Dynamic Chiropractic - January 4, 1991, Volume 09, Issue 01|
Opening Your Chiropractic Office
Compiled by -- Kevin Pillars, D.C., and Scott Jorgensen, D.C., D.A.B.C.O.
Softcover -- 203 pages
See pages xx on how to order
Without a doubt, one of the biggest problems we have in the chiropractic profession is the gap that exists between graduation and opening a practice. To our great distress, too many of our neophytes fall prey to some of the unscrupulous practice management pitchmen, and before long they're up to their ears in a sea of unethical practice gimmicks and schemes.
One of the most common reasons for a practice to fail is that the new doctor usually has his head filled with academic clutter. Useful as it might be, the clutter doesn't pay the bills. In desperation, the doctor grabs at the golden apple dangled before him as the one chance to survive. For the practice management "farmer" -- this is harvest time.
Well do I remember one of my instructors relating problems in getting a practice started. He failed his first state boards, but succeeded on his second try. So elated was he to have all the years of schooling and testing behind him that he decided to throw a big party to celebrate the occasion. After all, he was now not only a doctor but one licensed to practice. As the night of the party wore on he began feeling depressed. There was a let-down. It was all over. He went into his backyard alone. Only the muted voices of his friends could be heard in the silence of the night. The night was clear and cool as he stood under a canopy of stars. He stood there clutching his newly obtained license. Then, in frustration, he raised the piece of paper toward the heavens and called out, "Now what?"
That little story has always personified to me the lack of preparation so many members of the profession have to face: the reality of the business of being a chiropractic physician.
For years I've read all kinds of tracts, and bits and pieces of literature on the mechanics of starting a practice, but the bits and pieces have never come together in a cohesive volume.
At last the problem has been addressed in a volume that has just been released to the chiropractic profession. It is pure nuts and bolts with not a wasted comma or period in the entire text. Even the title gets down to business. Opening Your Chiropractic Office is about as explicit as you can get. If in doubt, the subtitle says, "How To Do It, How To Do It Right, & How To Do It Cheap!."
Inside it delivers what it promises in five sections. Section I discusses the planning necessary to open your office, which includes such nasty but necessary details as financing, leases, and construction. It's also a "fun" section with its office plans and layout diagrams. But it's the part on getting bank loans that impressed me the most. Sure -- I knew what to do, but it was nice to see it in writing; the suggestions were also very good.
Section II covers the types of equipment you'll need. It's an honest section giving some pretty sage advice about specific brand name products. It's worth the price of the text by itself.
Section III is concerned with the day-to-day business of being in business. It includes such important subjects as marketing, insurance, taxes, and budgets. Only one part in this section really bothered me -- the advertising. As some regular readers may know, I detest all the "freebees" we dump on the public. Somewhere along the line, some chiropractor decided he'd give away something free to boost his business -- and it worked. This frightened the guy down the block who, in panic, decided he had to go one better. The result is that chiropractors have become the wheeler-dealers of the healing arts to the point that patients will call from office to office to see where they can get the best deal. To me, the value you place upon your service is probably what it's worth. Then who am I to say? People far more prosperous than me use all kinds of gimmicks, so the choice is really yours.
Section IV is about the legal aspects of partnerships and the sharing of overhead expenses; its value is obvious.
Section V is a series of sample forms, brochures, and ads that may be obtained after purchasing the text.
The book is one of the best written and most informative volumes on the mechanics of opening and operating a chiropractic practice that I have ever read. While aimed primarily at the new practitioner, it should be on every DC's bookshelf. As long as I've been in chiropractic, I still learned some interesting concepts that I plan to use in my practice.
Now -- if you've just graduated and you go into your backyard and lift your license to the sky and ask, "Now what?" you'll find the answers in this excellent text.