by Miles Bodzin, D.C. •
CEO of Cash Practice Systems •
Many years ago I was reported to my state licensing board by another chiropractor who did not like what I was teaching. Turns out, it’s not so uncommon to be reported by another chiropractor.
The chiropractor thought it was unethical of me to teach chiropractors how to increase cash collections and patient retention. He was one of those who thought chiropractic was only good for pain relief and anything more than a couple of adjustments was unnecessary. So he must have felt I was some kind of monster for teaching doctors how to help people with long-term chiropractic care.
He filed a complaint to the board mainly over the financial plans we were helping doctors do with their patients. When a licensing board gets a complaint, they must investigate it. So, in this case, the board had to look into what I was doing.
So one day, I received this letter from the chiropractic licensing board saying they were investigating some of the claims I was making on my website.
When I first launched my website, It had information about how I did long-term chiropractic care with examples of before & after x-rays showing improved cervical curves. I was very proud of the results I got with my patients.
In this letter I received, the board was asking me to provide documentation of my claims that improving the cervical curve was of any benefit to the patient. I was dumbfounded as to why they needed me to do this. But the fact of the matter was the licensing board was asking for it, and I needed to produce it, or my license would be in jeopardy.
Now, let me remind you, the complaint against me was over the “financial plans” I was teaching. It had nothing to do with my claims about the benefits of restoring the normal cervical curve in my patients. Meanwhile, the board was still asking about these claims.
I hired an attorney who advised me to find as many research articles as possible on the subject, and he would present all the material to the board on my behalf. So I went to the UCSD School of Medicine Library and hunted through the literature to find what I could. At the time, there was not much “chiropractic” research on “cervical curves.” Most, if not all, of the research, came from traditional medical literature.
I found a dozen articles from the medical literature that my attorney then used to answer the board on my behalf.
Now that I had the medical literature, I also had to answer their questions regarding the financial plans I was teaching. This is where things could have become sticky. In California, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners states that any financial plan you offer patients must be submitted to and reviewed by the California Department of Managed Care. I suppose this is their way of ensuring the agreement is acceptable and not “acting” like an insurance program.
Fortunately, I had submitted my plans to the Department of Managed Care, as required, and had a letter from them with their response. That letter was extremely important in answering the state board regarding the plans I was teaching. Had I not had it, odds are the board would have taken further actions against me.
So after several thousand dollars in legal fees, my time doing the research, and providing the Department of Managed Care letter, my attorney packaged up all the information and presented it to the licensing board. I could have done it myself, but I had been properly mentored to use representation when appropriate. And certainly, this was one of those times.
The day finally arrived, and I received a response from the state board. The investigation was dropped. Wooo Hooo! I can get back to caring for my patients and helping chiropractors with their long-term care plans.
So, why am I sharing this story of how I got investigated? Did you catch something in my story? What was the complaint made? And what was I investigated for?
Another chiropractor filed the complaint over “financial plans.” But when the board investigated, not only did they ask about plans, but they also asked about clinical claims I had made. Let me repeat that. They ALSO asked about the clinical claims.
The point is that once any type of complaint is made, they will look at everything you are doing. And if they want to investigate the “additional things,” they will. You see, just one complaint will often open a can of worms, and you may end up dealing with something unrelated to the complaint.
And this is exactly why you must ensure you are doing everything properly. I often hear chiropractors naively say, “I’m a cash practice, so I don’t have to worry about X.” In my mind, this is no different than someone saying, “I drive a white car, so I don’t have to worry about being ticketed for speeding.”
True, statistics show that when you drive a white car, you are less likely to get pulled over for speeding than driving a red car. But that does not mean you won’t ever be stopped for speeding when driving a white car. And if you get pulled over in a white car, you’ll get the ticket – just like someone in a red car.
And you had your cell phone in your hand, no seat belt on, and a radar detector on your dash, you’re going to get busted for all those other things that had nothing to do with the original reason you got stopped.
One thing opens the door to other things. So what are all the things you need to do correctly to avoid such headaches?
- Document Correctly
- Code Correctly
- Diagnose Correctly
- Treat Correctly
- Bill Correctly
- Collect Correctly
- Discount Correctly
Each of these seven areas must be done correctly, no matter your practice style or type.
When it comes to doing these things correctly, there are a lot of great resources at your disposal. I recommend checking out KMCUniversity, ChiroCode, ChiroHealthUSA, and my company, Cash Practice. We are well versed in one or more of these areas regarding doing them correctly.
I know we all got into chiropractic to care for people, and wouldn’t it just be easier if we didn’t have to deal with all these rules and regulations? I like to think of it as playing a sport. For example, could you imagine playing soccer if you didn’t know the rules of soccer? And then you were surprised that you got a penalty for using your hands. Knowing the rules makes it easier to play the game. And so it is with playing the game of chiropractic.
About the Author: Dr. Miles Bodzin is the Founder & CEO of Cash Practice Systems, Chiropractic’s #1 Technology Platform for Increasing Patient Loyalty. He may be contacted at email@example.com or (877) 343-8950 x200.