Chiropractors are working with local businesses to secure patients and earn more
YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS RUMOR, REACHING YOUR LONG-TIME PATIENT’S HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICE THIS MORNING. It seems one of the secretaries has these funny circular bruises on her arms and shoulders. All she talked about was how wonderful her massage therapist is, and how cupping relieved her shoulder pain. Nodding, you know exactly where this is going.
Then you hear the tough question: “Why isn’t cupping covered by our insurance?” You’ve heard this one time and again: “Why isn’t chiropractic covered?” Or maybe: “Why is the adjustment covered, but the massage you want me to get not?”
More and more people want complementary and alternative medicine to fill in the gaps left by allopathic medicine. Unfortunately, chiropractic, massage and nutrition are “alternative” medicine and may not be “scientific enough” for some insurance companies. Today alternative medicine is one of the most requested and sought-out therapies not covered by insurance.
Here are some of the ways insurance companies treat alternative medicine, including occupational therapy jobs, and how it can be included in an employee’s benefits package.
Coverage of alternative and integrated medicine
Every insurance company has different views on what constitutes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Most are based on consistent treatments, scientifically-predictable results and measurable change. Only a few of the nearly 200 different registered alternative medicines have the legal and scientific basis to prove their results. And even then, the insurance companies may not cover your services.
Take chiropractic treatments, for example. In the early 1900s, the American Medical Association set out to formalize education and create standards for doctors. It sounded great until we learned that big businesses, such as those run by the Rockefellers, had a hand in dictating the type of medicine that would be promoted — pharmaceutical-based, therefore increasing their profits. It became criminal to call oneself a doctor from any other school of medicine. Millions of doctors went out of business, and whole strains of medical treatment went underground or extinct.
The resurgence of complementary and alternative medicine revived many of these techniques. Chiropractors were one of the few who led the way. Massage therapy and nutrition followed. Today’s medicine, and the insurance that pays for it, is based on metrics and profit. If it can’t be measured and replicated, you can’t predict whether it will work for somebody else and patent it. And without the ability to predict results, the insurance company loses money.
In the world of outrageous insurance costs, many DCs and independent doctors are turning to forms of payment that don’t involve insurance companies. Cash-only offices are on the rise, as are integrated wellness centers.
Engaged health care consumers want the best care at reasonable prices. Many are taking insurance companies out of the picture by working directly with doctors, using health savings accounts and using more alternative healing methods. Tapping into this emerging trend of occupational therapy jobs can be highly profitable.
Partnering with local businesses
Back pain is one of the top reasons people see a chiropractor and one of the top 10 reasons people call in sick. By working with local businesses, you can solve both problems at the same time. In older business models, it was recommended you offer discounts and specials for local businesses. Today, business demands more.
In-Office Sessions — Larger businesses are incorporating doctors’ offices and other amenities in their headquarters. They know the savings of having employees remain close to visit a doctor for minor problems and illnesses. Offer to set up sessions right in their office one day a week for a fixed price. By coming to the office, you increase the likelihood of patients coming to see you, reduce time lost at work for the employee, and can offer a discount to the business. A retainer for a set series of adjustments can make the day highly profitable and increase patient compliance.
Direct Pay Services/Subscriptions — A trend gaining popularity, and profitability, is running a subscription-like service. The business or individual pays monthly for the right to a set number of procedures or classes at your office to be used as needed. This model provides a steadier income and the service is cash-based, not based on insurance whims and reductions.
Private HSA for Alternative Medicine Use — Today many employers are creating Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for their employees. HSAs can be used to help save money on any health-related items including things that are usually not included in insurances. Things like massage therapy, diet, nutrition, chiropractic, herbal medicine, supplements and much less common forms of treatment can be paid for with the HSA. As the DC, you can charge the HSA directly, allowing your patient to have the ease of no payment on the day of treatment.
Integrative wellness services
How many of your fellow chiropractors offer nutrition and supplements? Many DCs rely on supplements for weight loss and massage for additional patient benefit and income. But, this can be more. Reiki, detox and physical therapists are services that can work holistically with chiropractic.
Developing a treatment plan with your patients precedes any adjustments and may require more than just your therapies. Many people need to lose weight. Having a nutritionist, exercise therapist, yoga classes and more in your office increases patient compliance and revenue. In the 2019 survey conducted by Chiropractic Economics magazine, 27% of chiropractors said they are part of a multidisciplinary center (and earn more in salary).
Some insurance companies are covering these extra services. But a more profitable route is working with local businesses to pay for a “package deal.” Either through subscription-type services or in-office sessions, you can make it easy for the company to have healthy and fit employees and save money on insurance costs.
Chiropractors of the future are not solo practitioners, working in a bubble of seeing whoever decides to visit. Instead, they are proactive, business-oriented wellness professionals who connect with other businesses to provide top-quality services without insurance complications. They work with other disciplines to create total packages for health and fitness. As people take back control of their health and insurance needs, they seek out those doctors who can fix the problem at a minimal cost and offer the best support. It’s up to you to fill their needs.
JOSH LUKE, PhD, is a hospital CEO, celebrated keynote speaker, award-winning futurist, LinkedIn Influencer, faculty member at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, founder of the not-for-profit Health-Wealth and author of a number of best-selling No. 1 books on Amazon. For more information, please visit DrJoshLuke.com.