He was a popular, charismatic high school student. A national AAU karate champion. An inexperienced, undersized member of the school’s wrestling team.
How did Dr. Patrick Gentempo Jr. become one of the most influential minds in today’s chiropractic world?
Well, being undersized and inexperienced may have actually helped.
“I injured my neck in a wrestling practice and my mom took me to a local chiropractor. The rest, as they say, is history,” says Gentempo, now the Chief Executive Officer of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance (CLA)—one of the largest firms in the industry.
CLA’s original roots date back to 1988, when Gentempo and his long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Christopher Kent, were working together with surface EMG technology and its applicability to chiropractic. In 1997, three businesses Gentempo directed were merged into a single entity and given the name Chiropractic Leadership Alliance, which he co-founded with Kent.
CLA was created for the purpose of empowering chiropractors with information and technology that would be effective in helping the DC transcend the challenges the profession faced.
Today, these two innovative doctors provide products and services to over 8,000 chiropractic clients on seven continents. CLA’s feature product is the Insight Subluxation Station whose technology has grabbed the attention of NASA and the nation’s space program. The new Discovery model contains a software breakthrough that Gentempo predicts will change the way people view chiropractors as well as how they care for their bodies.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. Gentempo tells how he plans to wrestle the obstacles he feels prevent chiropractic from taking a larger role in the world’s healthcare model.
TAC: What is the behind-the-scenes story regarding CLA’s formation?
Gentempo: CLA was born out of my own challenges in practice. I faced the horrible contradiction of promoting my services to my patients and community for the purpose of improving the function of the nervous system, which would lead to better health and well-being. I would explain that lifestyle stresses cause vertebral subluxation, which disturbs neural function and results in decreased ability of the body to heal and regulate. Yet, simultaneously, for my exam, I did the traditional othro/neuro evaluation which, of course, doesn’t meaningfully address subluxation. I was good at the ortho/neuro exam; I taught it in diplomate programs. However, this approach in examination was contradictory to the clinical goals I had for my patients and, as a result, my practice and my psychological experience in practice suffered.
Then, one day, Dr. Kent showed up with a handheld surface EMG technology and my world changed. While working at Palmer, he had performed research with this technology. Now, I could actually look at patterns of nervous system function and have more confidence, certainty and credibility regarding my services and outcomes. We developed applications, protocols, indications, and normative data for sEMG that we published in peer-reviewed research journals.
Microelectronics and computer technology were on the rise. Next thing you know, we had a very necessary business that would significantly shape the future of the profession in a positive way.
TAC: What are your goals for the chiropractic profession?
Gentempo: My goal for the chiropractic profession is simple: World Domination of Healthcare in a Chiropractic Model! It is critical that the chiropractic paradigm become the dominant paradigm for consumers around the world. In this country, we spend almost two trillion dollars on what we call healthcare—but is really sick care. When you take sick care and apply it to a society as healthcare, you end up with a sick society. We spend this incomprehensible amount of money, yet we are sick, as a culture. This has gotten out of control and it would require a book for me to discuss all the implications.
The allopathic healthcare paradigm must be supplanted by something more rational and closer to the truth. Enter chiropractic. That is my goal for this profession…which is really a goal for the world. To us, at CLA, this is not hype. It is a reality we get closer to manifesting everyday.
TAC: What is the most common problem you see among chiropractors today?
Gentempo: This is a very important question. The biggest problem facing chiropractors today is they are selling a product they are not sure they are delivering. They are selling a thing called improved health due to improved nerve function—which results from regular chiropractic adjustments. But, they do evaluations that don’t let the DC or the patient know if this is happening. You can’t make this determination from lifting legs and pushing on heads. I call this hellish contradiction the “silent dread.” When a chiropractor says to a patient, “I’ll see you twice next week,” why twice? Why not once? Why not three times? What do we base it on?
This situation is a serious malignancy that we have been working on correcting for many years. The implications are huge and it is one of the main reasons why so many chiropractors have a vision for a lifetime family wellness care practice but experience the discontent of a back and neck pain practice. It is a problem that we’ve helped solve for thousands of DC’s but, unfortunately, there are many thousands more who still suffer from the silent dread. We have a lot of work to do…and we’re up to the task!
TAC: What is the biggest problem or challenge you see in the chiropractic profession today?
Gentempo: I see internal disharmony and insurance dependency as two major issues facing the profession. I am one of the few chiropractors alive who has received high level awards from the American Chiropractic Association, International Chiropractors Association, and World Chiropractic Alliance. I believe we need to find a way to harmoniously co-exist with our differences. Total unity in the current culture doesn’t seem possible and maybe it isn’t even desirable. Points of view vary tremendously.
However, unity on broad-based concepts, such as creating wellness as a clinical objective, is obtainable. Documents like the first Association of Chiropractic Colleges Doctrine received universal support from the disparate groups of our profession, while documents like the Mercy Guidelines were universally rejected by many of these same groups. These reactions are glimmers of hope. The first step in the process is tolerance. When we can demonstrate that, then unity can follow.
Insurance dependency is also something that represses the profession, for obvious reasons. Helping DC’s build fun and profitable non-insurance dependent practices has been a real strength of CLA.
TAC: How do you help DC’s become “non-insurance dependent?”
Gentempo: If I have a particular talent, it is being able to properly anticipate trends and changes. CLA has been promoting the non-insurance dependent practice model since 1991. This is when insurance reimbursement was still, for the most part, pretty good. I started to see two things happening: First, the momentum of managed care; second, the initial sparks of the wellness revolution…crisis and opportunity, if you will. No consumer thinks it is a good idea to entrust one’s health and well being, or that of one’s family, to the insurance industry or the federal government.
Also, consumers are spending billions of dollars out of pocket for things that contribute to their general health and well being. My good friend, economist Paul Zane Pilzer, predicts that the wellness industry will be a one trillion dollar industry in the US by the year 2010. Through the 90’s, a signature lecture of mine reflected upon the implications of consumers spending out of pocket on things they felt contributed to their general health and wellness: things like health clubs, health foods, and drinking water. They expect their insurance to pay for conditions, but they expect to pay out of pocket for general wellness products and services.
See a picture forming here? If the DC can get out of the pain-based, treat-a-condition model of practice and move toward a lifestyle, wellness-based practice, then he/she can become non-insurance dependent and have a lifetime family wellness-based practice. Things like being dependent on traditional ortho/neuro tests for evaluation are obstacles.
This is where the Insight comes in. This is not a snap of the fingers. It requires an enormous amount of breakthrough in one’s understanding, precise systems of thinking and, further, a practice model that actualizes all this. It is exactly what we handle at our Total Solution seminar program. It is amazing how, in four days, we can really see the lights come on and DC’s ready and excited to make this change.
I will also say that the most rational way to make the switch from insurance dependency to non-insurance dependency is through a process over time. I have seen practices do it cold turkey and, sometimes, it isn’t pretty. It has to be done right and we are experts at it.
TAC: Is CLA’s Insight technology or any other technology in its category insurance reimbursable?
Gentempo: The answer is yes and no. As anyone in the industry knows, third party pay is finicky, at best, and changing by the minute. What is reimbursed today is not tomorrow. Good coverage from a carrier in your area goes into managed care that may not even include you when you wake up tomorrow. This is why we promulgate and teach the non-insurance dependent practice.
There are five different technologies on our Insight Discovery platform. Some have specific CPT codes for their use and, as of the time of this interview, are often reimbursed. Others require use of a miscellaneous code, and reimbursement is hit or miss. Many of our clients include the entire Insight evaluation in their routine exam and price it accordingly, rather than unbundle it and charge for each test.
In the end, it is our technology and practice model that help the DC not care about insurance reimbursement anymore. True happiness and freedom for the chiropractor is not being dependent on third party pay and not letting the insurance industry dictate how they will practice.
TAC: Dr. Gentempo, are there regulatory issues that people should be aware of with technologies such as yours?
Gentempo: This is an important question. The FDA considers devices such as the Insight to be Class II medical devices. It is critical that FDA compliance is met, which is the responsibility of the manufacturers. When multiple technologies are coupled together, even if they each individually have FDA certification, this is not enough. They must also be registered together as the integrated unit. Some manufacturers try to fly under the radar and don’t do this. To not have the right regulatory compliance puts the DC who uses such a technology at risk.
The Insight has proper FDA registration. To keep this current, it takes an enormous effort and a considerable amount of investment capital. Unfortunately, some other companies who distribute DC products in the same category as the Insight don’t have proper registration. Also, it is important to understand that it has to be sold and utilized within the context of the registrations “intended use” representation.
For example, some surface EMG’s sold in chiropractic are registered as biofeedback devices, which is a treatment category, but are sold to do diagnostic evaluation. This is wrong.
The Insight is registered with the FDA as a diagnostic device. The Insight has also met and is certified with ISO 9000 standards. Very few tools in our market can make that claim. As well, it is registered as a Class II medical device with Health Canada.
CLA is very diligent on these matters. Credibility is paramount. There are reliability studies for the Insight that have been published in peer-reviewed research journals. Also, multiple new reliability studies have been done by independent researchers and institutions and are being submitted for publication as I speak—some of which were brought to my attention only after they were completed. I am happy to say that the results were extremely positive.
TAC: Tell us about some of the other services and products that you offer chiropractors and how or why you offer them.
Gentempo: CLA offers a variety of products and services to the profession. Aside from the popular Insight Subluxation Station assessment technology, we have founded Total Solution, a four-day intensive training program, and we produce On Purpose, a monthly audio series.
Some people call Total Solution a “boot camp” styled, program. In 1995, after selling advanced technology to chiropractors for over seven years, Dr. Kent and I came to a very sobering conclusion: It is not a technology alone that gets a result; it is the person using that technology that gets results. We didn’t want to sell equipment. We wanted to sell a result!
After traveling and lecturing in this profession for so many years, I realized how crippled many chiropractors were when trying to grow their practices. The field is filled with so many contradictions that, unless they get resolved, true and lasting success is improbable…especially with the decline and upheavals in third party pay. The profession was, and is, in real trouble.
But, simultaneously, it has incredible upward potential. We have a focused system of thinking, a breakthrough service model and powerful economic model for chiropractic that really works. So, we put together our Total Solution training program and offer it to those who buy our Insight technology. To date, we have over 5,000 Total Solution graduates. We take each group to a remote, but esthetically beautiful and comfortable location, where real transformation can occur. Most people come with the expectation of learning how to operate the equipment. What they leave with is truly life-changing. We cover the entire realm of chiropractic experience, from A to Z, and show a view of it that is thought through and without contradiction. In our files, we have thousands of testimonials about how Total Solution has changed the participant’s life in almost inconceivable ways. I get teary reading them.
When someone gets a crystal clear vision of their purpose, their life changes in a significant way for the better. That’s what Total Solution is all about.
On Purpose is our popular monthly audio series that is in its twelfth year. We have over 2,000 listeners on seven continents. (Yes, we send a set to Antarctica each month.) On Purpose gets its name from our contention that success doesn’t happen by accident—it happens On Purpose. In order to make good decisions and lead yourself to success, you must be informed.
Every month On Purpose offers three programs each on its own CD (or MP3 downloads). One is a review of the relevant scientific literature to keep chiropractors up-to-date on the latest research that supports chiropractic. Second, we do a political review of what is going on in the profession—the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s all important. Third, we do a philosophy, practice development interview with some prominent member of the healthcare community. Over the years, this interview CD has included important thinkers like Deepak Chopra, Bernie Segal, Joe Mercola, Dan Murphy, and too many others to mention. Suffice it to say, it is a “Who’s Who” of the influence keys of our profession.
It is such a struggle to stay in the right mindset and stay informed. On Purpose opens up a whole world of information to the chiropractor that they can absorb just by driving to the office and back each month. It is like a listening family and our slogan for On Purpose is, “You are not alone.”
TAC: Can you think of one change that a chiropractor can do to significantly impact his/her practice’s growth immediately?
Gentempo: Yes. Think! Think through your premises and clarify your purpose. Answering three questions can really take you to higher ground: 1) What is the clear purpose of your practice? 2) What is the clear goal you have for every patient that comes to your practice? 3) Where do you want your practice to be in five years?
If you do some deep thinking, rather than give off-the-cuff lame answers to these questions, and reconcile your actions and procedures with these answers, your practice will not only grow in quantity but, more importantly, it will increase qualitatively. Once you have meaningful answers to these questions, you will know how to deliver on the promise of your care, and you can then turn vision into reality.
Also, I think it is important to belong to a coaching/personal development program. When I was in practice, I belonged to what is, today, known as The Masters Circle. It made a substantial difference in my success and experience. CLA doesn’t do contract coaching, but we certainly recommend our clients find a program that works for them.
TAC: Do you have any recommended marketing strategies that chiropractors can use to attract new patients and/or to keep current patients?
Gentempo: The Insight technology does both of these things better than anything else in existence. Our clients report, on average, a 350-percent increase in new patients from screenings and events and a very impressive increase in their patient retention. Things like a NeuroSpinal Functional Index (NSFi) give patients an incentive to come back so they can continue to improve their NSFi.
Also, the majority of DC’s in my audiences do not have twelve-month marketing plans. How does one expect to succeed in getting new patients without a plan?
TAC: What single piece of advice would you give a new chiropractor just starting out?
Gentempo: Get crystal clear on your vision and hang out with successful groups and individuals.
TAC: What general advice would you give an established chiropractor whose practice might be struggling?
Gentempo: Unfortunately, there are too many of these. First and foremost, don’t give up! Second, get your head out of “survival mode.” When consciousness is about survival, survival is all you will ever get. A survival mentality makes one defensive physiologically, and my saying on this is, “You can’t score points on defense!” Ninety percent of success is just showing up. Get out of your office and go to successful and stimulating environments, all the while considering your purpose on this Earth. Money needs to be the effect of who you are, not the cause. When you truly “get” that and act on it, your struggle will be over.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Gentempo: Technology is a major part of our destiny. Technology is a best friend to the chiropractor, increasing certainty, credibility and value. This is why CLA focuses on technology and continues to develop it, using the latest advances.
The immense success of Dr. Moe Pisciottano and his ProAdjuster technology is another example of how technology is taking center stage in this profession. Chiropractic is headed toward sophisticated, technology-based practices that are steeped in the principles of lifestyle wellness.
The CLA/Creating Wellness economic model puts less emphasis of the top line revenue on DC dependent services and grows revenue in the direction of staff performed wellness evaluations and staff transacted affiliated wellness products. Further, I have directed our clients to set a goal for 2007 where fifty percent of their new patients come from groups and organizations. This getting-new patients-one-at-a-time stuff is horribly inefficient. Groups and corporations are aggressively seeking wellness services. This is what our Creating Wellness project has been all about. No doubt in my mind, it is the future.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
Gentempo: I’d like to know what you see when you look in the mirror in the morning? Is it the face of a hero with a purpose that seeks to make people’s lives better and the world a better place? When you consider the stress and anxiety of living in a post 9-11 world—full of war and terrorism—and the fact that multitudes of people are turning toward medically prescribed drugs or “comfort foods” to feel better, a sense of urgency should rise within you to be a voice of reason in this tragic circumstance. Set an agenda to bring true wellness to people’s lives through the chiropractic lifestyle, and you will have more fun with less stress while making more profit…and the world will be a better place!
May I offer your readers a gift? We have a CD/DVD package that we normally sell for hundreds of dollars. It includes a video on the science of vertebral subluxation that Dr. Kent hosts and it can help really boost the DC’s certainty and perceived value of service. Also, there is audio programming including a signature presentation of mine, Prosperity on Purpose, along with some other items. This may sound like a “sales gimmick,” but take it for what it is…a very wealthy and successful colleague desires to help other DC’s grow and achieve. If, somehow, this article or our gift helps…then, I am a very happy man.
For your free gift, contact Lisa at CLA: 800-285-2001, Ext. 143, or email [email protected].