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July 2007 Archives


New Patient Treadmill?

treadmill.jpgYou may be feeling a bit apprehensive if you set up your practice with a greater emphasis on getting chiropractic patients than keeping patients. That’s okay. That’s where the money was back when third parties were picking up most of the tab. It didn’t make sense to squander valuable resources on anything other than what it would take to produce new patients. But now, years later, you have a burgeoning collection of brightly labeled file folders—but few cash-paying “once-a-monthers.” When you think about it, you had a “promotion,” not a sustainable practice.

Now what?

Continue reading "New Patient Treadmill?" »


Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

28:20 The man who wants to do right will get a rich reward. But the man who wants to get rich quick will quickly fail.

As third party reimbursement continues its death spiral, it serves to expose the motives of thousands of chiropractors. Some search for other services that they can bill insurance companies for and still get reimbursement. Others get back to the basics. And still others freeze with uncertainty as their fear creates a confusing fight or flight response.

During this time of change it's especially important to remain mindful of these two simple truths: 1) Income is the effect of service, and 2) There is no shortage of new patients.

We've all heard that if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Just glance at the increasingly shrill advertising in chiropractic publications. Is it really about the money? Or is money an effect? Is it really about new patients? Or are new patients an outcome or result of truly serving?

If you're numbers are down, look for ways of being a more generous servant.



See the seven?There are going to be a lot of sevens in the date tomorrow. I got to thinking, why does seven show up in so many religious references, folklore and fairy tales? Why is it considered a “lucky” number. Here are some interesting facts I found:

God is said to have made the Earth in six days, then he rested on the seventh.

There are four seasons, 28 days in each moon cycle, so four into 28 goes seven times, making seven a significant number.

Others believe its importance comes from the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations, which identified seven planets and framed the seven days of the week around them. Very early among Middle Eastern peoples, seven became known as a "perfect" number, a symbol of completeness and goodness.

There were Seven Wonders of the ancient world and in pharaoh’s Egypt, seven was the symbol of eternal life and stood for the dynamic perfection of a completed cycle.

And let’s not forget the seven seas, seventh heaven, the seven deadly sins and the seven-year itch, the seven dwarfs, the seven colors of the rainbow, the seven Mercury astronauts, the number of openings into the human head (mouth, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils) and for us in chiropractic, the seven bones of the cervical spine.

Have a lucky Saturday!


Running On Empty

chiropractic and the pressures of insuranceHow do you overcome the tendency for chiropractic patients to discontinue care (or not even begin) if their insurance won’t pay for it?

This question has been rattling around in my brain for the last six months or so. It’s a common source of frustration of many chiropractors. Angst about this issue prompts far too many chiropractors to succumb to accepting insurance assignment, surrendering their practices to claims adjusters who have little understanding, respect or interest in chiropractic.

I finally know what the answer is! But before I reveal it, let me pose a couple of questions:

Continue reading "Running On Empty" »


Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

10:2 Ill-gotten gain brings no lasting happiness; right living does.

Cheating, or using means that unfairly give you an advantage, such as leveraging your social authority as a doctor, produces a hollow "success" that never creates lasting joy. Worse, it creates a mistrust (of ourselves) that we must constantly cover up, fearing someone will see through our cover up.

Are cash payments carefully recorded and reported? Laxity here sends powerful signals to your staff and can result in even far greater damage due to privacy breeches or even theft.

Related to this is the inclination to treat a patient's insurance policy, rather than the patient. These and other lapses of judgment, which often occur when we think no one is watching, weigh us down with guilt, shame and the fear of being found out.

If you've found yourself the recipient of ill-gotten gain, regardless of how you've justified it, make amends. Confess your trespass, change your ways and get back on track.


The Key or the Car?

A common chiropractic problemDear Bill,

I've been to a couple of your seminars in the past few years and have always come away from them inspired. Recently I've hit upon a couple of problems. Firstly, I don't seem to be able to get patients to realize how important "their job" is and consequently they don't change their behavior or improve as fast as I and they would like. Secondly, I can't get the right approach when it becomes apparent that the patient wants to discontinue care - they want to run away before I can say anything!

I would be delighted to hear your opinion on these two issues.


Frustrated in Dorchester

Dear Frustrated in Dorchester,

Probably one of the reasons these two issues seem like problems is that you may be under the impression that you actually have some type of control over chiropractic patients! Once you accept that you are powerless over what patients do, these sorts of everyday patient behaviors will no longer cause anything more than a passing sadness or a bit of short-lived disappointment.

Continue reading "The Key or the Car?" »


Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

12:25 Anxious hearts are very heavy but a word of encouragement does wonders!

Chances are, if patients are showing up with patterns of vertebral subluxation, they have far more going on in their lives than compromised spinal biomechanics. Tending to these emotional-psycho-social issues, even if it means merely being an receptive listener, is the key to more complete and lasting healing.

Great healers are mindful of this larger picture. Remove your technician's hat long enough to see this person in the greater context of their life. What are they facing this week? What are they worried about? What's distracting them and putting a drag on their life spirit? What's behind their lack of ease? Are they reliving in the past or worried about the future where they are powerless?

Rely on your instinct to provide some encouragement. Offer a word or two that can uplift them and provide a sense of hope—the most important ingredient of healing.


What I'm Reading

Click the link to order from AmazonI wish I could remember who recommended this book so I could personally thank him. Because The Presence Process, A Healing Journey Into Present Moment Awareness, by Michael Brown is simply profound. It meshes nicely with the work of another one of my favorites, Eckert Tolle and the work he’s done, starting with The Power of Now (which I’ve read three times). Michael Brown’s 10-week process provides a practical way to become more present through a series of readings and daily breathing exercises. His observation that many of our unhealed wounds from childhood play out again and again as adults struck a responsive chord. In fact, he somewhat confirms my theory that many health care providers often choose health care as an attempt to find their own healing, and in the process discover they can make a living helping others with what they’ve learned. Weighing in at 323 pages it’s quite a read, but the insights were well worth it!


Start Here

Start now!Probably one of the greatest sources of suffering comes from resisting what is. You can tell when someone is resisting circumstances when they use the word “should.” As in, “Patients should place a higher priority on their health” or “Patients should follow my recommendations.”

Right. And I should be taller and better looking.

Besides revealing a resistance to what is, using the word 'should' admits a lack of power. Wishing things were different and stating your powerlessness does little but distract you from those areas in which you do have control.

While patients should place a higher priority on their health, many don’t. And while few chiropractors dream of basing their own lifestyle on the whims of irresponsible patients who look to their insurance coverage as a guide for how much care to receive, this is where many chiropractors find themselves.

No, you can’t control patients but you can control your reaction to them. Here are some possibilities:

Continue reading "Start Here" »


Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

28:13 A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.

We all make mistakes. It's how we respond when confronted by them that makes all the difference.

Our culture produces an incredible pressure to succeed and look the part of success. Yet, I count my failures as the most significant and meaningful moments of my career. And it wasn't because I intellectualized and accepted my mistakes and made a course correction. It was the humbling effect requiring me to surrender to a higher power.

If you've made some mistakes along the way, which prompt inactive patients to avoid you in the grocery store or cross to the other side of the street, apologize. Spend a day going through your inactive file folders and making amends. Ask for forgiveness. Ask to be given another opportunity to serve. Humble yourself.


But That’s Just Not Me

What are you afraid of?Suggestion: You could consistently hand out brochures so patients could more easily tell others about chiropractic and your office.

“But that’s just not me.”

Suggestion: You could become a proficient public speaker and arrange to give talks to civic groups and service organizations about natural health care methods.

“But that’s just not me.”

Suggestion: You could urge parents to bring their children in for a chiropractic check up and help prevent some of the problems you see in adults.

“But that’s just not me.”

Suggestion: You could invite a couple of patients to lunch and find out ways you could improve your practice and deliver a higher level of patient-centered care.

“But that’s just not me.”

Continue reading "But That’s Just Not Me" »


Patch Job

patch-job.jpgFrom time-to-time, I encounter chiropractors who get indignant when merely describing patients who call and just “want to get cracked.” Or get tense simply thinking about patients who reveal that they just wanted a “patch job.”

Why so easily offended? Does a patient’s unenlightened language diminish you? Does a patient’s poor choice reflect on you? Do you believe their shortsighted outlook threatens you? Or that their behavior somehow tarnishes your reputation? Is your self-image that fragile?

Oh, I know that the “my-way-or-the-highway” attitude feels empowering, creating the illusion that you can control patients, but think about it. Imposing your health values onto patients in the hopes it will engender respect or a change of heart flies in the face of how a patient would come to adopt a healthier consciousness. (Clue: it isn’t by threatening them or using your social authority to get them to do something—even if it’s in their best interests.) Pushing potential patients away because they don’t “get” what you’re about may make you feel righteous, but it doesn’t create respectful, appreciative patients. In fact, it’s rather self-indulgent and probably works against your desire for a more influential practice.

Continue reading "Patch Job" »


Monday Morning Motivation

This summer I'm sharing a handful of the 3,000 proverbs written or collected by King Solomon. Put his wisdom to work in your practice:

16:23 From a wise mind comes careful and persuasive speech.

The scriptures tell us to seek wisdom because it is more valuable than gold or silver. By feeding our minds with wisdom we have the potential of becoming wise ourselves. Our speech, whether it's what we say to ourselves or to others, reveals our wisdom. In this way, our words are effects; symptoms. Our grounding and command of the truth is revealed by the words we use and the distinctions we make.

Begin by guarding what you allow into your mind. Which probably means eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of television you consume, along with the rest of the media that propagates superficiality, image-over-substance and a herd mentality.

Do more reading (in and especially outside of chiropractic). Listen to inspiring CDs. Increase your awareness of ideas that have lasting truth, having withstood the test of time. The wiser we become the greater the impact of our words. And our life.

About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

August 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.