In the early days of the profession, chiropractic patients themselves would often become the next generation of chiropractors.
Their life-changing experience with chiropractic led many to share it with others. And most practices had a cash-only policy.
At this time, a doctor of chiropractic needed only an adjusting table, an X-ray machine, a daily ledger, and a receipt book for the business. X-rays were taken and listings were recorded on a spinal listing card. As far as reimbursement went, one adjustment equaled one dollar and you were expected to provide results. The chiropractor’s focus was solely on the clinical art and its application.
A minimum of paperwork virtually defined a cash practice until the 1990s, when politics dictated change. Even today, with outside pressures interfering with the running of your private practice, there is still freedom from many such policies when you run a cash-based business.
Admittedly, doctors function better when they don’t have someone telling them how to treat their patients. It’s also comforting when you have finished a hard day’s work to walk up to the front desk and take the rewards of your efforts to the bank.
A successful cash-based practice requires a response to care with each specific adjustment. Patients who have a detailed understanding of their condition are more motivated to follow their treatment plan. And for that reason, building teamwork between patient and doctor builds a practice. As you continue demonstrating your passion for others, you’ll see your practice start to take on the shape of a generational practice in just a few years. As your patients respond to care, your growth and longevity will only be limited by your energy and physical strength.
Appreciative patients will then direct their loved ones, friends, and acquaintances to you so they can share the same feeling of health and wellness they receive. Moreover, established patients understand and accept how much chiropractic costs. New patients referred by established ones have less resistance to their first visit.
Patients who pay for services out of their pocket tend to listen more attentively and assume greater responsibility for their health. Because you assess your patients in terms of their presenting problems, they understand how long it might take for them to respond to care.
The chiropractor who projects a natural, genuine concern while displaying a passion for the chiropractic art draws new patients through the front door. A disciplined focus on your part when listening to the patient’s cry for help aids in validating their concerns and helps them accept your treatments. The more that patients understand what their bodies are saying to them, the more likely they will choose to take care of themselves. These patients tend to become lifetime participants in preventive healthcare. You, in turn, become their partner in this adventure and they will continue to pay to sustain this level of health.
But beware: A daily influx of cash can be a blessing or a dangerous temptation. If you follow a cash-only model, hold yourself accountable to business and tax liabilities. Just because money was generated that day, doesn’t mean you can spend it all.
A cash-only practice need not participate with any insurance companies (including Medicare). They do, however, need to supply patients with required forms. If written office policies are followed, the accounts-receivable balance should be zero. This model has worked for many, and perhaps it can work for you, too.