Q&A: Advice from the Experts


Expanding on Dr. Mark Sanna’s regularly featured Practice Management Tips, this issue we’re adding some bonus tips in celebration of our annual Practice Management issue! That’s right; we’ve asked twelve of the biggest names in chiropractic practice management to share some of their most frequently asked questions and their advice and insights for achieving success in practice and in life! Read on to see what the best minds in the business have to say about how to realize the practice of your dreams!

mark_sannaQ: What have you found to be the most successful marketing tool available to chiropractors?

A: Attracting new patients to your practice is, at its essence, a matter of making contacts. The more contacts you make with potential new patients, the greater your opportunities to convert them to patients in your practice. Consider that 53% or 143 million Americans access the Internet, and that 2 million Americans each month access the Internet for the first time. The best investment in new patient marketing technology that a chiropractor can make is to invest the time, energy, and effort in becoming Internet proficient.

The Net’s most powerful application is E-mail, because it offers “frequency for free.” Frequency of contact leads to a sense of community among your existing patients and, ultimately, to the key ingredient in any long-term relationship—trust.

You can encourage your patients to volunteer their attention by keeping in touch with your practice community through a weekly or semi-weekly inspirational, motivational and informational electronic newsletter. The best part about an electronic newsletter is that, with the click of a mouse, your patients pass it on to everyone in their address book. Today, the most successful chiropractors regularly connect with their practice members and community through online technology.

Dr. Mark Sanna is the CEO of Breakthrough Coaching, LLC, a leading resource for personal coaching to chiropractic and multidisciplinary practices throughout the country, and the author of the best-selling book, Breakthrough Thinking. For more information, call 1-800-723-8423 or visit www.mybreakthrough.com.

Q: Should I integrate my clinic into a DC/MD or DC/PT Center?

A: Absolutely. There is no question that the wave of the future I have been predicting for over 16 years as a consultant is definitely here. Our world has evolved into a very fast paced life, and patients are demanding the best healthcare available in one convenient location and at reasonable cost. The DC/MD or DC/PT center offers this alternative. The chiropractor can ethically and profitably set up such a center and give all patients the necessary care they deserve, while keeping chiropractic as the initial first choice of treatment. Of course, all other treatments are also available under the same roof.

daniel-dahanDue to the fact that less than 8% of the population receives chiropractic care, yet more than 93 % of all US residents seek medical care, one can only imagine the great increase in revenue a multidiscipline center can generate. Nonetheless, one must be very careful to insure that the set up is legal and managed appropriately, using protocols as per federal and individual state rules and regulations. The DC/MD/PT center provides a viable solution to the current American healthcare crisis. DC’s are trained healthcare practitioners who are genuinely concerned about rendering 100% unadulterated care to all people of all kinds, using expertise, knowledge, compassion, kindness, teamwork and love.

Patients deserve the best of both worlds. There has never been a better opportunity to service all people for all needs at all times as now. This is your time to make a difference.

Dr. Daniel H. Dahan is the founder and CEO of Practice Perfect, the nation’s largest management and consulting firm for multidisciplinary centers. For more information call 866-67-DAHAN, (866) 673-2426 (Toll Free #), email [email protected] or visit www.dahan.com

Q: Why is the profession becoming so attracted to the Identity-Based model of coaching?

hoffman_markson_permanA: The issue of “identity” is the missing piece in the puzzle of success for doctors of chiropractic. We have discovered that Identity-Based Coaching exceeds traditional Strategy-Based models. The Masters Circle’s unique contribution to the chiropractic profession is the Identity-Based Model, and we believe that “who you are determines how well what you do works” and, therefore, emphasize the unity between identity and strategies. Self-esteem and self-image are the frame work for any successful practice. We have noticed that, when the “successful identity” is coupled with cutting edge, practical and highly effective strategies and procedures, doctors are transformed into confident, congruent, philosophically sound doctors who are creating successful practices that flow with positive energy.

Dr. Bob Hoffman is the President and Chief Operating Officer of one of the nation’s premier chiropractic leadership and consulting program, The Masters Circle. He is a visionary leader and internationally acclaimed speaker who has spread the chiropractic message globally for over 20 years. He has created powerful practice building and educational materials to help chiropractors get better results and build the practices and lifestyles of their dreams. For more information, call 1-800-451-4514 or visit www.themasterscircle.com.

Q: Why is it so important to be On-Purpose?

A: Your “Purpose” is your primary aim; it points you in a direction and keeps you focused on where it is you want to go. Therefore, if your purpose is to “help as many people as possible through chiropractic,” you stay focused on helping people get well and are willing to do whatever it takes to spread the message of chiropractic.

Being on-purpose keeps you excited, happy and motivated to help people understand chiropractic. It enables you to push through the problems of practice so you focus on getting people well. If you’re focused on your patients, you will surely give better care.

david_singerIf you focus on the people who have actually had better lives, happier lives, drug-free lives, or longer lives because you introduced them to chiropractic care, then you will be more willing to communicate your message to others—and, when you do, your enthusiasm and excitement about what you do will spill over and touch the lives of others.

Stay focused, talk about chiropractic, do in-office workshops, hold staff meetings, or whatever else it takes to stay on purpose. Don’t get so caught up in the problems of practice that you forget who you are and why you are here. You are a chiropractor and you have the power to make this world a better place!

Dr. David Singer is the CEO of David Singer Enterprises, a company offering an honest and ethical approach to building a practice through one-on-one consulting programs, products and practice expansion seminars. For more information call 1-800-326-1797 or visit www.davidsingerenterprises.com.

Q: Do I need an MD in my practice to make it successful and how does the Anti-Aging concept enter into the practice of the future?

A: This is a question that I receive many times over by DC’s from around the country. My answer is always the same. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish and the type of practice you are desiring to have. At the present time I counsel doctors beginning their practices to stay with the chiropractic side only and allow themselves to develop some experience as well as a more firm financial foundation before venturing into more complex practice models.

I think the future of our profession is bright and the Anti-Aging and Wellness arena is one that has yet to be tapped. As the DC gains the experience necessary to branch out into other areas he/she needs to ask him/herself the question of whether their practice interest surrounds Wellness care or sickness care.

dallas_humbleI now own and operate an Anti-Aging and Wellness Center with an MD and several RN’s focused on practices such as IV Chelation Therapy, Human Growth Hormone Replacement, Mesotherapy (which is a less invasive alternative to Liposuction), nutritional analysis and much more. As the future unfolds for our profession, I believe you will see more and more Anti-Aging practices around the country delivering the care the public is requesting. For now, it is my advice and those associated with our group that an MD does not make your practice successful. Success comes from within and, with the right management advice and guidance, you can still achieve the practice of your dreams without having an integrated practice.

Dr. Dallas Humble is the President and Founder of Dallas Humble, Inc., a nationwide consulting firm aimed at personal and professional development for the DC. For more information call 1-800-292-1947, email [email protected] or visit www.dallashumble.com.

keith_mauleQ: What one thing could I do to initiate change in my practice and get back on track?

A: It’s time for a Strategic Planning Session. This will restart the practice that has hit a plateau. A Strategic Planning Session is actually a daylong staff meeting. Here’s how they work:

1. Block out a day on your appointment book.

2. Have your strategic planning session outside the office. State parks, hotels and other off-campus areas work well.

3. Meet with each staff member individually before the strategic planning session to get their private input on problems that face the office.

4. About a week ahead of time, distribute the agenda for the meeting.

On the designated day, meet at the office and travel together to the strategic planning session. Dress casually and plan to get organized. Start the session with some social mixers to get everyone involved. Most of the morning is spent identifying problems and deciding on solutions. In the middle of the day, recess, and spend an hour or two just having fun together. That includes anything from sand volleyball to nature walks. In the mid-afternoon, reconvene and focus your discussions on future goals and the direction of the clinic. At the end of the day, the staff goes away refreshed and reunited with a single purpose.

Done too often, the strategic planning session can become mundane; but, if you have a strategic planning session every 8 to 15 months, you’ll be amazed at the cohesiveness and direction it gives the staff. And the ability it has to make your practice come alive once again.

Keith Maule is the CEO of Kats Management where he has been conducting management seminars for chiropractors all over the country 30 weekends a year for more than 15 years. For more information call 1-800-843-9162 x128 or visit: www.katsmanagement.com.

Q: The insurance companies keep reducing my fees and it’s killing me. Should I take on more insurance patients to compensate for the lower earnings, or should I convert to an all cash practice?

A: If your practice is primarily insurance, you are unquestionably a “slave” to those carriers who keep reducing your fees. Getting more of the same patients will only make you more of a slave—with more to do and no more to show for it.

peter_fernandezConverting to the “freedom” of an all cash practice is not the answer either. When you have a large cash practice, you will no longer be a slave to insurance companies; however, you will become a slave to a high volume, low fee, low net profit practice–working way too hard for way too little. You are simply exchanging one type of slavery for another.

So, if a large insurance practice or a large cash practice is not the answer, what is?

Today’s most successful practices provide patients with additional services that they want and will pay for. Consumers spend billions of dollars a year on nutrition and weight loss programs. Who better to provide these than you, a doctor, with your specialized knowledge and experience. Other types of care that are typically not covered by insurances, but wanted by patients, include scoliosis care, postural correction and the treatment of athletic injuries. Learn how to add, market and provide these and other non-insurance reimbursable services, and you’ll again have a practice that will serve your patients well and comfortably provide for you and your family.

Dr. Peter Fernandez has been a practice consultant for the last 23 years and, in this capacity, has consulted with approximately 5,000 DC’s and in the opening of almost 3,000 new practices. For more information, call 800-882-4476; www.DrFernandez.com or E-mail: [email protected]

fabrizio_manciniQ: Why do so many chiropractic patients quit care before they get the results that can change their lives?

A: When patients come into a chiropractic clinic for the first time, they usually have self-limiting, preconceived expectations, mostly because of what they have going on in their lives. That’s why, as a Doctor of Chiropractic, it is so important for “New Patient Procedures” to:

1. Gather information that you are legally responsible for,

2. Show the patient that you understand their problem,

3. Educate the patient about chiropractic wellness care,

4. Demonstrate to the patient that you can help them or find them someone who can, and

5. Lead to a wellness plan that will replace old behavior and limiting thoughts with a plan of action that will allow the patient and their family and friends to evolve.

The Parker Procedures found at Parker Seminars, lead by Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, are the foundation of other practice management procedures and products. The Parker Procedures are a systematic approach to creating patients who stay, pay, get well, refer, maintain and return. For more information, call 1-800-GETMYDC or visit www.parkercc.edu.

Q: I have recently integrated my clinic. Do you have a letter to contact old patients advising them of this?

A: Following is my Patient Recall Letter:

Dear Patient,

Through the years I’ve heard our patients ask over and over again, “Why can’t medical doctors and chiropractors work together?”

Well, finally we’ve done something about it!

eric_kaplanWe are proud to announce the expansion of our practice as the _____________________ , a multi-disciplinary health care clinic. Our office is now a “one stop”, state of the art health care facility where you can go to receive the best of conventional medical care, medication, chiropractic, rehabilitation acupuncture, massage therapy, and a host of other “complimentary” medical approaches. We also offer state of the art diagnostic testing (EKG, electrodiagnostic, etc.)

As you know, we have always been committed to providing the best possible care to our patients. Now, with our new, expanded approach we will be able to provide more comprehensive, cost effective healthcare. We are also members of many insurance plans and accept insurance assignment. And with our expanded facility comes expanded insurance coverage for our patients. Most health plans will now cover our services, which wasn’t always the case in the past.

Our qualified and caring staff is here to answer all your questions at any time. We look forward to reacquainting you with our modern, updated wellness center.

Please feel fee to call in to schedule a free 15-minute mini massage.

Yours in Health,


Dr. Eric S. Kaplan, is CEO of Multidisciplinary Business Applications, Inc. (MBA), a comprehensive coaching firm with a successful, documented history of creating profitable multidisciplinary practices nationwide. For more information, all (561) 626-3004.

Q: What do you find is the most effective business strategy for chiropractors to be ultra-successful in today’s market?

A: Adding lifetime family wellness care is the most effective strategy. What do I mean by this? Preach what you practice and build a great business around that model. If everyone participated in chiropractic the way that chiropractors and their families do, practices would be full and more profitable than ever. We see these positive results happening globally for chiropractors who are implementing this model.

eric_plaskerLet’s face it, insurance has dried up. It requires much more overhead to get reimbursed and the stress of the ever changing mystery code game can drive chiropractors and their teams insane. Unfortunately, these challenges cause chiropractors to see their practices diminish and make them question their career choice.

The time to begin maximizing is now. People’s attitudes toward lifetime wellness continue to be on the rise. Suspicion of big business integrity, insurance companies, is also on the rise. Adding the family wellness component to your practice will stabilize your income by creating cash flow and will prove to be a rapid catalyst for growth.

Dr. Eric Plasker is the founder and CEO of The Family Practice, where chiropractors are uniting to lead family health care around a mission of L CFE—Lifetime Care for Everyone.

After building two successful practices in Atlanta, Dr. Plasker created The Family Practice to provide chiropractors with congruent blueprints, coaching, and educational resources necessary to build a lifetime family wellness community within their practices. For more information, call 866-532-3327 (ext. 118), or visit www.thefamilypractice.net.

denis_nikitowQ: What is the secret to building a successful family practice?

A: The key is to reposition your practice from a back pain practice to wellness. There are three essential elements to do this. First, you have to show people the philosophy and principles of chiropractic. When they understand that subluxations are silent, interfere with nerve flow and can affect overall health, they are more apt to have their families checked. Secondly, patients need to see medical research to support the principle of subluxation to give it credibility. We use the “Certainty” research posters and pamphlets. When patients see that subluxations can cause problems like tachycardia, asthma, vision, digestive, kidney, etc., they will be motivated to maintain their spinal alignment. Lastly, use testimonials. Show pre- and post- X-rays and a picture of the patient with their testimonial. This is more personal and believable and will increase certainty and referrals.

Dr. Dennis Nikitow is the founder of The Ultimate Certainty Seminar and Certainty Practice Products. For more information, call 1-800-544-3884, or visit www.certaintypracticeproducts.com.

cj_mertzQ: What can I do to cut down on the number of “missed” appointments by my patients?

A: This week in your practice, retrain the significance of “originally scheduled adjustments” (OSA), with your team. The body loves rhythm, and receiving adjustments is no exception. When you recommend Monday, Wednesday and Friday night at 8:00 PM, that’s different than three times per week. When patients get into a rhythm of same day, same time adjustments, their bodies actually respond better. If you have a practice that has been taken over by missed visits, re-scheduled visits and make-up appointments, it’s because your team has lost value or understanding of original scheduled appointments. Reclaim the power of your recommendation, increase the effectiveness of your adjustments and feel your practice begin to grow again by reinforcing OSA. The goal is never to have a patient drop in two or three times per week; the goal is correction. Vertebral subluxation correction requires a protocol of care, and the body demands rhythm for maximum results. Educate your patients in this way and see missed visits become a thing of the past.

Dr. C.J. Mertz is a 1984 graduate of Palmer-West Chiropractic College and the founder and head coach of the Waiting List Practice chiropractic training organization. In 2003, Dr. Mertz was elected the 17th president of the International Chiropractic Association. An expert in wellness, in his short time in office, he has revolutionized the distribution of the chiropractic message via television infomercials, and as a published author. For more information, call 1-512-327-1895 or visit www.TeamWlP.com.

TAC would like to thank all the twelve doctors for their participation in this feature. TAC

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