Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are Chiropractors Turning Their Backs On An Aging Population?

The Healthcare Industry is Booming, but Who's Getting Paid?

The healthcare industry has become a multibillion dollar monster, but while patients see costs skyrocket and insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and even attorneys see their profit margin grow, why is it that chiropractic providers are seeing decreased revenue per patient year after year?
Experts consider mismanagement, exorbitant waste and fraud to be some of the main elements that contribute to the out of control numbers and although rarely contributing to the problem, Chiropractors are feeling the pinch. A recent report from The Institute of Medicine found that over $750 billion was attributed to these factors in 2009 alone. This was almost thirty percent of spending for that year. Other factors such as the increase in average age, expensive advances in treatment and care as well as "defensive" care are also responsible for the rise in costs.
Are You Missing Out By Not Catering to The Needs of An Aging Population?
The population is aging and according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 71 million Americans, or 19.6% of the population will be 65 years old or older by 2030. This is an increase of 7.2% compared to the 35 million Americans 65 years or older in the 2000 census. As the population ages we see an increase in chronic illness such as poor joint health, deteriorating bone density and neurological disorders as well as the need to utilize health care services more frequently, yet the reimbursement to chiropractic and other medical practitioners to care for and treat these patients adequately has decreased. Private practitioners are finding that while they are well versed in patient care, they are not as prepared to keep up with ever changing guidelines for reimbursement. The system lacks the infrastructure to provide Chiropractors with the support they need.
There is also a growing need for more coordination between providers so that treatment is streamlined to properly treat the patient, as well as avoid duplication of services that cost providers in expected reimbursement.
Defensive Care Creates Challenges for Most Doctors while Creating Opportunity for Chiropractic
In 2004, The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment found the need to define defensive medicine. This ever growing issue occurs when the practitioner feels the need to order more tests or procedures to not only treat the patient, but to assure they don't subject themselves to liability issues or frivolous malpractice lawsuits when the patient outcome is less than desirable. This type of care weighs heavily on the system by driving up health insurance costs, medical provider malpractice insurance costs and even causing some doctors to turn away high risk patients. Many of these "high risk" patients could find tremendous benefits from the healing power of Chiropractic care.
Medical Advancements Create a "True Healing" Void?
Advances in pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and treatment options have provided many patients with treatments and solutions for their ailments, but the money spent on pharmaceuticals in the U.S. is almost twice what is spent in the rest of the world. The biomedical industry has also grown by an average of 10 percent per year since 2004. Chiropractic care could address many of the problems facing these over-medicated members of the U.S. population.
When it comes to health care costs for the patient and the lack of reimbursement for most medical providers the solutions aren't always simple. However, the facts clearly point to a need for shift by the Chiropractic community in both marketing and demographic focus.
Getting Paid to Be The Hero
If the services your practice offers do not cater to the specific needs of our aging community your practice is missing out on a valuable revenue stream and seniors in your area are missing out on affordable wellness. Our senior population has on average a higher level of care plan compliance when compared to other demographics and are extremely vocal about the Doctors they love outperforming every other demographic 2 to 1 when it comes to referrals. Investing both time and capital adjusting your practice to welcome this important patient demographic could be the best business decision you make.

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