Chiropractic isn’t about pain relief! It’s about life expression. This statement is located on the wall inside a local Oak Ridge, TN chiropractors’ office. This practitioner does not accept health insurance. This is simply because he feels that everyone should be able to receive affordable care and not be rejected due to limited funds or lack of insurance. Can a straight chiropractor sustain a profitable practice without insurance paying customers? I will give you some suggestions based on my research that have proven successful for others who have implemented these strategies. Being straight is a niche market within the field of chiropractic care. They use only their hands during an adjustment because their training has afforded them the innate ability to locate and correct vertebral subluxations in the spine. They believe that the body has the ability to heal itself once nerve interference has been removed (Jackie, 2003). According to a position paper on straight chiropractic by the International Federation of Chiropractors & Organizations, straight chiropractic is: “Correcting Vertebral Subluxations: Nothing More – Nothing Less – Nothing Else” (Position paper on, 2012). Maintaining a sound and prosperous business is much harder to today that it was during the Mercedes 80’s. Back pain is the second leading cause of physician visits and is the second most common cause of restricted activity and use of prescription and nonprescription drugs (Legorreta, Metz, Nelson, Ray, Chernicoff, & DiNubile, 2004). There are many ways in which these providers are able to maintain a healthy customer base. Some have a mixture of payment methods and fees. Time and money is often the only hindrance from someone seeking care. Some may consider it a form of charity; but it is a type of honor fee system in which a box is placed on the wall and payments are deposited. The fee is established between the customer and patient based upon the ability to pay. However, the patient is required to attend at a minimum of once each week for continued care and service. A straight chiropractor does not consider chiropractic care a complementary and alternative medicine (Redwood, Hawk, Cambron, Vinjamury, & Bedard, 2008). Many facilities are opening up that are practicing mixed methods or a one-stop shop; including methods of treatment such as acupuncture, massage therapy, homeopathy, and hypnotherapy. It may not be typical but there is a growing number of chiropractors working within a collaborative care setting (Riva, Muller, Hornich, Mior, Gupta, & Burnie, 2010). According to Hoover’s (2014) in order to receive a broader range of referrals from medical doctors, some chiropractor offices also offer traditional physical therapy. Either the chiropractor gets a physical therapy license, or the practice is shared with a physical therapy specialist. Chiropractors can also practice alongside MDs, holistic or alternative medicine practitioners, or in a hospital setting. According to a study about financial attitudes and habits of chiropractic students; (Lorence, Lawrence, Salsbury, & Goertz, 2014) 56% of all new small businesses fail within 4 years. So, how can many newly graduated straight chiropractors avoid this failure? Many of the chiropractors are no longer in it for the money but rather for the gift of healing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual wage for doctorates of chiropractic at just over $67,000 in 2010 (Lorence et al., 2014). Franchising provides a ready-source of financing, marketing, and continuing education for a new chiropractor to establish a practice, or for a seasoned DC to expand an existing business. Though individual practices still dominate the chiropractic industry, companies like The Joint…the chiropractic place are attempting to brand chiropractic on a national scale (Hoover’s, 2014). Many of these young chiropractors are finding themselves working for other low-cost providers such as The Joint…the chiropractic place. In conclusion, other than being in a prime location I would suggest that straight chiropractors stick to their core beliefs in their method of practice. Some can choose to implement a myriad of payment styles or franchise to be more profitable is they so choose. Forgoing insurance paying customers should not deter many clients due to the low-cost of monthly maintenance at many locations. I have health insurance and pay less with a monthly membership than I would if I paid a deductible for my weekly visit. |
References Chiropractors. (2014). Trends & Opportunities. Retrieved March 24, 2014, from http://subscriber.hoovers.com.ezproxy.lmunet.edu/H/industry360/trendsAndOpportunities.html?industryId=1834 Jackie, S. C. (2003, September 24). Straight vs. Mixing
Chiropractic News. Straight vs. Mixing
Chiropractic News. Retrieved March 24, 2014, from http://www.planetc1.com/search/straight-vs-mixing.html Legorreta, A. P., Metz, R., Nelson, C. F., Ray, S., Chernicoff, H., & DiNubile, N. A. (2004). Comparative Analysis of Individuals With and Without Chiropractic Coverage: Patient Characteristics, Utilization, and Costs. Archives Of Internal Medicine, 164(18), 1985-1992. Lorence, J., Lawrence, D. J., Salsbury, S. A., & Goertz, C. M. (2014). Financial attitudes, knowledge, and habits of chiropractic students: A descriptive survey. Journal of The Canadian Chiropractic Association, 58(1), 58-65. Position paper on straight chiropractic. (2012, April 8). International Federation of Chiropractors Organizations. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from http://ifcochiro.org/position-paper-on-straight-chiropractic/ Redwood, D., Hawk, C., Cambron, J., Vinjamury, S., & Bedard, J. (2008). Do Chiropractors Identify with Complementary and Alternative Medicine? Results of a Survey. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 14(4), 361-368. Riva, J. J., Muller, G. D., Hornich, A. A., Mior, S. A., Gupta, A., & Burnie, S. J. (2010). Chiropractors and collaborative care: An overview illustrated with a case report. Journal of The Canadian Chiropractic Association, 54(3), 147-154.
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