Chiropractic Business Models and Multi-Discipline Health Care
The “one-stop shopping” craze has hit the chiropractic business world, for better or worse. Chiropractors are choosing to involve themselves with partnerships or businesses that offer multiple medical services under one roof. Medical doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors, for example, might be found in the same location. However, some major concerns, including HIPAA compliance and business considerations, are keeping many chiropractors from jumping on the “multi-discipline” bandwagon.
The Pitfalls of Multi-Discipline Offices for Chiropractors
The multi-disciplinary model has a wide range of pitfalls for chiropractic businesses. Here are the most common:
- Sacrifice of the subluxation-based philosophy. Many potential multi-disciplinary partners won’t “go along for the ride” when it comes to understanding and supporting chiropractic care. Make sure you’re compatible with potential partners before you make the plunge.
- Business structures. It can actually be illegal for, say, a chiropractor to employ a physician or surgeon. A “corporate structure” must be set up to manage those types of situations, according to a chiroeco.com article. Determining the proper legal framework for a multi-discipline organization can be time-consuming and costly.
- Legal tangles. HIPAA regulations, rules and liability, and even billing can become a complicated mess tied up in a red-tape bow once multiple practitioners are involved across multiple disciplines. Get expert advice on everything from medical testing to coding and billing to HIPAA regulations and compliance before you consider setting up this kind of practice.
- Loss of professional freedom. If you engage in a partnership with other medical professionals, you lose some of your ability to choose the direction of your practice. In some particularly dangerous multi-discipline setups, questionable “consultants” have convinced chiropractors to involve themselves in operations with an “owner M.D.” who has never even set foot in the practice. Run from any business entity that offers this kind of setup. Every involved member should have a stake and a say in day-to-day operations of the business—and that includes you!
Multi-discipline offices can also offer some advantages. Keeping patients in-house can actually ease the burden when it comes to adhering to HIPAA regulations, and can also improve your profit margins. If you find other specialists, physicians, or therapists who embrace the subluxation philosophy so central to chiropractic care, you may find that you have an unprecedented ability to provide your patients with truly holistic care.
If you’re considering going the multi-discipline route:
- Consider consolidating instead of diversifying. It might make more sense to band together in a group practice with other chiropractors to improve your profit margins, rather than becoming involved in a multi-discipline organization.
- Plan. Whether you choose a group chiropractic office or a cross-discipline team, take your time. You’ll need a flawless business plan and full agreement from all parties before you open your doors to ensure success.
- Consult. Find an experienced lawyer, an experienced CEO, and a HIPAA expert before you finalize any lengthy agreement. Make sure any business consultant you hire has an impeccable record.
- Keep spotless records. Choose a top-notch software package (or have one custom designed) to help you manage every aspect of the business. Without a well-designed, streamlined organizational system, you’ll find yourself buried under masses of paperwork within the first week.
A multi-discipline practice doesn’t have to be anathema to the chiropractic business—but it can be quite dangerous. Make decisions carefully. If you do decide to try the multi-discipline approach, do so with caution and with the proper guidance.
Give us a call or fill out our online form for more information on how to make your chiropractic office HIPAA compliant! We can help you build a solo, group, or multi-disciplinary practice that follows HIPAA regulations and keeps your chiropractic business interests well protected.[form contact-us]