a plan when approaching a hospital that will include a complete list of available research that shows how massage can help patients as well as how you will plan to get it covered by insurance. Currently massage is not really very recognized by health insurance but that is slowly changing.
To start a massage in hospitals program, you will need to have training in working with cancer patients, geriatric massage, HIV/Aids training as well as CPR classes. These are special needs populations and require more training beyond basic massage school. Some hospitals are even offering training programs that are internships for massage students.
Learn more about how to bill insurance for massage.
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