A Different Way

to look at Life, Health, Business and Politics

Better – Faster – Cheaper

Posted by Marietta chiropractor on September 17, 2008

One of my major chiropractic influences has always advocated a volume practice.  But, he always warned us that chiropractic could also be a difficult career path, at times.  His admonition was to always be looking for opportunities to serve and to tell others about the benefits of chiropractic care.

My mentor was from another time, a time prior to insurance where a consumer’s only reluctance was due to ignorance or outright lies about chiropractic from the medical establishment.  Then, the message was fairly simple, “Chiropractic is better, it’s faster and it’s cheaper” than other approaches to health problems that had failed so many health consumers.  And, at that time, there was no such thing as third party reimbursement.  No “health” insurance, no Medicare, no nothin’.  Huge practices were built simply by referral, education and, obviously, results.

Many of my chiropractor friends that had practiced prior to the coming of insurance reimbursement for chiropractic care lament the days when folks gladly paid cash for their care BECAUSE they knew their problem would be dealt with WITHOUT a whole lot of nonsense like they had come to expect at their “other” doctor’s office.  They also knew that if chiropractic care could help them, the results would show up pretty quickly and that it would not cost them an arm and a leg.

While many chiropractors that love the principle of innate healing and the power of the chiropractic adjustment, the reality of student loans, financial overhead and sometimes easy payment from insurance companies, we’ve become (as a profession) guilty of essentially medicalizing chiropractic.  We’ve taken a very simple concept of reducing nerve interference and turned it into some sort of treatment regimen.  And while a chiropractic problem (if left unresolved) may eventually BECOME a medical problem, it is now used to scare people into care.

Early chiropractors desired to make the “one” adjustment that permanently corrected a person’s problem forever.  While that’s certainly a noble desire, today’s stressful world does make that almost impossible.  However, chiropractic pioneers offered a revolutionary concept of empowering folks to be as healthy as possible and less dependent on ANY sort of doctor, chiropractors included.  One famous chiropractor had a saying, “Find it.  Fix it.  Leave it alone.”  The whole premise was to fix the problem and not screw it up by doing anything more.  Good advice, indeed.

There are (at least) two approaches in chiropractic today that really bother me.  They both are based in the concept of “exhaustion of benefits”, even more evidence of the medicalization of chiropractic.  With one approach, HMO and PPO providers will see you as few times as possible and bill for everything the insurance company will pay them.  The other suggests a care plan with a huge number of visits, showing how much your insurance will pay, then allowing you to make payments on the balance.  Both of these are heavily oriented towards a mechanistic approach and diminishes the true value of chiropractic as a simple, safe and affordable means toward better health and living.

Wouldn’t it be better to see LOTS of people INSTEAD of seeing people lots?  If people KNEW they could go to a chiropractor and feel better and function better and NOT EVEN have to use their insurance, wouldn’t ALL chiropractors AND the public benefit so much more?

My chiropractic mentor (one of many, actually) often said “You’ve gotta always market yourself BECAUSE people get better!”  I long for the days when chiropractors strove to empty the hospitals and prisons and fill the churches and synagogues because people wanted to live better lives and chose chiropractic as a vehicle to help them do so.

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4 Responses to “Better – Faster – Cheaper”

  1. Rachael said

    Thanks for the information…I bookmarked your site, and I appreciate your time and effort to make your blog a success!

  2. Leslie said

    Wow, this is a great post. Chiropractic care should really be viewed as a first line of care as well as a preventative option to help prevent the onset of illness. It is discouraging to see how things have changed over the years.

  3. drtim said

    Thanks, Leslie. While I would LOVE for folks to make sure their nervous system is clear BEFORE seeking any outside-in approach to dealing with a health problem, it may take some time to accomplish that. In the meantime, we will have to settle for being the “doctor of last resort”. Thanks again for the note.

    Dr. T!m

  4. Dr. Robert said

    Every time the phone rings and someone’s first question is, “Do you take my insurance?” I know that people’s priorities are scrambled. I would hope their first question would be, “Can you help me?” Isn’t that the point?

    People have unconsciously subjugated themselves to their insurance coverage. It’s a lot easier to free people when they know they are in bondage.

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