Americans are paying more than ever for health care. Since 2000, the price of medical care, including services provided, as well as insurance, drugs, and medical equipment, has increased by 115.1%. In contrast, prices for all consumer goods and services rose by 78.2% in the same period. (Rashkit, Wager, Hughes-Cromwick, Cox, & Amin, 2023) Being gentle is part of the chiropractor’s art, and this skill must be extended to discussing financial matters with their patients. Clarity goes a long way toward promoting understanding and establishing trust, so here’s how to talk transparently to your patients about the cost of care.
1. Emphasize Commitment to Value-Based Care
Stressing that only strictly necessary visits and charges will be performed at your practice can make cost-of-care chats easier for patients. Explaining the value-based care (VBC) model helps patients view healthcare costs in a more positive light, since they know that their treatment won’t become a needlessly prolonged and expensive process.
2. Find Your “Financial Person” and Feel Better About Making Money
Some chiropractors simply aren’t comfortable and confident when addressing care costs. However, it’s necessary to find someone on the team who is. Aaron Reynolds took a refreshing look at how to do this in his recent ChiroHealthUSA webinar which also covers two other useful skills: how to make healthcare recommendations without looking like you’re pitching a sale, and how to empower staff to act as patient advocates.
3. Explain Why Costs Are Increasing
It’s human nature to presume professionals charge more for a service out of greed. This notion can be dispelled when you break down the various causes for increased rates.
Inflation is one of the principal forces driving practices to charge more to meet expenses such as equipment costs and rent. While equipment costs aren’t as big an issue for an established practice with everything in place, chiropractors are still people who must live in the same economy as everyone else. Inflation is something that’s easy for patients to verify as a legitimate driver of higher operating and living costs, since their own lives are affected by it. While the 2022 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) was 5.9%, government inflation data showed costs grew at a faster pace for much of last year. Now, the 8.7% COLA for 2023 is outpacing current inflation, with a 5.8% increase over the past 12 months for the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. (Konish, 2023) By being completely honest, you’re showing them that rate increases are a professional necessity, not a personal choice.
4. Financial Reports-of-Findings
Another effective way to preempt cost concerns is to get ahead of the patients concerns by having a formal financial report-of-findings with your new patients and those who are returning to your office for a new episode of care, or a new condition. Proactive communication outlining the cost of care, benefits of care, and cost-sharing responsibilities, alleviates financial concerns and worries of your patients. Clinics who fail to have simple and compliant financial policies and fail to consistently perform financial reports-of-findings with their patients, may find their waiting rooms becoming a revolving door of patients. This can lead to cash flow and collection problems in an office. By simply implementing a rock-solid financial policy and clearly discussing your fees and payment policies up front with your patients, you can eliminate this problem. (CHUSA, n.d.)
ChiroHealthUSA Helps Your Patients Have Access to Affordable Care.
ChiroHealthUSA allows practices to help patients fight rising healthcare expenses by offering legal, network-based discounts, while helping practices remain profitable. Our providers are already helping over a million families afford the care they need and seeing an average of a 20% increase in the first year! Just contact us or schedule a free, no-obligation 1-to-1 consultation to learn more about everything we can do for your practice.
Dr. Ray Foxworth, DC, FICC, is founder and CEO of ChiroHealthUSA. For over 35 years, he worked “in the trenches” facing challenges with billing, coding, documentation, and compliance, in his practice. He is a former Medical Compliance Specialist and currently serves as chairman of The Chiropractic Summit, an at-large board member of the Chiropractic Future Strategic Plan Committee, a board member of the Cleveland College Foundation, and an executive board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is a former Staff Chiropractor at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center and past chairman of the Mississippi Department of Health.