So what I wanna emphasize for this first of the year is talking, where are our patients? How do I get my patients?
Click here to download the transcript.
Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors. Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.
Hey, good day everyone, and a very happy New Year. This is our first show this year. Welcome, and let’s get your year started off in a way that’s going to continue to help your practice grow, to help you continue to do what you like to do, which is help people get better. But of course, how do we make sure we help people get better?
We make sure by having patients and understanding where those patients are gonna come from. So what I wanna emphasize for this first of the year is talking. Where are our patients? How do I get my patients? This is a little different from our normal kind of just butts, nuts and bolts of coding and billing.
So let’s go ahead and go to the slides. Let, where are your patients and what are the barriers for them to come in your office? , you know, how do I make sure that I’m accessing? Because any practice to grow means we have to have more people that we can see. So I wanna focus in on understanding like how do I set forward my plan for the year?
And I want you starting to think about, have you written down any goals? Have you written down any protocols? Like what am I going to accomplish? And then start to look at some steps to do that. I think most things you have to do an algorithm. You’ll hear that term a lot, but it’s really just nothing more than a step-by-step process.
And the good news is when you set up a process, if you start doing something and it’s not working great, because now you can go back and fix it and change it. So that’s why the best invention often is errors, because with errors you continue on. It’s a scientific method. So we’re gonna create an algorithm for you.
And the starting point this year is gonna be setting for kind of that plan to promote my practice, prepare myself to get those people, and start determining like, well, how many patients can I see? Can I see five a day, 10 a day, 20 a day? And if whatever, I wanna see, am I seeing that amount? So I start with this though, for acupuncture, you gotta think of.
barrier to your care is the kind of, why do people know what you do, what you can help them with? Because if I drive by an office that says it does acupuncture, I’ll go, okay, but what does that mean to me in the general public? Think of it, ask your friends, ask acquaintances, your family even, and say, Hey, what is it?
Do you think I. , what do I help with? And you wanna start to notice that you’ll get a lot of varied dancers. Some could be very good, but many of them are gonna be very poor. And what I’m bringing this up for is that beginning to understand how do we educate people to understand what we do and the why they come in.
I mean, obviously you can look at the things that acupuncture helps people do. I mean, headaches, lower back pain, neck pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, respiratory disorders, tennis elbow. But what about like worker? Can acupunctures treat workers’ compensation patients? Absolutely. Can it pay pretty well?
You’re darn right. What about personal injury? People involved in a car accident? How about veterans for the va? So think in those terms. Do those people who have that even though to come to you, think of how chiropractors really market towards car accidents and tell people, Hey, if you’re injured in a car accident, come see us.
What about many of you? We’ve had some pretty crazy weather across the US in the last few weeks. Do you think there’s been a few more car accidents than. I would think so statistically, which means some of your patients have been involved in an accident, are they choosing to seek care with you? And if they’re not, why not?
I would start with do they even know they can see you? A lot of times people think, oh no, my acupuncture wouldn’t be covered there. You bet it will. But how about conditions like fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, chemotherapy, inducive, nausea, dental pain, labor pain, and I’ve just listed a few. But all of these conditions, by the way, have coverage under insurance, but it also has coverage under, if someone wants help and you can make them better, are they gonna choose you?
Yes. But you gotta give them the why. So here would be my, If you treat any of these things, how does anyone know you do? Is there anything on your website, anything on your social media, anything that purports you to do this? By example, if you look up to have acupuncture, coding and billing seminars, I’ll guarantee if you type that in, , we’ll be the first place up.
And the reason why is we put information out. We don’t pay for it. We just put so much information, we’re gonna be the first place because we do so much work on it. We want you to know this is the place to access it. So think in the same way for yourself. Are you creating a funnel? Are you creating a way for people to come to you to understand what you do?
Like if I typed in VA acupuncture and typed in my city, would your name pop up? Maybe not. Well, let’s go with the why not? Well, why not? Could be. They just don’t know. But I think a lot of it is, it’s just unknown. So we’ve gotta do a better job of putting stuff out. Like what articles have you written? What things have you put out about it?
Testimonials even, cuz remember, Google and things like that. Scrub websites to look for information, and they put those towards the top. The other factor of course, though, is just fear. Are there some people who are fearful of acupuncture? Ooh, I don’t know about the needles. So what do you create to make sure that people are comfortable?
Any explanation there? Or how about just money? . Is money an issue? Well, you bet it is. Healthcare in our country definitely is dependent upon how much money do you have? And if someone doesn’t have money, they’re not coming in. And this is where you have to look and go, well wait a minute. What about someone who has insurance by example?
I’ll give a couple of things. That’s just happened this year. The state of Colorado now has a mandatory six visits of acupuncture on all insurance policies. Wow. Well, all the Medicare, that’s an exception. That’s pretty. Oregon now has 12 visit. But how many of you there in those states have even promoted or understood or even know it’s happening?
We’ve gotta do a better job of communicating. Think of how many plans that you might be aware of that do cover acupuncture. If you take that insurance and it pays for acupuncture, you bet. I wanna let people know because if I have it and I don’t see your name, maybe I’m not gonna pick you. So I want you to think about what is a barrier for care.
It’s often money. I mean, it’s so much. So there’s actually a diagnosis for not having money to go to the. It’s Z 91,190. It’s patients non-compliance with other medical treatment and regimen due to financial hardship. Do you think that’s a big deal in our country? Yeah. We wouldn’t have a code for it. So this is where I think acupuncturists.
Are kind of that bridge because you’ve never been fully dependent upon insurance. Not that I wouldn’t use it if it’s covered, but you’ve also taught people the value of your service and that there is a value to getting it just paying out of pocket. My mom always said something that’s always stuck with me.
People buy what they want and beg for what they. . Think about that for a second. Does anyone truly need acupuncture? Now, I know we say that, but are they going to like die without it? No. So they have to want it. The good news is people who want things, those are the things they purchase. You see it all the time.
You ever see someone that needs to pay their rep? They buy the shoes they want in the interim. So you wanna put yourself in that side to understand that, create what you do. Because when someone comes to you think of the beauty of what you. Compared to just about any other practitioner. How many of you’ve had a patient that came in your office with a migraine or a headache or some type of pain and they tell you, oh, I’ve been to doctor one, two, and three, medical chiro, all of this, and they come in your office and think, well, I don’t know if it’s even gonna help, but I figure I’ll give it a try.
And then they get literally just a single visit or a few and go, I can’t believe it. It’s. That is powerful. There is value to that. When you can help me, I will pay for it. But you have to create the access so someone comes in. So thinking of it from this standpoint, are you gonna have a lot of people that will pay cash?
Absolutely. You will. I think a good portion of your practice should be cash, but also insurance and it should ebb and flow. You shouldn’t be interdependent on one or the. Because let’s face it, someone who has really good insurance is gonna want to use it, so I want to access that. But if they have very poor insurance, I’m not, and I’m gonna put them in cash.
Or if they have no insurance, we know from the National Institutes of Health that people don’t have as good a coverage for acupuncture benefits. They’re just not as good. They’re there, but not as good. But the data from that shows people are more willing to pay out of pocket for acupuncture because you have created that.
So if they are, what can I do if I’m treating a cash patient? Well, that’s pretty easy, you treat them. But let’s talk about how other professions deal with it. So we can kind of take a page from their book. Take a look at this. This is from the American Physical Therapy Association. This is something they wrote in 2022, and they indicated that higher copayments decreased the likelihood of people coming in.
Well, that’s kind of a duh, of course. . If people have to pay more outta pocket, they’re less likely to come unless they can place enough value to it. Now, here’s what’s interesting for them. It indicates that as soon as a person pays $30, about 30% of the people or one third of them leave, they don’t come in.
And so I thought when I saw this, I thought, Hmm, is that something that’s gonna apply to our profession? Acupuncture? And it turns out, actually in the article at the end, it says, for PTs it does, but for acupuncturists it. So it shows that I think when people choose acupuncture, they understand that, you know what?
I know my insurance is not gonna cover a whole thing, but if it covers a little bit, great. So that $30 is much less of a barrier. So keep in mind, the more value you give, , the more someone’s willing to pay, again, buy what they want. Here’s something else this article pointed out. Now, it’s not specific to Cairo or it’s not specific to acus, but I think we can take something away about Cairos.
Physical therapists are a little jealous of chiros, and I’d actually say a view a bit because how you have branded yourselves. You’ve never been fully dependent upon the insurance model, and I think that’s why so. Medical models can have failure because if you’re trying to do all cash, oh, my insurance doesn’t cover, I’m not coming in, because you’ve always dealt with both ends, I think it gives you a better way of dealing with that.
So it’s not quite as much a barrier. And I think here it shows the value of the service. So let’s talk about, that’s the barrier, but where are these patients coming from? Well, in my opinion, you’re gonna have 12 types of patients that can come in your office. You’re gonna have three methods. That’s kind of how when someone pays out of.
and then nine different sources that could be insurance, which you can see here. Those nine sources. I’d like to access some of them. Here’s what I would point out. Some of these are not that good. Like I’m not that interested in some of those HMOs that pay only like $35 a visit, so those I’m not too excited about.
But what about a standard insurance that pays several hundred? What if you’re in Southern California and treating someone that’s a longshoreman or a New York with New York ship or Florida with Anthem and these plans? Some of these plans can be excellent, va. How about an auto accident? Think of it. If someone’s in an auto accident, would they even think of coming to us?
How about work comp veterans? If, if you treat VA patients, you know those pay well, how do you get them to come in your office? Think about when’s the last time you have something out letting people know. Do you have a sign up that says you treat veterans or is there anything on your website? There’s lots of tools.
To do that. I mean, heck, what about Medicare? Now you think, oh, Sam, come on. Medicare only covers chronic low back pain has to be supervised by an md. That is correct. That is true Medicare Part B, and that’s a little difficult because you wouldn’t need a medical provider to work with. But what about Medicare Part C policies, so-called advantage plans.
By the way, close to 50% of people who have Medicare have that type, and most of them have routine acupuncture, which covers quite well. So what I want to access those patients, I would, but how would someone know you take. If you don’t have it on your site, well, obviously y’all take cash. People will come in.
Well, someone who pays cash, great. They just pay for the service. But let’s talk about what other things might there be to create less of a barrier. What if you have a cash price but you give a small percentage off at pay a time of service? I like that. I mean, that makes sense to me. You know, if your visit’s a hundred and if you pay cash, it’s 90.
That’s fair. You can charge a hundred for insurance, 90 for. Because you can give a small discount, very small, five to 15%. The one exception is California providers. Of course you probably are familiar, but outside of that, a small discount, that’s fine. But does that create a barrier or less of a barrier for the patient to come?
I think so. But what about something else? You ever heard of prepaid plans? What do I mean by that? Someone comes in, instead of buying one visit, they buy 20. So I want us to think of a minute for business models, cash. Can you just waive fees? The answer is no. You can’t say, Hey, I won’t collect it. So be careful of that.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have hardships here and there, but you can give discounts. You know, as I say, the five to 15%, and I wanna focus more a little bit on prepaid plans, but I wanna look at it from this standpoint. You’ve all seen modern Acupuncture. Is that a very popular place where people go, you bet.
How does that model work and think in this way? Are you doing anything to adapt your office? Well, let’s talk business for a second. , you are all familiar or many of you should be familiar with the company Sears. In 10 years, most people won’t be because the company doesn’t exist anymore. It’s bankrupt. Why?
It’s really funny. Sears was Amazon before Amazon, but no one at Sears had the wherewithal to look and go, Hey, when Amazon was coming in and shipping things, Sears already have that inform. They had a catalog. Why didn’t they have it online? People could ship. If they did that, would they still be around? So I want us also thinking of adapt.
Think of the company, modern Acupuncture. Have you ever thought of, could I make that model maybe work a little bit? I will say pretty much every state, so long as there’s a modern acupuncture in your state, it’s allowed. There’s some restrictions I’ll go over in a moment, but what you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with a modern acupuncture style is the person is buying instead of one visit at a time.
Maybe they’re buying 10, so they pay 10 up front. Maybe instead of it being 75 each, it’s 50 each, so it’s $500, but it’s paid up front. One lump. I like that. Patient’s more committed to come in. The only thing you have to make sure is if they don’t want to come anymore refund what they didn’t use. And a couple of things.
If you’re in Montana or in Florida, you do have to put the money in a trust account. Florida’s a little unique that if it’s under 500 you don’t, but can’t be more than 1500. What I will say is just know your state. It’s one of the things we teach at our seminars to make sure you’re compliant. We do with the network, but I’m gonna say this to me, would be a good avenue because there are people going, well wait, I need to come 10 times.
That’s your recomme. But you know how it works. After two or three visits, they feel pretty good. So they stop coming because they go, well, I feel good enough and I don’t wanna pay a hundred a visit, but what if you offered it so it was 50 or 75 prepaid? Chances are they’re gonna be more committed to it.
That part you might want to think of because that’s exactly how the modern acupuncture model works, and being modern acupuncture is the biggest area of growth in your profession, wouldn’t you think you may wanna adapt to that? I mean, think of it this way, did target adopt the 99 cents? a little bit. You can still go into Target and buy expensive watches and so forth, you know, electronics.
But do they also, when you first walk into Target, have a small 99 cent store? A few things. So there’s nothing wrong offering. A little bit of both. Don’t have to be mutual exclusive. You want to think of, I wanna accept patients, I wanna accept patients who can pay the fee. That’s reasonable. And you certainly can come up with some reason for that.
So think along the lines of where are these patients coming from? How do I access them? How do they know I do it? If you’re doing prepaid plans, how does anyone know? , are you putting anything out there to let people know this is how we can make care more accessible to you? Remember, think of how you shop.
Think of how you choose things. Now, the good news as a healthcare provider, a lot of it is based on just good word of mouth. You know, often when the best place to get a patient referral. My acupuncturist, the one I go to personally, is not very cheap. I have very good insurance, so that helps. However, I will tell people when they go to her, I’ll say She’s fantastic.
She really is helpful. She’s thorough and all those things, and I tell them, Hey, she’s not the cheapest, but she’s really good. No one I ever sent to her goes because they think she’s cheap. They go because she’s good. And I want you to think of, is that what people are saying about you? So you gotta start to create like what is my image?
What am I doing and what type of business I’m promoting. I have a friend that’s a very expensive acupuncturist. She’s very, very busy, but she treats a certain type of clientele. She knows her market. Start to look and go, what is my market? How do I do? Because your success is dependent upon you. How are you setting up to get more people, whether it’s cash, insurance, or ait.
you might wanna get some ways to help that. We do seminars, we do continued education. That helps that. This is our website for the network. We have upcoming seminars this weekend. It’s gonna be on Eastern time zone. In two weeks it’ll be on the eastern, uh, central time zone, but it’s there to help you understand what does it work in my state?
How do I make all this work? I can go into much more detail and really give you help. In fact, I can become part of your staff. You can join our network where Sam is your staff. Call me. Email me. We want to figure out how to make sure your office is success. Your success is ours. So let’s start the New Year’s.
Let’s create a plan. Let’s start getting things together. Probably want to come to me for a little bit more help, but this is gonna be a good starting point. Until next time, everyone, I wish you the best. Good success for 2023.