Do You Treat Insurance or Patients?

I believe this profession is on the verge of great things.  We have languished on the fringes of healthcare for far too long, and I feel that in the next 20 years our utilization rates will skyrocket as the public realizes the good we do for humanity.  Part of mu optimism is due to the fact that never before has it been this easy to communicate a story and to effectively market yourself.

For example, I just paid $0.01 per video view for a Facebook video ad.  Although I haven’t seen any new patients come directly from that video it has garnered 3,000 video views.  That’s amazing.  Think of the positive exposure that has brought to my clinic. Thanks to social media and the internet we have an amazing opportunity to spread the word about what we do and to gain acceptance.

Let’s not screw it up.

My goal with this blog is to elevate the profession of chiropractic.  I have made a lot of mistakes in my ten-year journey to having a successful practice.  I want help other chiropractors by making their journey a little easier.

Sometimes that requires tough love like my “Chiropractic Marketing Sucks” series or my post about the subluxation.  Today I want to talk about something I hear about all the time from patients and even chiropractors themselves;  treating patient’s insurances instead of the patients.  What I mean by this is letting the insurance company dictate care instead of the patients needs.  It is morally reprehensible and needs to stop.

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Two Stories

It is our job to recommend everything the patient needs.  Not one visit more or less than we think  is necessary.  We need to recommend services even if the insurance doesn’t cover them and let the patient decide if they will have them.  Sadly I have seen firsthand and heard countless other second stories of clinics where this was not the case.

1. My externship in chiropractic college was at a clinic in Southern Minnesota.  This clinic was obsessed with keeping their numbers down so they could get their withhold and bonus amounts back from the state’s largest insurer.  (This insurer has since discontinued this plan, thankfully.)

It didn’t matter if they came in with minor low back pain, or excruciating sciatic leg pain, the initial patient visit always went like this:  brief exam, quick adjustment, maybe a therapy, and the advice to follow up in a week if they still had pain.

The problem with this is that many people didn’t get the help they needed.  They would come back a month later in worse shape, give up on chiropractic, or worse end up with surgery (I know this last part because I work in the same town and have had patients tell me this all this time about their experience at this clinic).  Plus there was a huge double standard, the clinic rolled out the red carpet of therapies and follow-up recommendations if you had the “right” insurance namely PI or work comp.

2. I was at a health fair at a local college a few years ago and ran into another DC from my town that was in attendance.  We hit it off pretty well and started to “talk shop.”  Somehow the discussion of that withhold and bonus system mentioned above came up.  He said to stay in network and get his bonus he “Just sees Blue Cross patients a little less at the end of the year.”

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I almost don’t want to put this post out there for potential public consumption but people already know this.  I have heard so many stories like from patients and my own family that I know it’s an issue we have to deal with.

So there it is.  A little tough love to my beloved profession.  What are your thoughts?

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anthony Rojo

    Sad that chiropractors sell their souls to insurance companies – its the section 9 for chiro’s. Im not sure why anyone would deal with insurance companies in the first place. By not dealing w insurance companies and their BS, only then can you help your community!

    • I do take insurance as a service to my patients but I make it clear what is covered and what isn’t and the insurance companies motivation vs. mine. Most people get it. With today’s rising co pays and deductibles taking insurance is becoming less of an issue anyway. Have you done insurance in the past, or have you always been cash?

      As always thanks for reading sir!

      • Anthony Rojo

        I started out as a cash only TOR- I have never seen an insurance form. I only have a vague idea of how insurance even works.-

        • I am not a TOR or a “medipractor” either. I fall somewhere in between. I do insurance as a service to my patients. It’s a headache but they appreciate it.

          • Anthony Rojo

            And you are serving your community with chiropractic! I love what you are doing – keep up the great work! I love and appreciate you brother!