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Table of Contents–Art of PM
Sample Chapters–Art of PM
Benefits of the Art of PM with the practice plan
Syllabus for Self Study
Accreditation Requirement Applicability


The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices
- Book 516, pages


When Art of PM and Professional level AOM Holistic Practice Management Plan Format are purchased together, discounts apply.



Review by
By Kabba Anand, DAc, LAc, Dipl.Ac., Dipl.Ch (NCCAOM) chair for the NCCAOM 2001

The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices
Cynthia Flint Bestani, Peter G. Fernandez and Neil Gumenick, MAc

A healthy practice is dependent on many things. My mother used to tell me that the most important thing in life was good health, and that education was a close second. For most of my youth, I dismissed her advice as irrelevant to my reality. However, over time, I have come to understand her priorities and concerns. When my van broke down and my computer crashed a few days ago, I was able to laugh and enjoy the challenge (after taking a few deep breaths), knowing that my health was still in relative balance.

Maintaining balance resembles the practice of Chinese herbal medicine. You must tailor and constantly adjust things to meet your current needs. In a healthy practice, you must balance time spent with clients with time spent alone; time practicing medicine with time studying and learning. You must first maintain your health, then devote yourself to advancing your education. (Thanks, Mom!)

Good reference books lend balance to a busy practice by allowing for quiet contemplation and deeper understanding. I came across two recently published books that offer a wonderful foundation for all practitioners.
Both books The Art of Practice Management For Acupuncture Health Care Practices by Cynthia Flint Bestani, Peter Fernandez and Neil Gumenick, and its companion, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Holistic Practice Management Plan Format (written just by Ms. Bestani), offer encouragement, guidance and support, whatever your level of experience. You will find that these books support your practical business skills, which for many may not have been adequately taught in school.

This first provocative book integrates the spirit of the East with the practical business demands of the West, and guides you through a process of introspection and self-evaluation. The book describes your practice as "a living breathing entity" and asks you to ask yourself: "What is most important now?" and "What would create greater fulfillment?" It encourages you to clarify your vision of your practice and guides you through clear steps toward realization of your vision.

I wish I had read this book years ago, prior to establishing a private practice. It provides a detailed guide to your first year in practice and takes you step-by-step through the creation of a practice plan. Many overlook the value and focus a practice plan can bring. Among other things, it serves as a guide to finding your optimum work environment.

Recent graduates will find invaluable advice
on whether it is to your advantage to own your own practice; incorporate; rent; or lease. Record keeping and the SOAP format for charting are both discussed in detail. Some forms are included, which will assist all practitioners in clearly communicating to clients your evaluation, recommendations; schedule of care; personalized instructions; and herbal supplement programs. The optimum methods of providing professional consultation, examination, treatment and follow-through are reviewed as well.

Have you ever given a promotional lecture or class in your community, but felt you might have been better prepared for it? This book has original ideas on how to effectively present yourself. It describes the ins and outs of advertising, giving presentations, and the art of attracting referrals. In addition, there are innovative and insightful approaches to financial planning; hiring; personnel; and creating a staff policy.

In an ethics class I recently taught, I recommended these books, as they masterfully describe both the identification and resolution of ethical issues.
Accountability and the legal ramifications of unprofessional conduct are well described.

Critical to many modern practitioners, the book also reviews the advantages and disadvantages of participating in managed care, and assists in understanding its contracts and language. You will find legal guidelines discussed, including malpractice; licensure; permits; and tax planning. One section helps you calculate the costs of startup, maintenance, renovation and expansion of a practice, as well as find guidelines for setting fees and charging for services. In addition, you'll find step-by-step instruction on how to set up telephone communications; bookkeeping; inventory; accounts payable; accounts receivable; and billing systems. You will also be better prepared dealing with insurance, reporting and court preparation. I encourage you to have your front office assistant read pertinent sections, including "Attracting Patients," "Ensuring Continuity of Care" and "Scheduling Tips."

The Holistic Practice Management Plan Format is a workbook to help you understand and integrate what is presented in The Art of Practice Management. It begins by reviewing goals for beginning practices as well as for established practitioners. It then invites you to write on every page as you clarify your goals and create a practice plan; resume; professional statement; marketing plan; financial plan, etc. In the back of the book is an order form for purchasing related books; audiocassettes; computer programs and forms; patient pamphlets; videos; and slides.

I found that these books stimulated an inquiry into many facets of my practice, thus improving communication with my patients and staff, as well as my connection with my community. My vision for practice has been reinforced, and my understanding of how to maintain balance within my practice enhanced. Mahalo.


The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices

Reviewed by Jason Stein
Former Program Medical Director of Integrative Medicine
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Albuquerque NM
-Former Instructor Practice Management and Ethics at IICM in Albuquerque, NM.

"If I could only take one item to travel the Grand Canyon, then an experienced guide would be my best choice. This guide would give me insight, teach me about unfamiliar territories, and instruct me on how to travel on my own. In the same way, if I were to choose only one book to act as my ally in my acupuncture practice, The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices would be my guide. Cynthia Bestani, Dr. Peter Fernandez, and Neil Gumenick, M.A. (U.K.) have created the perfect experiential learning guide. It is an original creation, which combines the Yin of the East, of soul and spirit, with the Yang of the West, of business and management.

The process of watching my students and myself learn from combining Ancient Philosophies into Modern Business has been innovative, fruitful, and exciting. This step-by-step book covers all areas of running a successful practice while creating an inquiry about our patients, our communities, and ourselves.

Whether you are a beginning student or an established practitioner, this book can help you and your practice transcend to the next level."

- Jason A. Stein D.O.M.


The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices

Review by Jason A. Luban, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. & Herbs (NCCAOM) Founder and chief developer of AcuBase practice management and billing software.

Any well-intentioned search for practice management resources for acupuncturists will eventually light upon the work of Cynthia Flint Bestani and her company, From Tao To Earth. A former instructor of practice management at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine and a consultant for more than 15 years, Bestani has assembled a large catalog of valuable practice management aids. These include many volumes of books, audio and video tapes, software, pamphlets, forms, educational materials, and other resources all aimed at the growth and maintenance of a successful acupuncture practice. The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices is one of her latest efforts. Co-authored by one of chiropractic’s top management consultant-chiropractor, Peter G. Fernandez and acupuncturist Neil R. Gumenick, The Art of Practice Management’s intent is obvious from the start. Bestani, Fernandez, and Gumenick are well aware that acupuncturists aren’t known for their business acumen, and these ones are out to change this sorry state of affairs.

Just as our Chinese medical training usually starts with the big picture (the Tao, yin and yang, etc.) before moving into the details of diseases, channels, and specific points,
this book begins with spiritual inspiration–everything from "The Three Treasures" in practice management to inspirational quotes, and even a timeline of the history of eastern medicine–before settling in to the real nitty-gritty of practicing.

About 500 pages in length, this book is chock full of a holistic approach to practice management. Visualizing your office space. The qi of profitability and growth. The Ba Gua of practice management. I’m not going to judge this approach as good or bad. Perhaps it works for some people, and
it may just be a brilliant way of making business-challenged acupuncturists more comfortable with the real business of creating and maintaining a successful practice. For my part, I was just looking for the most pragmatic information, and I was not disappointed.

Whether or not one approaches their practice and its success from a spiritual place, this book has a lot to offer. While it has been designed to be used by anyone just starting a practice or someone with an already established business, I believe it is best for the latter. Perhaps the most salient effect that I felt throughout my review of the text was an overwhelming sense of focus. The more one reads, the more one considers all the different ways to improve one’s practice, whether it be through new or improved means of marketing, billing, or planning.
I don’t believe there is a practitioner or office manager out there, no matter how successful their practice, who could not benefit in some way from the focus of thought and action that the practical suggestions in this book may provide.

The scope of potential subjects related to starting, building, and maintaining a practice are beyond comprehension, but this book covers more than any other single resource I know. Everything from the positives and negatives of all kinds of advertising, to state and local licensing, permits, insurance, the many different kinds of potential legal entities (corporations, S-corps, partnerships, etc.), fees, report writing, court preparation, financial systems, insurance billing, and even a detailed section on tax planning. And that’s just a partial review of the larger subject matter, with most subjects dissected down to the bone using checklists, recaps, and summaries. Considering working within a managed care structure? Perhaps you should get comfortable with terms such as "co-pays," "gatekeepers," and "capitation," not to mention the difference between an IPA, an HMO, and a PPO. It’s all here. Would you like to bill insurance for your services? Don’t be scared–just learn some more about ICD-9 and CPT codes, and get ready to make friends with the HCFA 1500 form. This book can help. It even has a section on hiring good staff, complete with a list of questions you might like to ask your potential hire when you interview them.

While I do believe that this relatively comprehensive book is great for those already in practice, I should not fail to mention that it does intend to serve those just starting out, as well. None of the previously mentioned subject matter means anything if you don’t have any patients to see, and this book goes into great detail (in both "holistic" and practical language) about how to attract and retain patients. Sections such as "The First Year in Practice," as well as a comprehensive marketing chapter, will be of great assistance to anyone entertaining the thought of beginning from scratch.

In the final analysis, Bestani and her co-authors have done an admirable job getting their arms around this tricky and often terrifying subject. I believe that this book may benefit anyone who wants to start or maintain a successful practice, however comfortable they may (or may not) be with the business side of things. I would recommend that practitioners, students, and teachers of practice management courses take a look at this book, as well as taking a gander at the many other resources available in the From Tao To Earth catalog, available online at http://www.taotoearthpmpubs.com, or by calling 1-800-800-3139.


Reviewed by Ryan Heath Less DiplAc, DiplCH, , Maintains a private practice in Pittsfield, MA. Acupuncturist on staff at Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA. Former faculty member at Wisconsin Institute of Chinese Herbology, . Former assistant clinic supervisor at Midwest College of Oriental Medicine.

As Oriental Medicine continues to grow here in the United States, so do our practices and therefore our need for practice management. The Art of Practice Management for Acupuncture Health Care Practices is one text which successfully seeks to address this need. In fact, at the time of this writing, the book is already being used by numerous acupuncture schools as recommended and required reading. Some of these include New England School of Acupuncture, SAMRA, IICM in Albuquerque, NM, American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, as well as Bastyr University.

The one word which could best describe this book is thorough. Just about every aspect of practice management that one could think of is covered: from risk management and attracting referrals to feng shui for the clinic. This allows an acupuncturist, or student, to find helpful information specific to the stage he/she is at. For instance, pages 10-16 to 10-30 discuss the pros and cons of sole proprietorship, working as an associate at a healthcare practice, buying a practice, and other possible employment situations. This may be particularly valuable for students fresh out of school. Conversely, the section on hiring staff for the clinic is likely to be needed by practitioners at almost any stage of practice.

Some of the particularly useful sections contained in this book address managed care and insurance billing. Explanations of HMOs, PPOs, and factors to consider when deciding whether to become a provider for such organizations is becoming increasingly important. For instance, the authors explain that the contracts for providers will often limit the practitioner to only referring to certain doctors, and that these may not be who you usually refer out to. The obvious question then becomes, Do I feel comfortable referring to these individuals? An important point to consider since we must always maintain focus on what will be best for our patients.
By guiding us to ask important questions related to being a provider (and in other areas), the authors help us to make better informed decisions which will undoubtedly impact our practice.

Of course, a good portion of The Art of PracticeManagement for Acupuncture Health Care Practices is dedicated to areas related more directly to the human side of the practice. On pages 5-14 to 5-16 there are nicely laid out tables which describe various styles of patients and guide lines on how to handle each one. These include analyzing, controlling, and talkative types of patients among others. Whether one agrees with the method of how to handle each type of patient, the simple fact of becoming more aware of the various situations is indeed very helpful.

In summary, The Art of Practice Management is a good investment for practitioners and students who wish to improve their skills in this area, or who need to build such skills from scratch. It touches upon a wide array of important topics and does so with a compassionate and balanced voice. The reader should also note that the text is only the first volume of a four volume set of texts designed to enhance practice management. The others delve into more specific areas such as insurance and front office procedures.

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