For my clients the decision by a major South African medical scheme to reimburse members for massage, is a bonus.
For me however, it is another step towards my vision for therapeutic massage in South Africa, a dream that has required great effort and tenacity bordering on plain old pigheaded-ness.
This is but one small step towards incorporating massage into the primary healthcare system, but I want to congratulate my colleagues at Massage Therapy Association of South Africa (MTASA) who had negotiated it.
I am very, very grateful to them.
Find out here how you can benefit from this new development in the massage profession.
Perseverance is a great element of success.
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s words came to me last week while attending a workshop organised by the MTASA.
There we were in the Goodwood Sports Centre’s boardroom, about 30 massage therapists and a few others connected via Skype, being initiated into the world of managed care and medical schemes.
Thanks to Discovery Health, one of the biggest medical schemes in South Africa deciding to honour members’ claims for therapeutic massage, we were learning about the correct way to apply the World Health Organisation’s ICD 10 coding system when preparing statements for clients.
The 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a medical classification list which contains codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases.
And the reason why I was reminded of Longfellow’s words is because there in front of me I saw the presenter and one of my past students, Heidi Rohr and I realised just how long this journey to give our patients the option of claiming from their medical schemes, has taken.
Way back in the early 2 000s, when I was vice-chair of the MTASA and Heidi was probably still a student, we launched the first attempt to convince the Board of Healthcare Funders and the Department of Health to recognise massage therapy for reimbursement by medical schemes.
Twice we were unsuccessful but thanks to the effort and perseverance of the current MTASA executive committee and this generation of leaders representing my profession at the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa, we are finally able to make therapeutic massage available to more people.
Now it remains up to us to lobby the other medical schemes too.
MY DREAM FOR MASSAGE
It has always been my dream to see massage integrated in the South African primary health care system in addition to massage as a service in the beauty, spa and leisure industry.
Massage should not be a luxury treatment only available to those who can pay to be pampered, it is health care treatment in its own right and all people should have the opportunity to make it their health modality of choice.
This decision by Discovery Health takes us one step closer to that dream coming true.
Yes, it generates more admin for us therapists but the benefit for my clients and all future clients, makes it all worthwhile.
So, if you are a member of Discovery Health and if your therapist is registered with the AHPCSA and has a practice number, you can claim for massage from your Medical Savings Account (MSA).
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. - Newt Gingrich
Body-mind or mind-body? If you are struggling with physical and mental pain and feel that the dominant health paradigm’s dualistic approach to mind and body seems inadequate to explain anything, I want to talk to you. Join me under the tree in my garden for a cup of rooibos tea and let’s talk massage and SomaSense!