How much do you need of the almost $700 billion spent annually on wellness services and products?
What is the secret to a successful cash-based practice? As a chiropractor who has built two cash-based practices in two completely differently-cultured states, Colorado and Florida, I know it is possible to build a successful cash-based practice that is not dependent on insurance reimbursements, that provides you free time and less overhead, and where patients are happy to pay for services.
Americans in 2017 spent $3.5 trillion on health care. Of that, a little under 20 percent, or $679 billion, was spent in the health and wellness market. This equates to every person in America spending an average of $2,000 a year on health and wellness. This market includes anti-aging, beauty, fitness, healthy eating, supplementation and weight loss. This spending is in addition to what is spent on complementary and alternative medicine.
This is how people are already willingly spending their hard-earned cash. They do so because they believe whatever they may be buying will improve their overall health and wellness in some form or fashion.
A hypothetical scenario
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are new to the area and notice there are three different grocery stores close to their neighborhood. They check their insurance policy and realize that only one of the three stores is covered under their policy. They fill their cart with all they need and upon checking out they begin to separate their goods into two piles. The cashier rings up the first pile. The second pile contains their organic fruits and vegetables, non-GMO grains, bottled water and multivitamins, but before the second pile is rung up, Mr. and Mrs. Smith show their insurance card to verify their copay. To their dismay, Mr. and Mrs. Smith come to find out some of their items are no longer covered and other items needed a preauthorization. Later that evening, Mr. and Mrs. Smith are sharing their experience with their neighbor, only to hear a completely different experience. Their neighbor was able to get what he wanted, where he wanted it, just by paying for it with cash.
This begs the question, how large a slice of the $679 billion pie do you need to be successful?
Whether your practice is insurance-dependent or not, you can add some ancillary products right away that your patients are already seeking out. Your patients already love and respect you and will appreciate a safe place they already know and trust to be responsive to their needs.
Adding services and education
In 2016 sales of bottled water surpassed soda, according to the research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp. Supplements and cleaner foods can now be purchased at any grocery store. More than 65 percent of Americans take supplements daily, with 40 percent of that number taking it to effect a specific response in the body, according to a Council for Responsible Nutrition consumer survey. An increasing amount of people are buying either organic or non-GMO foods partially because they think these foods are more nutrient-dense, which is not entirely true. Nutrition is a must-have discipline for any practice.
Minerals make everything work in our body — including vitamins. Educate your patients that not only “you are what you eat,” but more so, what your body can absorb. Due to supply and demand, our foods are nutrient-deficient. The standard American diet is just that — SAD. Implementing nutrition into your practice can be intimidating. Start with a complete, well-rounded, highly-absorbable multi-mineral or multivitamin for a minimum of three months. Any nutraceutical takes six weeks to truly get to the cellular level and then another six weeks to make a physiologic change.
Battling patient repetitive stress
Another discipline is custom-stabilizing orthotics. With 50 percent of Americans experiencing a musculoskeletal condition, the need for proper balance and support for the body has never been greater. Over-the-counter insoles may initially cost less, but they only support one arch in the foot. If dysfunction is noted in either of the two remaining arches, these insoles will cause more harm than good.
The negative effect of repetitive stress on the body is something we all encounter. Gravity is constant, and with a trend focused on how many steps people get in daily, custom orthotics allow us to continually help our patients achieve a proper gait by activating the kinetic chain. In this technologically-advanced age, assessing dysfunction qualitatively and quantitatively is a powerful tool. Digital foot scanners can easily and efficiently evaluate all three arches of the foot, and allow patients to understand their imbalances and the impact on their bodies.
Remember that patients are already seeking these products and already trust and respect you. Chiropractors can be the resource for patients’ needs and can in the process gain independence from relying solely on insurance reimbursements.
Alan Smith, DC, a graduate of Parker University, operates a successful, multidisciplinary, cash-based practice in Jacksonville, Fla. Smith attributes much of his success to empowering his patients through education. He is especially passionate about preventative musculoskeletal care and the role proper foundational support plays in improving health and maintaining a pain-free lifestyle. Smith currently speaks for Foot Levelers, and can be reached at axiomwc.com.