SURVEY DEFINITIONS Figures calculated by average or mean were achieved by dividing proportionately the total number of respondents per question. Medians were determined by calculating the middle number or range. Percentages are based of the total number of respondents.
Welcome to Chiropractic Economics’ first annual salary and expense survey! We are proud to present this enlightening, comprehensive salary and expense survey for the chiropractic profession. We’re especially pleased with the willingness of our readers to share their private financial information and take time away from their busy practices to thoroughly complete our inquiry.
We surmise response to this first survey was excellent due to genuine interest in a true comparison of earnings and expenses with other chiropractors. In fact, surveys are still flooding our office as of this writing; however, in the interest of printing the results in this edition, only surveys received from January through March of 1998 have been tabulated here.
Upon receipt of all returned surveys, we will publish a complete analysis by an industry expert in a future edition. This report will compare our statistical results with the American Chiropractic Association’s “1998 Statistical Survey on the Chiropractic Practice.” According to the ACA, the 1998 results are due to be released this summer. In the meantime, we will offer a comparison, where applicable, of our responses with the American Chiropractic Association’s “Summary of the 1995 ACA Annual Statistical Survey on Chiropractic Practice,” by Christine Goertz, DC. Published in the June, 1996, Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, this summary is, to the best of our knowledge, the most recent published data available by a national chiropractic organization.
Chiropractic Economics’ survey was sent to recipients of the January/February and March/April 1998 editions of Chiropractic Economics magazine. Following is a summary of demographic dataplus practice stats, staff, income, expenses and personal data. The survey also includes information on the impact of managed care, multi-disciplines and retail products on the chiropractic practice. Information derived from this survey will be used in future articles and to help determine topics of interest to our readers. Those who are interested in additional information about this survey may contact Chiropractic Economics’ Business and Editorial Office. Thank you to everyone who participated!
Gender, Age, Number of Years in Practice
Virtually all respondents, 99%, are Doctors of Chiropractic; one-half percent are retired and one half percent are office personnel. Twelve percent of survey respondents are female and 88% are male. These percentages are the same as those found in many other surveys, including previous ACA surveys. The ages of respondents ranged from 24 to 76, with an average age of 41, which is similar to the ACA’s average age of 44. The breakdown by age is 14% under age 30; 23% ages 31-38; 34% 39-45; 22% 46-55 and 7% are ages 56 and up. Average length of time spent practicing is 12.6 years, compared to the ACA’s 16 years. Respondents reported that 76% are married, with 9% married to a DC and 31% married to a staff member.
Years in practice: 12.6
Number of hours worked: 30-39
Number of staff: 2.83
Patient visits per week: 114 per chiropractor
Clinics owned: 1.1
Type of Practice: Solo
Most universal accepted payment: Cash
Spouse a DC also: 9%
Spouse a staff member: 31%
Income: our survey vs ACA survey
Our average gross income: $150-249,000
ACA average gross income: $225,783
Our average DC net income: $60-74,900
ACA average DC net income: $93,956
Number of Hours, Additional Activities
Almost all respondents practice full-time with 6% putting in more than 50 hours a week; 25% working 40-49 hours; a full 50% practice 30-39 hours; 15%, 20-29 hours and only 4% put in under 20 hours. The ACA’s mean number of hours worked per week is 42. Respondents also engage in additional activities, including 8% who consult with business or industry, 4% lecture or give seminars, 54% retail products through their practice and 2% teach at a college or school. The ACA survey reported 1% teach at a chiropractic college. Other activities include conducting Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) and Department of Transportation (DOT) exams.
Principle Form of Employment
Solo, Group, Multi-Discipline
Eighty-six percent consider themselves solo practitioners compared to 76% of ACA practitioners. One twist is 64% of Chiropractic Economics’ practitioners are truly solo while another 22% practice solo, and have integrated other disciplines. Twelve percent are part of a group or have partners and 2% reported being employed by a DC. This is compared to the ACA’s 20.6% who are part of a group and 2.5% who are employed by another chiropractor. Of the 22% with multi-disciplinary practices, 3% have an MD or DO; 18% offer massage therapy; 5% offer rehabilitation and 5% indicate a dietician/nutrition. Other disciplines mentioned include acupuncture, physical therapy and exercise instruction.
Patient Visit Average, Number of New Patients
An average of 114 patient visits (PVA) per week are the norm for individual respondents; lower than the ACA’s average 121 weekly patient visits. However, respondents estimated 120 patient visits on average for their clinics. The mean number of new patients per week is 5.36; very similar to the ACA’s results of just under six new patients in 1995.
Number of Doctors, Clinics, Staff
Chiropractic Economics’ practitioners own an average of 1.1 clinics and have an average of 1.24 doctors in their group. They estimate a median of 8 clinics within a five mile radius of their clinic. The mean number of full-time employees in each office is 2.83. The ACA’s average number of chiropractic assistants in 1995 was slightly under two.
Fees and Income
Sources of Revenue
Ninety-two percent of all respondents accept the following sources of revenue, in descending order: cash, 97%; auto insurance, 92%; private insurance, 91%; Medicare, 86%; workers’ compensation, 83%; managed care, 65% and Medicaid, 36%.
Of the 54% who receive income from retail products, the products offered are: pillows, 82%; orthotic supports, 77%; nutritional products, 75%; topical creams/ointments, 49% and weight management products, 17%. Other products mentioned include Chinese herbs, health books and videos, homeopathic remedies, ice packs, orthopedic supplies, sleep systems, rehab and exercise products. Respondents listed additional sources of professional income as rent from massage therapy and deposition fees.
A full 65% of respondents participate in at least one HMO, PPO or IPAcomprising a majority of our survey practitioners. Statistics from the 1995 ACA survey are not available for comparison; however, this number is up considerably from Chiropractic Economics’ 1997 Man-aged Care Survey in which 35% indicated they were in a chiropractic or medical network such as an IPA, MSA or group without walls.
Practice and Staff Expenses
Respondents reported spending an average of $82,385 on their practice’s expenses, including the following, in descending order: miscellaneous expenses such as utilities, phone and dues, $16,288; office space, $15,474; business supplies, $9,618; student loan payments, $8,077; advertising/marketing, $7,730; equipment leases, $5,477; practice management consultants, $5,105; medical equipment/repairs, $3,493; continuing education/professional travel, $3,261; other professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, etc., $2,751; computers/software, $2,693; and malpractice insurance, $2,418.
Staff expenses included gross amounts averaging $273,727 for salaries/bonuses and retirement plans for respondents and employees. The breakdown averaged as follows: Doctors of Chiropractic, $74,075; CAs/staff, $40,925; Associates, $66,266; and MDs/ LMTs/ PTs, $92,461.
Gr3oss and Net Income
By Region, Age, Gender, Multi-Group Specialty, and Managed Care Participation
Income for this portion of the survey was compiled based on specified ranges, rather than individual figures. The median gross income reported by 1998 survey respondents was in the range of $150,000 to $249,000; individual median net income was reported to be in the $60,000 to $74,900 range. This compares to the ACA’s average gross income in 1995 of $225,783 and individual net income of $93,956.
Gross and Net Income by Region
Respondents in the Eastern region of the United States reported the highest net income with a median range of $75,000 to $89,900. The median net income range for the Midwest, West and South was $60,000 to $74,900. Median gross income for all regions fell into $150,000 to $249,000 range.
Gross and Net Income by Age
Age is a factor for survey participants under 30 who reported a median net income range of $30,000 to $44,900, compared to a high of $75,000 to $89,900 for respondents aged 39-45. The other groups netted a median of $60,000 to $74,900, including age ranges 31-38, 46-55 and 56 and up. The median gross income was $150,000 to $249,000 for all age groups with the exception of 56 and up, whose median gross was $100,000 to $149,000.
Gross and Net Income by Gender
Females fall behind when it comes to median net income, with $30,000 to $44,900, compared to males who earn $60,000 to $74,900. Gross median income remained the same for both groups at $150,000 to $249,000.
Gross and Net Income by Specialty
No surprises in this category; groups and partnerships and those employed by DC’s fell into the $250,00 to $349,000 median gross income range. Net income for groups/partnerships was higher with a median of $75,000 to $89,900. All others: solo, solo with multi-discipline and those employed by DCs who had a gross median of $150,000 to $249,000 and net median of $60,000 to $74,900.
Gross and Net Income by Managed Care Participation
Although the administrative costs tend to be higher, managed care has not produced any more income than for those who are not involved. Gross and net income for both groups was in the median ranges of $150,000 to $249,000 and $60,000 to $74,900 respectively