Providing exclusively cash-only services at your practice has advantages. You don’t have to bother with the hassle and the constraints of insurance billing. You won’t be subject to audits by insurers wanting to know exactly what services you provided to your patients and why.
A cash-only practice has its benefits. But you’re also putting your livelihood in the hands of a sometimes fickle economy and you’re locking yourself into a continual marketing cycle of luring new patients to replace those who no longer need or want chiropractic treatment.
A cash-only practice may be a good fit for your lifestyle and personality. But for others, the way forward may not be as clear.
Cash only means you will no longer accept insurance from patients who may have the gold standard in insurers – that covers chiropractic treatment – and who lack the cash resources to pay for regular visits.
It’s the tradeoff you make: You lose that shrinking pool of patients with good insurance and who may be cash-strapped, and you forfeit the processing and record-keeping hassle of reimbursements.
Going cash only may seem wise; however, it’s not your only option. Twenty years ago, few chiropractors would have thought of ditching insurance. But over the years insurers slowly began paring reimbursements for services and eliminating coverage entirely.
So, with fewer insurers providing coverage for chiropractic service, what’s the big deal? After all, reimbursement requirements for chiropractic treatment are sometimes outrageous and impractical. An insurer may reimburse you for three patient appointments in a treatment plan that you know should last eight weeks. So, on the fourth appointment, you lose either the patient or the reimbursements and you become cash only be default.
Other Options Besides Marketing and Going Cash Only
If you were a medical doctor, the question would be mute. Of course, you’d accept insurance. It’s the only way to go. You wouldn’t even be contemplating the question. Nearly 100 percent of the American public will see a medical doctor at some point. You wouldn’t have to worry about insurance. You wouldn’t have to worry about marketing. And you wouldn’t have to worry about running your practice like a business because someone else may be doing that for you.
But you’re a chiropractor with a completely different health-care philosophy that focuses on wholistic well-being. You know pharmaceuticals is not the key to improving people’s health. But despite your outlook, only about 14 percent of the American population will take the time to consider your services.
What if you could have the best of all worlds? Insurers reimburse you for your services, you provide chiropractic treatment to patients and you’re able to introduce chiropractic to the 86 percent of the American public who is unfamiliar with your treatment.
That’s medical integration, a growing movement in American health care. A medically integrated practice incorporates both sides of the medical model, chiropractic and conventional.
Medically integrated practices led by chiropractors as chief executives offer patients a more well-rounded treatment plan that incorporates all aspects of health care.
Patients receive targeted care based on their needs formulated in team meetings of health-care practitioners from a variety of medical disciplines.
Chiropractors are able to direct practices that serve their communities with a more wholistic focus and natural-based approaches.
The Best of Both Worlds
Practices can bill insurers for costs provided by medical doctors or other health-care practitioners and more clearly and efficiently accommodate patient preferences. Patients are also given the opportunity to witness or experience the benefits of chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractors may still choose to operate cash-only practices but the option to bill insurers becomes considerably more tenable. Chiropractors may split the arrangement with half as insurance based and the other on a cash basis for treatments such as weight loss, stem cells, massage therapy or others.
Chiropractors in medically integrated practices also have the option to step back partly or totally from treating patients to focus on running or building their practices.
The staff-driven, medically integrated practice allows the chiropractor – serving as the chief executive – to decide how much time to spend on management and patient treatment. Chiropractors can decide to devote their entire day to practice management or hire an office manager or practice director.
Discovering the benefits of medical integration often pleasantly surprises chiropractors who may initially view the process as overly complicated or daunting.
But the profits, the ability to reach and treat larger swaths of the community, and the opportunities medical integration presents are enticing.
Learn more about medical integration by contacting Advance Medical Integration today!