If you walk out to your waiting room during your busiest times, what do you see? People Right?
And, depending of the size of your practice, maybe you see five patients or maybe you see 20. All in all, though, you see individuals.
Well, what if you walked out and saw entire companies of people? For instance, what if you saw the line workers from the local factory or the drivers from the trucking company down the road? What do you think that would do to your bottom line?
In a basic sense, chiropractic involves working with your patients and their families one-on-one to prevent, identify, and treat musculoskeletal issues so they can live healthier and higher-quality lives. But there is a way for you to reach even more people (and increase your revenue), by expanding your practice to include business clients. Your business-to-business (B2B) customers can be among your very best.
There are a number of avenues available if you choose to take this route, some of which deal with corporate wellness and others that involve more industrial consulting. The following are among the most popular options.
DOT medical examiner
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMV)—such as those who drive trucks, school buses, and multipassenger vehicles—must get a medical exam every two years.1 Additionally, drivers with conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes need to be seen more often because the FMCSA requires that these individuals be re-examined on an annual basis. This creates a recurring stream of clients, each of whom cannot work without the document you can provide following a roughly 15-minute appointment.
Although doctors of medicine may typically be the first ones that pop into most people’s minds when they think of a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical exam provider, Michael Megehee, DC, a member of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), feels that is about to change. “I predict in 10 years chiropractors will be the dominant providers [of DOT medical exams],” he says. That makes this a great time to enter the field and begin providing this type of service. (Note: Megehee also says at this time Michigan, Virginia, and Washington do not currently allow DCs to provide DOT medical exams.)
The reason chiropractors do well when offering DOT physicals, according to Megehee, is twofold. First, you have low overhead. Second, you generally have greater appointment availability, often being able to squeeze clients in the same day. This can be extremely valuable to people who drive for a living and aren’t really sure when they’ll be home, and to those who have let their certification lapse and need to update it immediately to continue working.
To become certified as a medical examiner, the training ranges from eight to 12 hours of online coursework, after which you must take and pass a certification test. Megehee reports that this test isn’t always easy for chiropractors but it is possible, especially if you put in a couple weeks of study time beforehand to make sure you know the required information. Additionally, if you choose to add this service to your existing business, you have to engage in refresher training every five years and retest every 10.
You can also add to your DOT services by engaging in additional training that allows you to offer DOT alcohol or drug testing. This would establish you as a full-service DOT provider, putting you in a position to help people whose livelihoods depend on their ability to drive and helping them get all of the paperwork they need in one convenient place. Some chiropractors have been so successful with providing DOT medical exams and add-on services that they now do them full-time.
To get DOT clients in the door once you’re certified, Megehee recommends putting a sign both outside and inside your office that indicates you supply these types of physicals. After all, your community needs to know that you
offer this service. Plus, if you have clients who are drivers or own trucking companies, make sure they know you do medical exams. A pre-established relationship makes it easier to get business.
Also, depending on who certifies you, some training facilities help connect you with new clients. For instance, one has an app that drivers download to help them find the nearest DOT medical examiner (it could be you). It also reminds them when their certification is ready to expire, prompting them to schedule an appointment.
Regarding the type of DC who excels in this field, Megehee says this is a great opportunity for chiropractors who have a broader understanding of medical conditions outside the neuromuscular system. New chiropractors just entering the field may actually be well-suited in this area given today’s rigorous school curricula.
Additionally, it helps to be open to communicating with other medical professionals. With DOT exams, you are the lead doctor in cases that require contacting other physicians to help a person pass his or her exam, so you need to be comfortable doing that.
Injury prevention specialist
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there are 1.2 million days spent away from work every year due to work-related injuries and illnesses.2 A second option for growing your practice with corporate clients is related to the 33 percent of these injuries that are musculoskeletal in nature, with the hardest hit professions being nursing assistants, laborers, tractor-trailer truck drivers, and material movers. Between time off work and the associated medical expenses, these workers’ compensation claims cost companies $170 billion per year.3
You can help local businesses lower these claims and the amount of money being paid, thus saving them a tremendous amount by providing services as an injury prevention specialist. Dennis Downing, CEO of Future Industrial Technologies, indicates that these types of services are currently being used by major companies like United Airlines and Whole Foods Market.
According to Downing, the biggest obstacle when it comes to preventing injuries on the job is getting the workers interested in performing their functions safely. Essentially, the employees have to want to change their actions to create a safer work environment. This issue has been a huge stumbling block for businesses striving to lower their workers’ compensation claims, and an issue that Downing’s firm teaches chiropractors to help companies overcome.
To become certified as an injury prevention specialist, you must attend a training session which, in Downing’s case, is four days long. In addition to learning how to teach employees what to do and inspire them to do it, you also gain the knowledge necessary to best approach local businesses and market yourself.
Downing reports that several chiropractors have made a lucrative living as injury prevention specialists, with some offering this service full- time. He also states that being involved in this type of consulting is “extremely rewarding both professionally and financially, but it isn’t something to figure out yourself.”
Therefore, when choosing a training agency, you want to select one that helps get you moving in the right direction with your marketing. For instance, Downing’s company directly connects its certified practitioners with contract opportunities in their area. It also gives them the marketing tools they’ll need to find businesses on their own.
If you have a passion and desire to teach others, then Downing suggests becoming an injury prevention specialist may be a good way to grow your practice and gain corporate clients.
Those who like to help people using their problem-solving skills may find it to be a natural fit, while it’s something that may take some practice for DCs accustomed to relying heavily on their hands for guidance.
Post-offer pre-employment testing
A third way to expand your chiropractic business and enter B2B servicing is to provide post-offer pre-employment testing to local companies. Essentially, this involves performing a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) on a company’s prospective employees to determine whether there are any musculoskeletal issues that would prevent them from safely and effectively doing their jobs. This occurs in a 30- minute-or-less session that generally requires tools you likely already have on hand, such as an evaluation table, blood pressure cuff, and grip and pinch tools.
Larry Feeler, CEO and founder of WorkSTEPS, says that his father ran into this issue in his own pipeline construction and fabrication business.
All too often he would hire someone only to have an open workers’ compensation claim shortly afterward, which apparently is somewhat common. Feeler reports that currently one out of 14 fail the pre-employment testing he conducts.
Additionally, by engaging in this type of testing, a company has a record of where an individual was functionally when they began working. This is hugely important in cases of workers’ compensation when the company continues to pay until a person is able to return to his or her pre-injury status. And, as Feeler points out, “If it’s not measured, it doesn’t exist.”
For example: If a worker starts with only 60-percent functionality of an injured area and there is no measurement of it recorded, workers’ compensation will expect the company to pay to get the employee back to 100-percent functionality—or a level close to it. But if there were a record that the person’s ability to perform certain movements or functions was severely limited prior to the injury occurring, then that is the level they would need to reach during the workers’ compensation phase, thus potentially saving the company substantial expense and lowering the amount of time spent off work.
Training for this type of service generally consists of a two-day live training session followed by annual recertification that can often be done online. Also, you’ll want to check with the certification company you chose to determine what help, if any, they provide in getting you clients. For instance, some will match you with local clients who are requesting these types of services, and they’ll even help support you if you have clients of your own.
Feeler reports that most chiropractors currently conducting post- offer pre-employment training do so part-time. But if you add this service to other B2B offerings, such as providing DOT medical exams, you can help business owners on a multitude of levels, establishing yourself as their one-and-only provider.
Avenues for servicing the businesses in your area are all around you, and these are just three you may find of interest. No matter which you choose, one thing is certain: Providing B2B services can help you reach more individuals—and earn more money—making it a safe bet to grow your practice in multiple ways.
Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness and business marketing. She currently writes for ChiroNexus as well as other health-related publications. She can be contacted through christinamdebusk.com.
1 FMCSA. “For how long is my medical certificate valid?” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/faq/how-long-my-medical-certificate-valid. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
2 BLS. “Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2013.” United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh2.nr0.htm. Released Dec. 16, 2014. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
3 OSHA. “Safety and Health Add Value…” Occupational Safety & Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/safety-health-addvaue.html. Updated Aug. 17, 2015. Accessed August 6, 2015.