And let’s focus on what are we doing to promote our practice? What changes have we made? What changes will we make?
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Hi everyone. This is Sam Collins, your coding and billing expert for Acupuncture and the American Acupuncture Council Network. Giving it another episode to try to always, as we do uplift you uplift the profession. This time, we’re going to go off topic for at least where I generally go, which is going to be coding and billing.
And let’s focus on what are we doing to promote our practice? What changes have we made? What changes will we make? What are we doing to really make sure that we’re getting people to understand what we do, how we do it and how we can help them always think of what is the barrier to care. Some of it is just lack of communication.
And I want you to think of it like this. Think of companies that have went belly up and I’ll think of one that comes to mind, which is the store Sears. Why did they do that? Well, someone at Sears didn’t have enough foresight when Amazon came in and started selling things online. Wasn’t that actually what Sears was, think about that.
What is Sears could adopt and adapt that say, Hey, we do the same thing. Wouldn’t they still be around. So I want to think the same thing about our profession, where we’re going to go, what we’re going to do to promote what we do, make sure people understand because of course acupuncture works well, but until we get more people to try it, it’s never going to be as big as we would like it to be because we obviously want to touch as many people as possible.
So let’s go to the.
Do. And there’s so many ways to think of it, but I want to kind of simplify it a bit. Let’s not make this too complicated. However, I use this to say, how are we perceived? You know, think of these pictures. What do your friends think you do? Your mom thinks you’re inserting a big needle. Western medicine has negative views.
What do people really do? Still take pills, but at the end of the day, look at that. Is that the concept are people that are not seeing a shit understand when they get acupuncture care. Think of how many people you’ve seen, who probably were skeptical before they tried your care. Wasn’t even sure it was going to work.
And then we’re like, oh my God, I can’t believe. Think of how often that miracle happens. When people walk into an acupuncture office, they’ve been to so many places. So how do we make sure to attract more people? I start with, what does the public know about what we do? And I’m saying this generically as our profession, but mostly about ourselves.
So I want you to think of ask your friends, ask your family, if you will, what do I. What do I treat? And I don’t want you to bias them. I want you to literally find out what do they really think about what we do. I want you to have an honest answer because we run in circles among other acupunctures. So we hear this all the time and we think this is out there.
And maybe it’s not asking your family, your parents, just friends. Okay. Acquaintances, people, you just meet casually. I fly. You know, for seminars. And one of the things I learned to strike up a conversation is, Hey, have you ever been to an acupuncturist? And the majority are no. And of course it’s an opportunity though, to discuss what we do, how we do it, and we’ve got to promote that part of it, but I want to know what are they thinking?
And you always want to know. That’s the perception we have, what are we doing to mold that perception make a different, but what I want you to do is really see what’s out there. What do people really understand? What we do, frankly, ask some strangers, see what’s going on. How do they go to the doctor by the way, you know, when they go in and do they pay cash, think of in your own practice, are you a mostly cash practice that can work really well, but think of yourself, do you go in to another doctor and pay cash?
So are you potentially limiting patients? Because we have to know what does the public know about what we do? Does it. Well, what happens if someone does an internet search for acupuncture? What does that say? Well, this is one from the Mayo clinic that talks about and inserts needles to reduce pain. So a lot of people say, well, it’s a pain relief, but is that all that you do?
I think there’s so much more. So what if someone who has fibromyalgia says, oh, I don’t have pain. I have fibromyalgia. I know that may sound counterintuitive. But it is sometimes how people think now on that same website, what they talk about, maybe it’s main to relieve pain, but it does get into things like nausea, vomiting, labor, pain, back pain, but you’ll notice it’s a very stringent on pain.
Now notice it does say menstrual cramps. That’s Mayo clinic. How about house? It says it’s an effective for a variety of conditions, but it’s not for everyone. If you choose an active person discuss with your doctor first, he has a practitioner licensed with proper training. So notice it just gives a vague, well, it treats sorta some stuff.
So again, is that really giving people anything about what we do think of your way? If someone went to your website, what did attract them for the type of condition they have? So let’s take a look. What else can you find on the internet? If you search, what does acupuncture do? The national institutes of health.
Of course, you’ve all seen this nausea, addiction, headache. So this goes a little bit beyond, but here’s one thing I would take a look at. If you’re someone who specializes in treating women with menstrual cramps or medical. Could I find you, if I were to Google acupuncture, treating menopause, would you come up?
Would it come up in the city? Remember internet searches are based on information that’s on your site. If the information is not there, it doesn’t appear. Do you have any type of blogs or newsletters that might give a little bit more what they call it? SEO. So people can get to your site. There’s a lot of things out there, but does it say it for you?
Well, here’s one from a company called Evercore and Evercore is behind the scenes on a lot of Anthem policies, as well as United health care. And you’ll notice here, it lists a lot of things that are way different notice asthma cancer, pain puncture. Might you have something that would promote and say, no, this could be helpful.
I have a couple of doctors in the state of Washington. That’s. They work with a couple of psychologists and psychiatrists, but that’s all they treat by the way it’s paid by insurance. But again, that’s something that they promote because most people would golf. It can treat that. I mean, what if you’re an infertility expert?
What if somebody is looking for that, would they be able to find you, is your, are you telling them what you really do? Let’s look at another carrier. How about American specialty health? And of course, I know everyone has a little bit of problem because they should pay more, but let’s talk about how does American specialty health cover?
Well, they talk about kind of, neuromusculoskeletal kind of what I call the chiropractic end of it. So it talks about headaches, hip pain, neck pain, back pain, and so on. So again, that promotion is there for that, but is it promoting. What, if someone were looking for this, what is it saying? Is this information on your site?
If you take this plan, here’s the conditions that we cover and we can help you. I mean, obviously marketing is done by every company. A RP uses acupuncture to market their product. Take a look. Here’s an ad for them. Medicare will cover here’s another one for a company called clever care. This is a TV.
They’re using acupuncture to cover. Now what about this? It says Medicare advantage. Is there anything that you’ve done? So if someone has Medicare advantage, they know they can come and see you. Is there anything as they pass by Medicare advantage here, take a look at this one. This is the United healthcare one.
And think of the promotion here. They’re literally using you to promote their business, but are we utilizing it to promote ourselves? Can you imagine if you have a zero copay acupuncture visit, do you think that’s very hard for some of the. Probably not now we would have to accept payment in full from these plans, but I’ll tell you they’re about a hundred dollars a visit and they cover much more than you think here’s their acupuncture coverage for this Medicare part C policy.
And you’ll notice that it says acupuncture, routine codes, but not all inclusive. And it’s not only including acupuncture, but what does it include? Therapies, things that you do, whether it’s massage exercise. Uh, myofascial release or manual therapy wash off 20, not so much more. Do people know that we do this?
Can it be something that might attract them? Always think of what is going to attract someone. What is going to make them know that what you can do can help them. Here’s another one from good morning America, where they talked about prescription for wellness and it indicates acupuncture. And. How about something like that on your side to make sure people know, okay, we do herbs.
Someone may be looking for that, tell them what do you do, herbs for? What can help? How does it help? And I’m not saying write some long drawn out article, but there’s a little bit of information that at least is introductory. So someone can go, oh, I think I want to try that. So here’s what I want you to do.
If you’re thinking of marketing, what do you mean. Start thinking, what is my thing that I do? How do I know people are going to find me if I do it? So here’s a couple of interesting offices that I think has done something in a positive way. The one on the left is an acupuncture office that they’re in a medical building.
And when you walk by their office, this is the sign. And look at all the things she’s talking about. Fatigue, stress, tension, anxiety. When someone’s walking by. They treat anxiety, they treat arthritis and notice it. Doesn’t just say pain. Now. Pain is many times the origin of most of these, but people often think, well, no, I have fibromyalgia.
I have TMJ. We want to let them know. Yes, we can treat it. Notice that even talks about veteran’s benefits. Look at the one on the right chronic pain, neck and shoulder stress, depression, insomnia tendonitis, Bell’s palsy, nasal analogies, weight control PMs. You want to think of who am I attracting? If you do a lot of sports medicine, guess what you should be talking about?
I do sports medicine. There, isn’t a professional team. That’s a professional sports team that doesn’t use and promote acupuncture. I know several acupuncturist who work directly with the teams and that’s their whole job. But again, are we promoting that this P do people know that they can come to us for it?
Often think of if someone says, what does acupuncture going to do for me? They may not. Because they’re going to have a condition that they’ve never heard, it’s going to be helpful. So I want you to thinking, when a person sees your website or your office, what do they see? What do they know? Will you be able to help them?
So what does it say? Does it talk about you where you went to school? Does it talk about your philosophy? Does it talk about the conditions? Would I be more important is a little bit of that. What have been some of your success stories of people you’ve helped? How you’ve helped them change? Think of that someone searching, like, if you think of it, if you did a Google search in your area and said acupuncture for menopause, would there be anything from your office that will come up?
If you put information like that on your website, guess what Google does. They pull that information and then that’s how someone would be directed to it. I want you to think, how does it attract. What is someone looking for? And remember, it’s not something that you need to write a lot, but something that’s going to go.
Oh, okay. Cause think of most ads don’t take that long. Does it really communicate to their needs? I mean, think of what is your specialty? What are the things that you treat? I have an office. He does only infertility. So I guess what’s prominent on it’s infancy. And he’s very busy because he’s had good success.
Everyone wants to come in because if you have a 50% increase and people getting pregnant, who doesn’t want to spend that extra money considering they’re spending 20,000, all, all the other things. So think of it this way. What is the barrier? I think one of the barriers of care is just people not knowing, but it’s often fear.
So is there anything on your site that talks about the gentle approach and that you won’t feel anything? Think the other barrier can help you. What does communicating to the patient about how it helps them kind of put it from the patient’s standpoint, if you were looking, would, you know, what’s helpful and of course, money, I think that’s often the biggest barrier.
So you want to start to think of, are there things that you’ve done on your site to show people you make it affordable? I always use cars as a way of showing you how we make things look before. When you see some of these fancy car commercials, particularly the mercury with Matthew McConaughey, do you know, they never tell you that car actually costs $80,000, because if they told you that you’d never want to buy it, but if they say, oh, you can lease it for 4 99, that seems affordable.
So also think of, are you having anything in there that helps the patient understand? Do you offer payment plans? Do you offer any other types of discounts do even take insurance and I’m not saying you have to, but you got to think of this. Someone has insured. And they want to come to you what they know.
So for instance, when you belong to any insurance or you accept insurance, I would certainly want to put it on my side. I want people to know, yes, we do take blue cross blue shield or Aetna. And I’m not saying you have to, but you got to think of if someone’s looking, how are they going to find us? And that leads me to something that the American physical therapy association talked about last year.
Now, as a seminar person, I teach seminars not only to acupuncturist, but to chiropractors, physical therapists and medical. And at one of the programs, and one of the things that the American physical therapy association literally said was this many of us look at the way chiropractors have branded themselves in the last few decades and feel a twinge of resentment.
Why can’t that be us? So think of it for a moment. Do chiropractors do a lot of marketing? Do they let people know if you’re in a car accident, you can see me. By example, if you treat the auto injuries, does anyone know you treat them? If you treat VA patients, does anyone know. Is there any way for you to find that out if I look at your site, because if I’m looking and I can’t find it.
It doesn’t mean anything to me, I’m going to move elsewhere. So realize that even these professional associations are beginning to realize that they have to do more, to do their own branding acupuncture. Let’s take control of the message. Let’s take control to put out there whether or not this stuff is covered by insurance.
I do not care because is there a value to what you do? Remember something my mom always said is this people buy what they want. And beg for what they need. Acupuncture is something people want not necessarily needed. And I hope you notice with the connotation. I mean, something that they value they’ll do think of how many people go, oh, I gotta pay that bill.
But what I really want these shoes in a way, that’s what we want to be. Someone who I know there’s enough value there. And trust me, the value can be high. What if someone’s had migraines taking medication that’s not helping. And they come in for a handful of visits to. And they’re gone. Is any of that information somewhere for people to see you allow the patient to do a testimonial?
I certainly would think of it. There’s a great opportunity here that I think all of us haven’t really taken heat of. You have control. Think of how much easier it is with the way you can market now with internet based. Forget Facebook. No, one’s looking at that anymore. Even Instagram too short. I mean, Tik TOK, forget it.
It’s just simply your site. People are doing searches. Are there any acupuncturist in this area that treats what I have or takes my insurance. So I want you to think of who are these patients going to be? If you have a mostly cash practice, talk about it, tell them why you do it. You’re making it affordable.
What if you offer pro pays or prepays? And then of course you have all these insurances. So in my opinion, there’s 12 ways to get. And I want to highlight a few of these. I mean, if you’re treating personal injury, workers’ comp VA Medicare parts seen. It’s why I bolded and underlined I’m in a Medicare part C policy.
It can be fantastic if you didn’t watch last month’s show with me, take a look. There’s some great opportunities. Here’s the thing. You need people that need your care and watch your care. And that’s where your practice will grow. Because one thing that I can always say is acupuncture does really work very well.
Once someone is. But what’s that barrier. Do I know that you can help me? How do I pay for it? That’s what mostly people are thinking. So we want to make sure we set ourselves up that yes, this is how you can come to us. Here’s how we can help. You always know there’s ways of promoting that. Like even on our website, the American acupuncture council network, here’s something last month we talked about Aetna.
Now has all of their commercial plans, not necessarily federal, but all commercial plans now have acupuncture benefits. Wow. What if you’re in the state of Massachusetts that you don’t even need to have a diagnosis? You can treat anything under their plan and there’s 12 visits. But what I want to know is does anyone know that besides you take a good look at how you’ve marketed and branded yourself when you meet someone, do they know you’re an acupoint.
Do they see someone that’s a professional, trust me, getting out in the public, having people know you is one of the best ways for people to come in because it’s people they trust and bottom line people, they help. So think of it. What have I done? Create a plan. Start to put a few things out and track what attracted people when they come in how’d you find me, then you’re going to start to learn what works.
Remember every business does that. Don’t be serious. They’re going to be people who promote and do better than others. Why? Because they have taken some, I guess, old fashioned put the nose to the grindstone and just tried some things, maybe what works for you is not for someone else, but there’s always something.
What I want to say to you is acupuncture has a great opportunity. The access that you have now to people and the understanding the growth potential is infinite. Think of addiction. Think of the VA and all the things that are there, but does anyone find you and I’ll leave it with that? What about a VA patient?
If you’re doing VA, if a veteran was looking for someone, what they find you don’t leave it to happen. Hopefully, we’ll take a little bit of this and do a little bit at a time. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but it’s trial and error. What I’ll say to everyone is get out and help yourself. We’re always here to help you.
The American acupuncture council is your partner. We want to make sure you’re doing well. Anything that you need, if you need help with coding, billing, documentation, medical necessity, you want to verify that your notes are fine. Not getting. Come to us, we offer two services to do that. Just go to our website.
If you need further help go to our website, we’re always going to be there. Don’t be afraid to call or email. I’m going to say to all of you. Thank you very much. Here’s our phone number and information there. Ultimately, we’re here for you now. Pay attention Friday, coming up is the host will be Shelly Goldstein.
I’m going to say until next time everyone. This is Sam Collins, your coding and billing expert. I’m here for you. Go out and be a good acupuncturist..