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Posts Tagged ‘vitalistic’

Dire Warning to Chiropractic Students!

Posted by Marietta chiropractor on February 28, 2011

It’s about time somebody got real with chiropractic students.  The cost of chiropractic education has skyrocketed over the last two decades while the quality and scope of that education has declined significantly. The likelihood of you being successful in practice has been severely diminished BECAUSE of your education.

Graduating chiropractors now leave school with student loan debt in excess of $200,000 while most new graduates don’t even understand the history and basic principles of their profession.  In fact, many graduate not even believing in the merits of chiropractic care.  By the time many have graduated, they’ve applied more physical therapy modalities than they have chiropractic adjustments.  Some are even afraid to adjust the one area that EVERY person should have checked on EVERY chiropractic visit, the upper cervical spine.

This current model of chiropractic education is borne out of the Napoleonic Complex of many in the profession and fueled by “insurance parity” gained in the 60’s and 70’s.  On one hand, you had those chiropractors of the “We’re real doctors, too!” mindset trying to gain equal status with MDs.  On the other, was the group that wanted to broaden the profession’s scope of practice to enable chiropractors to be able to bill for more services in the loose (at the time) third-party reimbursement environment.  As time passed, those groups gained power in the profession and influenced the education to a purely mechanistic model of practice while assaulting those schools that dared offer a choice to the aspiring chiropractic student.

Those chiropractors graduating today will encounter a market totally different that the one that existed when they entered chiropractic school.  third-party reimbursement for chiropractic services has all but vanished.  What is there is so far out of reach that chiropractors must get very creative in their billing practices to access any of those monies.  That practice alone has tarnished the image of the profession even more.  The realities of the market are that “health” insurance is almost too expensive to buy and too selective to use with extremely high deductibles and copays.  And on top of it all, the profession now has the highest student loan default rate of any of the health professions.

Oddly, there’s a branch of the profession that appears to be doing well and making a remarkable resurgence even in the face of massive student loans and the loss of third-party reimbursement.  That end of the profession that still adheres to the founding principles of the profession seem to be thriving.  Their offices are filling with people seeking a different approach than the allopathic, therapeutic approach to mere symptom relief to the vitalistic approach of locating and correcting vertebral subluxation, the ONLY thing that ONLY chiropractors (well most chiropractors, anyway) are specifically trained to do.

Faced with the disappearance of third-party pay and the reality of massive student loan debt, the chiropractor of the future will have even FEWER options for practice.  Graduates could get a job as an associate for an already successful practitioner,  get a job as a  public school science teacher or start their own practice.  Few existing practitioners will pay a graduating chiropractor what their teachers have told them they’re worth.  A degree and a license adds nothing to your worth, only to your opportunity.  Teaching public school might offer some benefits and job security.  But even that is questionable in this economic environment.

The only real choice for new chiropractors for success in making a decent living and ever paying off their student loans is to open and operate a high volume, low overhead, cash practice based on those principles on which the chiropractic profession was originally founded.  As I see it, there are simply no other alternatives.

What would this kind of practice look like?  Fees would be lower because chiropractors would now be competing for consumers’ disposable income (which they really always have) instead of getting on insurance companies preferred provider lists.  Care plans would either need to be compact and specific AND understandable OR variation of unlimited care plans which allow the greatest flexibility for both the customer and the chiropractor.  Both alternatives allow the consumer to get the most care at the lowest total cost possible.  The latter approach would enable the new chiropractor to build their volume and income as quickly as possible while providing a long-term stable and predictable  income.

Chiropractic’s educational hierarchy has let both its customer base (students and graduates) down, but has also endangered both the chiropractic profession and the American taxpayer who underwrites all those student loans.  And in the end, will cause the closing of several chiropractic schools because of the lack of focus on chiropracTIC principles and practices.

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