The Value of an Associate Doc as a Care Giver

To give this article some context, we must start by recognizing there are different business models inside the chiropractic profession. There are several ways to do this right. This article is focused on a specific associate doctor roll called the “care giver.”

The simple math on a caregiver is impressive. When an associate doctor serving as a care giver can handle 200 visits a week in an office, and we use an average collection per adjustment of $50, that care-giver produces about $500,000 a year in total revenue from the care that they provide.  Those are impressive numbers!

Practices obviously need someone who can do the work that drives the practice. In our profession, this would be a licensed DC. However, practices also need someone on the frontlines promoting the practice so that you can serve more people in your community.

The usual scenario for a practice is the owner wears both of these hats. They are part time marketer and business development expert, and part time clinician who adjusts and cares for the people in the practice.

As a practice grows, it is common for the owner to realize that having someone whose sole focus and dedication is on providing great care for patients is a simple and effective way to scale the business. This model also provides incredible schedule flexibility for the owner because they have someone else who can help do the work of being a chiropractor.

This then frees up time to allow the owner, another doctor, or even a trained marketing specialist, to focus on promoting and growing the practice. All while the care giver is busy focusing on providing great care to the people in your community.

The reason that we take so much time to clearly differentiate the different rolls in a practice is that care givers often create a great deal of confusion and frustration for owners. We regularly here from owners that are frustrated with their associate doctors.

The conversation is typically, “I am really frustrated with my associate doc because they are adjusting 150 visits a week but they haven’t brought in a single new patient this month. They don’t like do screenings, and they won’t get in front of 50 people and perform a talk, or if they do go our and talk, they do not convert many people to come in for a new patient exam. I think I need to let them go because they are not as effective as I was when I was starting out.”

This is the key point. Understand this…The first reason this happens is personality difference. We are all different, each with our own unique set of behavioral traits and experiences. The second reason this happens is an unclear understanding of why people perform well in different environments.

So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if the practice owner is more of an entrepreneurial type of business owner, then you have to appreciate the owner is hard wired in a completely different way than a care giver. These are obviously broad generalizations. You must understand there are unique nuances between each of us. But, from a high-level perspective, this is an extremely common reason that these associate doctor relationships fail so frequently.

Typically, the owner of a practice, if a chiropractor, has a much higher tolerance for risk, tends to be comfortable taking control and leading and dealing with confrontation, and will easily step outside of their comfort zones to make the business work because they have so much on the line. This is obviously not always the case, however, this is the most common behavioral profile that we see for an owner.

Typically, an owner is fundamentally wired differently than a doctor who would be thrilled at the prospect of serving people in a practice that they do not have to own, do not have to deal personally with the stress of managing staff, and that provides a great living for their family. It is most chiropractors dream to serve as a chiropractor and carry out the career they got into in the first place.

Creating this opportunity and environment for chiropractors to thrive in as care givers presents an amazing opportunity for the clinic owner with a vision of creating a scalable business model that can serve more.

– Allen Miner DC