Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2010

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COMPLEMENT THIS ARTICLE WITH "CONDUCT HIGH IMPACT CLIENT INTERVIEWS," A COURSE AVAILABLE IN ABMP'S ONLINE EDUCATION CENTER, AND EARN 2 CE CREDITS. ABMP MEMBERS PAY $35; NONMEMBERS PAY $55. It is important for clients to know that their information will be kept confidential. Disclosure of medical information to other parties should only be done with a client's written permission. as referral or insurance needs. Group practices can make this challenging when more than one therapist may be working on a client. It is important that a client give written permission for this information to be shared. Privacy legislation has taken effect in recent years, and as health-care providers, MTs need to adhere to the same guidelines all other providers follow. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which became effective in 2001, protects consumers' rights to privacy of health-care coverage, and the rights of consumers regarding shared health information. All health- care professionals must follow these regulations. Detailed information about HIPAA regulations is available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, on the Internet at www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy. Clients need to trust you with their health information and to know that it will be shared only with their consent. In addition to HIPAA, your state's laws, rules, and regulations may dictate what information you must keep about each of your clients and how long records must be kept. Check your state laws and rules to assure that you are keeping all necessary information about your clients and know how it can be shared with other parties. You can customize your office forms to make this easier. EDUCATING CLIENTS Sometimes clients may not know the relevance of information they're disclosing for effective treatment. In some situations, clients may not list a condition that would put them at risk when receiving bodywork. Therapists should learn the signs and symptoms that indicate something is wrong. Most therapists will run into a situation during their career where a client has not revealed a condition, and the therapist sees a sign that would lead him to further questioning and possibly stopping a session. For example, while working on a client, you notice a red streak running up the leg. When you bring it to the client's attention, she tells you it has been sore for a couple of days. This would be the time to stop the session and refer the client to see a doctor. If the client asks you what is wrong, it would be best to tell her that this sign contraindicates her for a massage until further evaluation. The possibility of this being a blood clot is not worth the risk to the client. Most therapists who have worked in the massage field have had a number of clients who fill out a health history form and leave many areas blank, yet, during the session, bits of information are slowly revealed. Past surgeries can come up, along with health issues or medications that could be contraindicated for massage. Many therapists have heard a client say she did not feel it was important or there is no need for that information to be revealed to receive a massage. Educating clients is an integral part of being a massage therapist. Therapists should not assume that clients will instantly trust and understand the connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 105

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