Following the dental model’s cash payments for small business patient formula
There was such a passionate, profound and resounding response to our Chiropractic Economics article (Issue 1, 2022), The Chiro-Dental Success Formula, that like any Academy Awards movie, the requests for a follow-up sequel were heard. As many of you know, the subject of cash payments for small business is near and dear to my heart. We have two sons: one a recent dental school graduate and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), and one son who has one final year to graduate chiropractic college (DC).
Yes, the future is amazingly bright for both as well as for you, doctor, if you follow some of the guidance below, working with these three vital tools:
1. Educational tools
Most patients are visual learners. Since the dental profession has mastered the “Phases of Tooth Decay” patient communication process, we knew that as chiropractors, the educational trail had already been blazed.
So many dentists have become great communicators in showing and explaining the dental decay process. That’s the process of cavity to crown to root canal to tooth extraction to finally a dental implant — with each phase creating a higher level of service and income. So many chiropractors have now become better communicators of showing and explaining the “Phases of Spinal Decay,” or the process of subluxation to degeneration to disc bulging to disc herniation. That last phase, “disc herniation,” is often the diagnosis that positions a patient as a potential candidate for back surgery.
The message is simple. Utilize the “Phases of Tooth and Spinal Decay” analogy poster (below). Not only do we feature it as wall posters in our clinics, but we also include it as an insert in our new-patient package folders. This way our patients can share it with their friends, coworkers or families.
One of the greatest tools for both dentists and chiropractors alike is the digital X-ray. It is often underutilized to its full potential as an educational tool.
It was James Parker, DC, who said so eloquently, “To see is to know and not to see is to guess.” The dental profession has also been the beneficiary of another simple, yet powerful diagnostic tool and that is the “intro-oral camera.” Once dental patients can see the buildup of calculi, periodontal disease and structural damage, they most likely will understand the need to protect their gums and their oral cavity.
Chiropractors have another tool at arm’s length. That tool is an MRI.
The chiropractors who prescribe MRIs to diagnose a damaged spinal disc (prolapse-protrusion-herniated or sequestered disc) are delivering a much higher standard of care to their patients. These patients are prime candidates for nonsurgical spinal decompression. Yes, preventing your patients from having to deal with dangerous opioids, risky epidural injections and often unnecessary back surgeries is the highest level of what a great chiropractor provides. Remember, exceeding the “standard of care” positions you to provide the highest level of patient care.
3. The financials: cash payments for small business
The dental practice predominantly operates with the cash payments for small business model. Patients are paying for most of their dental care with cash, check, credit card or patient financing.
Patients love choices, but more than that they love knowing they found the right doctor, with the right treatment, who has the right potential to provide the right result. The chiropractic profession has now followed this model better than expected. Since so many chiropractors have had a predominantly insurance-driven practice, the best chiropractors learned that providing better non-insurance payment in a cash payments for small business model is really a matter of medical necessity, consistent with the economics of our times.
These cash payments for small business models must always include the prescribed number of visits, exactly what treatments are included in the care plan and the costs involved. This must be presented to patients in written form. This is consistent with the “No Surprises Act” and is perfectly in “alignment” with the new state and federal requirements now mandated (see Chiropractic Economics, Issue 5, 2022).
Yes, the futures of both the chiropractic and the dental profession are greater than ever with better practice and business tools, creating many more successful doctor-patient relationships and long-term practice success.
PERRY BARD, DC, is co-CEO and president of DISC Centers of America, the largest group of nonsurgical spinal decompression centers in the world. A 1986 graduate of Life College, he is a state and chiropractic university CEU national lecturer. He serves as co-chairman of The International DISC Education Association (IDEA). He can be reached at 888-990-9660, by email at email@example.com or at TheChiroEvent.com.