Becoming a primary spine care provider in today’s changing marketplace and chiropractic personal injury
PERSONAL INJURY IN THE CHIROPRACTIC PROFESSION is perhaps the “surest” avenue to earn a significant income. It is a relatively stable economy, making it worthwhile to devote your practice to accident victims. However, chiropractic personal injury is a changing market-place that requires constant vigilance and ever-increasing credentials to keep up with the demands of the courts and increasing scientific findings.
It is also an industry that is fraught with “get-rich-quick programs” that have left too many as victims. In 2019, no differently than in the past, it requires changes in how doctors of chiropractic will need to function in the personal-injury marketplace to thrive.
Developing a personal-injury practice
Historically, doctors have taken lawyers to breakfast, lunches and dinners, handed out newsletters, flyers and research, and referred patients to lawyers hoping all of the above will realize a steady stream of personal injury cases from the legal community. If all of the above worked, then why doesn’t everyone have a big personal injury practice?
Approximately 2-3 years ago the “colossus” [personal-injury calculating] wave hit the chiropractic profession and was supposed to be the next “sure thing” for personal injury referrals. As with all get-rich-quick schemes, this too has failed as expected, which has been verified by the dozens of calls I get monthly from disappointed doctors who acknowledge they will never realize the return on their investment.
Every action above has a small place in the overall strategy of chiropractic personal injury practice. Furthermore, with the understanding that colossus is critically essential to a personal injury practice, like all other pieces it is just that — one piece that cannot be relied on as a stand-alone to ensure a successful personal injury practice.
A significant part of the problem is that all of the above action steps are “lawyer-centric.” The business strategy for 2019 and the surest avenue to success in personal injury based upon our market research is to become a primary spine care provider. Primary spine care simply means you are the first referral option, not just for lawyers, but MD primary care providers, MD specialists, urgent care centers and emergency rooms. To be a successful primary spine care provider your chiropractic degree is where you start, and your continuing education and ensuing credentials are the pathway toward those referrals.
When looking at lawyers, the problem many have in accepting your referrals is they are then “saddled” with you and your lack of credentials (as a rule). Understand that we are a country of laws that are defined by the courts and personal injury more so than any other financial class, and the chiropractic marketplace is redefined daily in the courtroom. Lawyers realize this and judge you by their end game: the witness stand, although they know you are almost never going to get there.
Therefore, a lawyer’s hard rule is not to start with you if they cannot finish with you (again, they know you will hardly if ever get to the witness stand but judge you accordingly anyway).
Colossus and fancy dinners do nothing to create relationships with the other four referral sectors: MD primary care providers, MD specialists, urgent care centers and emergency rooms. This requires formal credentials that are recognized by both chiropractic and medical academia to create a “peer relationship” with the above-referring entities. The type of credentials required at a minimum are MRI spine interpretation, spinal biomechanical engineering, stroke analysis and connective tissue pathology, which will then allow you to function at a peer level clinically and often place you in the position of an educator.
It is this type of relationship that creates a paradigm shift in the eyes of the medical community that will ensure perpetual referrals because you will become the solution to problems in their practices and institutions. Never lose sight of the fact that medicine considers the majority of back pain nonspecific and mechanical versus anatomical (fracture, tumor or infection) and has significantly contributed to the opiate epidemic as a result.
Therefore, medicine is actively searching for solutions beyond allopathy as they are starting to realize they have no solutions and physical therapy is failing (well-documented). Currently, there is a void in both clinical and academic medicine to help practitioners treat non-specific back pain, which is the fifth most common diagnosis in primary care medicine today. That void can be filled by practitioners who have the necessary clinical knowledge combined with the credentials the medical community needs to succeed in the courts.
Voir dire or Daubert
When you combine the necessity for clinical knowledge and credentials in the medical community with the needs of the courts, they intersect on a legal requirement called Voir Dire or Daubert.
Those are legal standards required for a doctor or any specialist to be considered an expert and have their opinions be admitted in court.
Therefore, it all goes back to your credentials and knowledge with your formal curriculum vitae, which is a legal document certifying that you
are an expert. That is the basis for a successful chiropractic personal injury practice in 2019. Also, the documentation requirements have become much more acute in being thorough and accurate for both the courts and collaborating with medical specialists.
Once you have the credentials and the documentation, you will better understand how to triage and collaborate with medical specialists
based upon clinical necessity. After that has occurred, all that is left is for you to either acquire or develop a business strategy to ensure that your referral sources understand that you are a primary spine care provider and solution to their business, and get them to run after you.
MARK STUDIN, DC, is an adjunct associate professor of chiropractic at the University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic; adjunct professor at Cleveland University – Kansas City, College of Chiropractic; and adjunct professor of Clinical Sciences at Texas Chiropractic College. He is the president of the Academy of Chiropractic, teaching doctors of chiropractic and interfacing with the medical and legal communities (DoctorsPIprogram.com). He can be reached at DrMark@AcademyOfChiropractic.com or at 631-786-4253.