Whether the American people wanted it or not, the U.S. Congress has passed President Obama’s long awaited healthcare bill. But what does it mean for us chiropractors? How will it affect our lives?
Many of these questions will take time to answer, since the bill is massive and it’s doubtful the word “chiropractor” is mentioned too often. But for those who take insurance, your office will have to spend more time and money to figure out the changes you’ll need to make.
Let’s look at 2 certainties that will come of this…
#1. If you are successful in your business, you’re taxes will go up.
To pay for this new plan, the payroll taxes of “the rich” will be raised. Guess who the rich are? Any bum who wants to make more than $200k per year.
Does your dream of a successful practice entail you making more than $200k per year? It should. Most of us did not go to chiropractic school and go into mountains of debt to make $50k or $60k per year.
#2. You’re going to spend a lot more time and money trying to figure out these new laws.
Do you think it’s going to be easier or more difficult to bill insurance after this plan takes affect? Is Medicare currently more or less trouble than other insurance billings?
Your staff is going to have to go through training seminars to get updated. You may even need to hire more staff to keep everything compliant. SOAP notes will have to be top notch (after all we got big brother watching over everything now.) And guess who is going to pay for all these “upgrades” your practice will have to make? The government? Congress? No, you are!
So let’s summarize what we are going to get out of this “historic” bill. Higher taxes and more work. Oh joy, everyone loves those two things, right?
Lest you think I’m all doom and gloom, let me say there is hope. In other countries chiropractic has survived fine without health insurance coverage. Our Australian brothers have been doing it for years. So chiropractic will not end as we know it.
But many chiropractors will suffer. Mainly because they waited too long to counteract the negative effects of this legislation.
“So going to an “all cash” practice is the way to go, right?”
No, an all cash practice is not going to work for everyone. If you’ve been around awhile and have some established marketing strategies that are working, you could make the switch. But there’s a little secret to running a cash practice none of the gurus ever mention. A cash practice requires a lot more new patient flow than an insurance practice. And since most chiropractors are terrible at marketing…well, they are just not in a place to risk it all. (Of course being terrible at marketing is not an excuse to stay that way. Learn how to do it right, or pay others to do it right for you.)
Plus insurance is still good in some states and not much of a hassle to work with. So if you’re practice heavily relies on insurance, wait and see what’s going to happen. But it’s likely things will get worse in the future as the government gets their hands on more and more private industries.
So how do you overcome the government takeover of health insurance?
First you’ve got to make more than you did previously (and get a really good CPA). To make more money in your practice, you’ll need to grow it by getting more new patients. And doing so now, not in 2014 when this plan fully kicks in. If you wait until then, you’ll be completely behind the curve ball. And the “chiropractic recession of 2014” will be much worse than the one you’ve been through these past 3 years.
Second, you’ll need to trim the fat. That means getting rid of old marketing tactics, like blindly spending money on “brand” marketing. You don’t need to “get your name out there”. You need to get more new patients. Now. Next month. The month after that, and so on.
Also, you’ve got to get rid of equipment that’s taking up space and isn’t making you money. Get more patients on your spinal decompression table now (see Decompression Marketing Elite) and stop letting it collect dust. If you aren’t going to market it properly, sell it and use the space for something else. Throw out the passive therapies and get some active rehab going.
Plus you should add other non-healthcare based services. Get a cash-only weight loss program going. Add massage therapy. Build up your PI practice. (Look for our new PI marketing course in the next few weeks.) Sell supplements and do nutritional consulting.
“Is there anything good about Obamacare?”
What, you don’t think the added expenses, higher taxes, more stress, more paperwork, more government control, and having to hire more employees is a good thing?
Well, I guess you could look on the bright side. At least more people will have health insurance since we are all now forced by law to carry it. But that may be like getting excited that Medicare covers x-rays, except not for chiropractors. Or getting excited about more high deductible insurance patients, except most of them don’t have the money saved to cover the high deductible.
But I digress. Let’s focus on what you need to do now.
Your 2010 Game Plan
In summary, here’s what you need to do:
Get more new patients now. Through newspaper ads, the internet, referrals, TV, radio, MD referrals, attorney referrals. Get one stream up and running now. Then start another. Then another.
Cut the fat. Run your practice lean and mean. Use the equipment or loose it. Have your staff do the work or cut them. Add more cash services to your practice.
Go now. What are you waiting for? Choose one of the above and do it now.