In a perfect world, we would be able to trust businesses and their intentions implicitly.
Unfortunately, there are many people who are more interested in how they can game the system or take advantage of people who may not be well educated of informed.
We often hear stories of people going to the dentist or car dealership and being told they need extensive repairs or treatment plans, only to get a second opinion and be given a much more reasonable (and often less costly) approach.
This is not unique to any one profession but is a source of concern for me as a chiropractor.
There are some troublesome practices that do frequently crop up, and these are people whom I would recommend others to steer away from.
One thing that is not too difficult to find in the chiropractic profession is this idea of long-term chiropractic prepayment plans. This is a troublesome one because treatment is not dictated by medical necessity and is not centered around the needs of the patient. I see it over and over again.
A patient shows up and is told that they need 90 days of treatment or else they’ll end up with some disastrous permanent condition.
First of all, these individuals are using scare tactics to induce and intimidating patients into thinking that the care they are prescribing is absolutely necessary.
Any provider who uses emotional distressing half truths to scare people into treatment is unethical at best and fraudulent at worst.
This is a practice that several practice management companies recommend because it dupes people into forking over their hard-earned cash.
There was a local provider who had purchased a practice and was struggling to make ends meet. He joined one of these practice management groups and began coercing people into expensive, long-term treatment plans.
A few months later I received a periodically published magazine called Chiropractic Economics. There was an advertisement by one of these practice management groups touting their success stories and how this chiropractor had gone from collecting $8,500 per month to over $45,000 per month with their "‘tried and proven system."
The bottom line is that chiropractic prepayment plans aren’t about patient care.
I had a friend who was duped into signing one of these treatment plans that would take 90 days and cost him $3,000 beyond what his insurance covered. He was working at a sedentary job at the time and suffered from mid back pain.
In a matter of 3-4 visits at my office and a combination of manual therapy, exercises, and manipulation, his mid back pain had significantly improved and he was reduced to coming in on an as-needed basis.
I often ask people who come to me seeking a second opinion how that certain chiropractor knows that it's going to take 36 visits? How do they know it won’t take 43? Better yet, how do they know it won’t take 5-6?
The bottom line is that pre-paid treatment plans aren’t about patient care.
They aren’t about what’s best for you as the consumer.
They are a marketing tactic to induce people into costly treatment plans they don’t need.
Here’s what Washington State guidelines are for pre-paid treatment: WAC 246-808-550 Future care contracts prohibited.
It shall be considered unprofessional conduct for any chiropractor to enter into a contract which would obligate a patient to pay for care to be rendered in the future, unless the contract provides that the patient is entitled to a complete refund for any care not received.
When someone comes in to see me for the first time, one of my jobs is to assess what their reasons are for seeking treatment.
I always ask the patient to specifically think about what it is they hope to achieve. By doing this, expectations are clear and no one side will feel taken advantage of.
If a patient has recently been in a car accident or is hoping to prepare for a marathon, the treatment plan may be longer than that of someone seeking relief from tightness and stiffness through their shoulders.
At Northwest Injury Clinics, we have been serving people who have been seriously injured since 2009, as well as those who have only sustained minor injuries, without the use of prepaid treatment plans.
We Offer All Our New Chiropractic Patients A Free Tens Unit
A TENS Unit is a safe, noninvasive, drug-free method of pain management when used as directed.