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Harnessing the Power of Private Practice Email – Part 3

The holiday season is a great time to utilize email to stay in touch with your patient list.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. Special Events or Happenings

If you’re going to be speaking at a particular event or you’re being recognized by your peers for a particular achievement, let your patients know about it.  Everyone likes to know that they’ve chosen well in choosing their medical practitioner.  If something exciting is going on with your practice, include your patients on the list of “who needs to know”.

And, if your practice is growing and you’ve added staff or even an additional location, make sure your patients get an email about it.  Your new place may be more convenient for them or, better yet, more convenient for the new patients they refer to you.

2. Confirming Appointments

When your patients call for an appointment, send them an automatic email confirming the appointment.  Then send them another email the week before their appointment and yet another one three days out.  Always include your office phone number so they can call to cancel, reschedule or get directions to your office.

3. And Last, But Not Least, The Holiday Email

The holidays are a perfect time of year to connect with your patients, engage them and let them know that you’re thinking about them.  And, even more importantly, to thank them once again for choosing your practice for their chiropractic, physical therapy or other medical care.

Any of these marketing strategies are cost effective, easy and fluid.  It’s easy to change or adapt an email campaign for specific treatment groups and let them know that they’re getting this email because you’re genuinely interested in their outcome and care.

REMINDER: TODAY is the time to be finalizing how you hit the ground running on January 3rd. This is the best time of year to institute office changes, especially fee structures. And if you love taking care of challenging cases and incredibly grateful patients, consider becoming a NeuropathyDR(TM) Treatment Center.

Harnessing the Power of Private Practice Email – Part 1

In our last article, we talked about the importance of effective communication in growing your practice.

This week, we’ll talk about one of the most effective communication tools available to the chiropractic, physical therapy and medical practice…

The almighty email…

If you have a patient list (and who doesn’t?), you have at your disposal one of the most valuable marketing tools you could ever hope for.

Just by effectively using your patient list, you can reach out and interact with your patients on an ongoing basis and make sure that you remain first and foremost in their minds when they think of your specialty.

Here are a few suggestions on exactly how to harness the power of email to grow and market your practice:

1. The Welcome Email

When a new patient comes to you for chiropractic, physical therapy or other medical care, make sure that your patient information sheet collects their email. Immediately following their visit, have your staff send them an email thanking them for choosing you for their care.  This can be done as a part of entering their information into your computer system.  Make sure the email includes information about your office hours, your phone number for appointments, any particular information they need or steps they need to take in preparation for their appointment and an opt-out option of they don’t want to receive future information from your office.

2. Patient Education

Once you have your email list in place, you can use the list to educate your patients and let them know about any of the following:

•      Recalls on prescriptions they take

•      New chiropractic treatment options available to them

•      New drug approvals from the FDA

•      Results of physical therapy clinical trials or studies

•      Medical or health trends affecting your private practice

•      Diet tips or recipes for particular conditions

Next time, we’ll share more ideas on ways to use the power of email and access to your patients’  In box to pave the way to a thriving practice.

Communication is Key to Growing Your Practice – Part 3

The last piece in the communication puzzle:

How Do You Create A Strong Dialogue With Patients?

Treat creating effective patient communication as a step by step process.  This is another by-product of living and practicing by design.  Know what you want to achieve from the very beginning.  Think of the process along these lines:

First Impressions

As with any other initial meeting, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Start with a warm greeting and treat the patient like a personal friend.  Check your own attitude or mindset before you enter the treatment room and think about how you can best serve the patient.

Initial Consult

Your initial consultation with a patient will set the tone for the entire relationship. Really make an effort to connect with the patient and listen carefully to what they tell you about their current problems.  Ask questions in a way that encourages them to give you more information.

Designing Treatment

After you start treating the patient, communicate with them as thoroughly as possible.  Pay attention to body language and attitude.  The patient may be unhappy but not forthcoming about their complaints.  If you really pay attention, you may be able to address their concerns and salvage the treatment program.

Final Consult

At the end of the treatment program, it is vital to communicate with your patient about the success or failure of all portions of the treatment protocol.  This is an especially important time to listen to the patient.  Don’t just railroad them into agreeing with your perception of how the treatment went.  Pause and let them get a word in where they need to.

Following these communication guidelines will help you build patient trust and build your medical practice at the same time.  Your stiffest competition is doubt on the part of your patients.  Learning to effectively communicate with current and prospective patients will help you design effect marketing programs and address concerns before they become problems.

Communication is the Key to Growing Your Practice – Part 1


A great website…

Expensive patient brochures…

A direct mail campaign explaining the virtues of good chiropractic care…

These are all good options and they all serve to do the one thing that you need more than anything else to market your practice.

They communicate with both current and future patients.

Communication is vital to building patient trust and removing doubt from the minds of your patients.  If your patient information materials are too one-sided or unclear, your prospects may lose faith in your ability to treat them effectively.

But communication is about more than just educating your patients.  It’s about listening to them as well.

Here are some things to remember to enhance patient communication and further your efforts to live and practice by design:

What Exactly Is Effective Communication?

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy practice and good patient outcomes.  Remember that good communication goes both ways.  While we normally think more along the lines of how we express ourselves and our ideas, good communication also involves being a good listener.  That’s especially important for doctors.  Effectively communicating with your patients determines:

  • Whether or not a patient will actually come back to you for treatment after the initial consultation
  • Your ability to properly diagnose the patient’s problem
  • Whether or not you can determine if the patient will actually follow the treatment program

Good communication skills build patient trust.  If the patient feels that you’re genuinely listening to them, they feel like you’re really working in their best interests.

Patients Are Customers, Too – Part 3

For our final installment on remembering that patients are customers, here are a few more tips to make your patients’ experience a winning one:

1.  Never talk about a patient where another patient can overhear.

As a general rule, the patients you see every day aren’t feeling well and that can make them less than pleasant.  Regardless of how the patient behaves, never express an unflattering opinion about them where other patients can hear it.

2. If what you’re about to do will be uncomfortable, warn the patient.

Your staff may perform a certain procedure 20 times a day but for your patient, it could be something totally new.  Remind them to be honest with the patient.  Letting them know ahead of time that something is going to be unpleasant, and how unpleasant it will be, will give them more of a comfort level with you and know what to expect.

3. Speak in plain terms.

Remind your staff that not everyone works for a doctor.  Don’t use medical jargon or abbreviations or other terms that the average person doesn’t understand.  Take the time to explain what’s happening and do it in terms that are clear.  Make sure the patient understands exactly what they’ve been told.

Just taking the time to treat your patients with respect and showing sensitivity and professionalism will pay benefits for your practice that are priceless.  All of these tips will go a long way toward keeping those referrals coming in from satisfied patients.

Patients Are Customers, Too – Part 2

Last time we talked about a few tips to make your patients’ experience a memorable one.  Here are a few more to pass on to your staff.

1.  Address patients as Mr., Mrs. or Ms.

Especially on the first few visits, address patients respectfully with the proper salutation.  Many elderly patients feel that being addressed by their first name is a sign of disrespect.  If in doubt, have your staff ask the patient what they prefer.

2. Be pleasant and friendly but not overly personal.

Remind your staff not to take liberties with patients that don’t exist.  Don’t assume that you have a friendly relationship unless they know the patient very well.  This can be as bad from a customer service perspective as ignoring them

3. Present the image you want your patients to see.

Never present a sloppy image to your patients.  To make sure your patients are seeing your practice in the way you want, walk in with fresh eyes the next time you pass through the door.  Enter your office and look at it as though you were a patient crossing the threshold the very first time.  If you don’t like what you see (messy workspaces, sloppily staff, food in the reception area, etc.), chances are your patients won’t be impressed either.

Stay tuned for more tips next time…

What Drives Your Practice? Part 2

Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities

Knowing the purpose of your practice allows you to see the larger picture and meet obstacles head on and plan for a successful resolution to problems.  Every practice, regardless of size, location or specialty, faces obstacles.

Do any of these potential problems sound familiar?

  • Funding
  • Staying ahead of competition from other physicians and specialties
  • Planned growth and expansion
  • Managing patient outcomes and measuring success of treatment

Once you’ve determined your overall purpose and goals, you become more of a “big picture thinker” – anticipating problems and planning solutions before they occur.  If you know where you’re going, you have a better idea of how to get there.

Having a clear picture of your purpose allows you to do your homework and take appropriate action when opportunities present themselves.  You don’t circle the drain, studying the problem, asking for more information and letting opportunities pass you by while you “think about it”.

More Chronic Care Caveats

More Chronic Care Caveats

Your patients have been through a lot. In fact, unless you or a loved one have been through a protracted illness, it can be difficult to imagine. This is where compassionate care can really help recovery.

They want to finally be free from pain. Not just medicate it away! If there are good treatments and physical modalities that help, explain the hows and whys, use good tools, and make sure your staff knows all about these too, so they become educated ambassadors of health!

They want their lives back! Yes! This is key to not only getting results, but also to getting to the heart of lifestyle problems such as obesity and immobility and poor fitness levels.

But they must completely understand the process, game plan, and their responsibilities in recovery.

Broad Skills Development are Keys to Success in practice

You must take control, fully assess their intentions from the outset, and involve yourself completely in their treatment.

And then watch your referrals and practice revenues growing every week.

It’s a win for everyone involved.

Secrets of Treating Patients With Multiple Health Issues – Part 3

Today, we’ll talk about the third and final piece of the treatment of multiple health issues puzzle – making sure your patients understand what to expect in their treatment and what the process entails.

Third – Explain The Healing Process

Take it for granted that no one before you has really explained the physical causes of their pain and/or loss of sensation.  At least not in a way they could understand.  All they know is that they’re in pain.

Neuropathy and chronic pain patients very often don’t understand their suffering because nobody ever took the time to explain the basics. And this is even more true for patients having been treated in large institutions!

For example, we suggest that you use multimedia tools. I’ll very often use simple diagrams aided by powerful interactive software to demonstrate that nerve cells being deprived of oxygen causes them to shrink, widening the synaptic junction between the nerves and preventing the impulses from reaching from one nerve to the next.

Break it down into terms they can understand.  Picture a motorcycle trying to jump from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other.  There is virtually no way it will make it to the other side.  That’s the same with nerve impulses trying to reach from one nerve to the next when the synaptic junction is enlarged.  Tell your patient that effective chronic pain care may help restore neurologic function, even where other systems have failed.  Often times you can explain to them that your treatments are like building a bridge back across the Canyon. And that like a bridge under construction, this is not going to happen overnight.

The Final Caveat

Trust and Empathy Helps Patients Get Better Faster

Your patients have been through a lot.

They want to finally be free from pain.

They want their life back!

But they must completely understand the process, game plan, and their responsibilities in recovery.

You must take control, fully assess their intentions from the outset, and involve yourself completely in their treatment.

And then watch your referrals and practice revenues growing every week.

It’s a win for everyone involved.

Secrets of Effectively Helping Patients with Multiple Health Issues – Part 2

In our last post we talked about treating patients burdened with the following symptoms following a major health issue, surgical procedure or chemotherapy:

Pain that is unmanageable, despite medications.

Loss of normal mobility., and inability to do even basic daily functions

Disability, as well as the financial and emotional strain that results.

Once you’ve done a thorough patient intake and discussed planned outcomes, you can move to phase 2 of treatment:

Address Any Underlying Metabolic Issues

Work with your patient’s other physicians and talk to the patient about any other underlying medical conditions they have.  Eliminate all other possible causes as much as possible. Get a thorough history and physical.  Chances are very good that they’ve been through a battery of tests with their regular treating physician.  If that’s the case, simply ask for the results.  If the results are current, you can save your patient a lot of time, money and frustration by not putting them through tests they’ve already had.

Election Reminders For Private Practice Owners

This weekend I spent time reading the September 3rd 2009 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The one with The Beatles breakup article on the cover. When I first glanced at it probably like most boomers, I had immediate flashbacks to 1967.

What attracted me to this issue is that a patient had deliberately placed it on my desk. No, not just for the cover story, but for Matt Tabbis’ excellent article on health care reform.

The last time I had spent time with this magazine it was a totally different format.  I must say they have them a great job with their redesign and readability.

Tabbis’ article is mandatory reading. For multiple reasons.

About halfway through the article in there is a section entitled “Provide no Leadership”.  Criticizing the president’s handling of the proposed healthcare reform bill Tabbi says Obama spoke in “generalities”.

Tabbi rightly says that at no time, “…did Obama come out and say once what he wanted Congress to do. Even in June, when congressional leaders desperate for guidance met with chief of staff …they got no signal at all about what the White House wanted”.

One of the photograph titles states, “Obama has been agonizingly noncommittal about the details of reform.”

Of course, this entire story has yet to play out to completion.

Well intentioned, but still with too many devastating consequences for America as it stands right now...

The unresolved issues remain of extreme importance to you and your patients…

Don’t Forget The Power of Focus…

Its 515 AM, I’m relaxing with a cup of coffee as I get ready to speak at the South Carolina Chiropractic Convention in Myrtle Beach SC in less than 3 hours.

As I started my day, as I do each morning I pulled out my goal and accomplishments list, I call it my AAA Priority list.

And I am very thankful to work with such great chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians of many disciplines
on Private Practice 2.0, for the new world we now face.

Its only July, and almost half the goals I set for myself and our companies, and my family are accomplished already or well on their way.

Is everything perfect?

Of course not.

Challenges to overcome?

Of course. Some will be enormous.

But without the power of daily focus, I wouldn’t be in this beautiful place writing to you this morning…

Thank you for help making my dreams come true!

Have a great day!

The Power of Focus and Living Your Dreams

What my Associate Chiropractor Failed to realize…

The last time out, I talked about unrealistic expectations from the shortest associate tenure ever
in my chiropractic practice, expecting the pot of gold just for having a degree, to be dumped in ones lap.

Well, with rare exception, you have to continuously move yourself to the pot of gold, one step at a time before you can take from it.

When you behave and express yourself in this way professionally and effectively, it gets noticed. People will want to have their friends, family and co-workers meet you too.

Otherwise, from another persons perspective you might be seen, especially by busy people as a time-trap or worse yet a complete waste of time. Harsh words? You bet. But ignore this time-tested advice at your own peril.

Make sure you understand these most important principles as the primary rules to remember. Refine and sharpen your skill presenting your 30 second speech. Be polite. Be professional and evermore effective as time passes.

The next principle is that of reciprocity. Once rapport with someone else is established, there should be an exchange of materials. Business cards, URLs, flyers, etc.

Now admittedly, some relationships will take time to nurture, but with practice and these types of business contacts, mutual sharing helps get the most results. Always be discrete and professional, especially with other professionals, or if you should encounter someone not quite on top of their game that day.

What about Networking Groups?

The next question you’ve got to answer is what about participating in business and networking groups? This is a decision you need to make early on, because most doctors will be invited to join one or more. In my experience, early in practice they can be very valuable. If there are lots of people moving through, it might be a good idea to be there every meeting.

Just be very careful of accepting an officer’s post because the time involvement can be way more than you ever imagined…

For more marketing tips, log-in at Perfect Practice Web

From a very concerned patient…National Health Plan?? – please read

Subject: National Health Plan?? – please read

Something I felt the need to pass along –
Please forward this to anyone you can think of, Republican or Democrat.Now, onto the doctor’s digest of the bill. If you read anything this year, read this:

The healthcare bill that Congress seems intent on passing is far worse and Orwellian than anything you might have imagined. I am not trying to be histrionic, the way people often get over just about anything. This is life-altering and, unlike most pieces of bad legislation, we will never be able to go back. A doctor (who is a friend of someone I know) has taken the time to read the 1000 page+ bill, something I don’t think a single politician has bothered to do. (Yesterday, John Conyers, a big proponent, actually said this:

“What good is reading the bill if its a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” You can’t make this stuff up.) This doctor has done the work so we, as citizens, don’t have to all sit down and read the entire thing ourselves. What he found is
frightening in the extreme.

But before I get to his comments, let me disabuse you of one common lie about healthcare: that 46 million Americans are uninsured. Once you remove illegal aliens, the young or well-off who choose to self-insure, and those who are only
lack insurance for temporary periods (less than a year), the real number is closer to 8 million.

Please read what’s in the bill below. After you have read it, I hope you feel the need to call, write, or email your elected representatives. It’s effective, even if you know they won’t likely vote your way. To email, just type the politicians name into your browser, hit the first link, and then hit “contact.” If we can’t be bothered to stand up to something like this, then we truly deserve what we get. The whole process takes maybe 5 minutes.

The citings below are from the proposed house version of the healthcare bill.

[There is a link below to determine who your representatives are in the US House and US Senate. Please take a few minutes in the next day or say and call them to express your displeasure with this bill. Also, please forward this to your friends and ask them to do the same.]

BTW, I saved the best for last.

Regards,

* Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming
law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not
available, you will be required to take the govt option!
* Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
* Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
* Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for
you. You will have no choice. None.
* Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free
healthcare services.
* Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
* Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all
individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
* Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree20and community organizer
health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
* Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to
participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
* Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare
Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
* Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services;
translation: illegal aliens
* Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals
for Government-run Health Care plan.
* Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have
no choice in the matter.
* Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial
review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private
insurers will be crushed.
* Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
* Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run
public plan. No alternatives.
* Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND
their families.
* Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the
public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll <>BR * Page 150: Any employer with a
payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to
6% tax on payroll
* Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t’ have acceptable healthcare (according to
the government)20will be taxed 2.5% of income.
* Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes
(Americans will pay for them). THIS ALREADY HAPPENS
* Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will
have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
* Page 203: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.”
Yes, it really says that.=2 0
* Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the
poor most affected.”
* Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the
same (thanks, AMA!)
* Page 253: Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment,
etc. BTW, they do this to an extent now.
* Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare
industries.
* Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven
wheelchairs.
* Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
* Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems
preventable re-admissions.
* Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that
results=2 0in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
* Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in
healthcare companies!
* Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without
government approval.
* Page 321: Hospital expansion
hinges on “community” input: in other words, yet
another payoff for ACORN.
* Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e.,
rationing.
* Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans,
HMOs, etc.
* Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by
phone).
* Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
* Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs=2 0for
ACORN.
* Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government
intervenes in your marriage.
* Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and
rationing those services.

The best of the best:

* Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you
get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process).

THIS IS WHAT A DOCTOR USUALLY DOES.

* Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
Can’t wait for them to decide only blue-eyed and blond haired people deserve
healthcare!
* Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens,
assisted suicide, euthanasia?
* Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable
powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of
time.
* Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, gui
ding
you in death.
* Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment;
government dictates how your life ends.
* Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as
patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans.
An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
* Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at
end-of-life.

It’s now or never: Fixing Healthcare with Common Sense

Fixing HealthCare with Common Sense

What it will finally take is anyone’s guess. Our candidates for public office are great at talking a good game, and oh what a show Wednesday on ABC promises to be, but what ultimately it will take is a combination of “Common Sense” (written in 1776 from Founding Father Thomas Paine*) and a return of major corporate ethics, with effective, consumer driven oversight and simplified regulation.

Assuming we keep a private, free enterprise system, lets finally put the consumer in charge, just like with other types of insurance. Lets simultaneously expand HSAs and FSA programs and benefits to further breed responsible healthcare consumption.

It is likely the best solution, easiest to implement without burdening us with bigger government. I say let companies like Geico, Progressive and others that market auto insurance direct to consumers into the ring. Let consumer choice drive them to cut costs by uncoupling dollars from non-benefits payment. Give them simple rules to follow, nationwide, exempt from state lines. This could be huge, and would not take any dismantling of our major delivery systems.

Remember, Medicare runs on 4% administrative overhead, but currently private health insurers are closer to 25%. Much of this goes to the questionably ethical profiteering of extreme proportions, exorbitant salaries for executives and contributes to ridiculously poor provider reimbursements.

And, how about adding return of premium benefits to reward the healthiest while not penalizing the seriously ill. This is a tremendously powerful idea that would reap huge benefits for the consumer. It’s already done with disability and some other types of insurance and mutual insurance companies regularly pay dividends to payees. So, Lets make sure that some of insurance premium dollars can be returned if consumers stay healthy.

Lets also finally de-link health insurance from employers and employment benefits once and for all. This has been an absolute catastrophe. Even the Boston Globe recently acknowledged this. The extreme burden on US businesses of all sizes from health care premiums is well known. The trickle down benefits to business, like the automakers, municipalities and others could also be a huge economic stimulus.

Uncoupling health insurance benefits from employment would make consumers ultimately more fiscally savvy and responsible. This could quite likely increase their wages simultaneously as employees would now purchase all benefits outside of their work. Uncle Sam can help with deductibility and tax exemptions, maybe larger in the beginning to help foster the transition.

I also believe that there should be real consumer dollars available for CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) that can be used in the treatment of our most common and non-life threatening disorders especially if the consumer does not utilize more expensive traditional pathways for the same condition. Back pain and headaches are two very real examples that both happen to be still the most common reasons for doctor’s visits, and are at least in part linked to stress and unhealthy lifestyles.

This mechanism alone would foster consumer education to choose their own healthcare pathways with taking an additional financial hit in addition to premiums.

Any effective system must simultaneously provide equitable reimbursement and other incentives to all licensed doctors of all disciplines as well as ancillary providers for our society to keep great healthcare providers in the system.

This must include simplified reimbursement schedules, equal across the professions for identical procedures. I strongly favor a diagnosis-based system with utilization review only for those cases outlying the norms. This could be a technological piece of cake with a national electronic healthcare database for all Americans.

Of course, there are other issues that need to be simultaneously addressed. These include malpractice provisions (some experts suggest in a separate healthcare “court” in addition to capped awards). Better awareness of poor outcomes vs. malpractice by society at large would really help as well.

Drug costs, competition and widespread availability of tested alternatives to prescription drugs all need to be handled. Again, a consumer driven Wal-Mart type of distribution may be what already does it.

So, how can we help? Lets make sure we educate ourselves first and foremost as to what’s wrong with our current system and push our lawmakers toward better consumer choices. Take a real hard look at their differences on these topics when you vote and support any politician, as some are huge. Let your patients know who these consumer friendly elected officials are in your area are too.

Utilize cost effective preventive screenings in your practice, and advocate the same for our families. Lets make sure we teach our kids and our patients all the rewards of better health choices like non-smoking, stress management, diabetes prevention, relationship choices including illicit drugs and sexual behavior, and permanent weight control.

How it will all turn out is anybodies guess. I continue to be as vocal about these issues with my patients and community, and urge you to do the same.

Not Unlike Thomas Paine did over 200 years ago.

(*Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.)

The Consequences of inaction…

…can be devastating.

It’s a fact. Failure to act, and act swiftly and decisively causes more lost opportunity than perhaps any other single human behavior.

Likewise, making the little decisions more quickly, and the bigger ones with more clarity will move you ever closer to your goals.

This, is the biggest take away from our conferences this week with our Gold and Plus members. Those who make it big, live their entire lives on this basic principle.

Really Looked at your marketing campaigns lately?

Missing real leadership in tougher times is driving responses to an entirely new set of on-line ads, that 1 year ago were almost irrelevant. It will tell you what people really want, and need right now.
The same is true off-line.
Really.
I recently took a hard look at what on-line ads are pulling the hardest.
Boy, has that changed!

How many businesses and practices are oblivious to this?

It also explains why private practices, lead by true integrity continue to support the community and are themselves very healthy.

Fixing HealthCare with Common Sense

What it will finally take is anyone’s guess. Our candidates for public office are great at talking a good game, but what ultimately it will take is a combination of “Common Sense” (written in 1776 from Founding Father Thomas Payne*) and a return of major corporate ethics, with effective, consumer driven oversight and simplified regulation.

It is likely the best solution, easiest to implement without burdening us with bigger government. I say let companies like Geico, Progressive and others that market auto insurance direct to consumers into the ring. Let consumer choice drive them to cut costs by uncoupling dollars from non-benefits payment. Give them simple rules to follow, nationwide, exempt from state lines. This could be huge, and would not take any dismantling of our major delivery systems.

Remember, Medicare runs on 4% administrative overhead, but currently private health insurers are closer to 25%. Much of this goes to the questionably ethical profiteering of extreme proportions, exorbitant salaries for executives and contributes to ridiculously poor provider reimbursements.

And, how about adding return of premium benefits to reward the healthiest while not penalizing the seriously ill. This is a tremendously powerful idea that would reap huge benefits for the consumer. It’s already done with disability and some other types of insurance and mutual insurance companies regularly pay dividends to payees. So, Lets make sure that some of insurance premium dollars can be returned if consumers stay healthy.

Lets also finally de-link health insurance from employers and employment benefits once and for all. This has been an absolute catastrophe. Even the Boston Globe recently acknowledged this. The extreme burden on US businesses of all sizes from health care premiums is well known. The trickle down benefits to business, like the automakers, municipalities and others could also be a huge economic stimulus.

Uncoupling health insurance benefits from employment would make consumers ultimately more fiscally savvy and responsible. This could quite likely increase their wages simultaneously as employees would now purchase all benefits outside of their work. Uncle Sam can help with deductibility and tax exemptions, maybe larger in the beginning to help foster the transition.

I also believe that there should be real consumer dollars available for CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) that can be used in the treatment of our most common and non-life threatening disorders especially if the consumer does not utilize more expensive traditional pathways for the same condition. Back pain and headaches are two very real examples that both happen to be still the most common reasons for doctor’s visits, and are at least in part linked to stress and unhealthy lifestyles.

This mechanism alone would foster consumer education to choose their own healthcare pathways without taking an additional financial hit in addition to premiums.

Any effective system must simultaneously provide equitable reimbursement and other incentives to all licensed doctors of all disciplines as well as ancillary providers for our society to keep great healthcare providers in the system.

This must include simplified reimbursement schedules, equal across the professions for identical procedures. I strongly favor a diagnosis-based system with utilization review only for those cases outlying the norms. This could be a technological piece of cake with a national electronic healthcare database for all Americans.

Of course, there are other issues that need to be simultaneously addressed. These include malpractice provisions (some experts suggest in a separate healthcare “court” in addition to capped awards). Better awareness of poor outcomes vs. malpractice by society at large would really help as well.

Drug costs, competition and widespread availability of tested alternatives to prescription drugs all need to be handled. Again, a consumer driven Wal-Mart type of distribution may be what already does it.

So, how can we help? Lets make sure we educate ourselves first and foremost as to what’s wrong with our current system and push our lawmakers toward better consumer choices. Take a real hard look at their differences on these topics when you vote and support any politician, as some are huge. Let your patients know who these consumer friendly elected officials are in your area are too.

Utilize cost effective preventive screenings in your practice, and advocate the same for our families. Lets make sure we teach our kids and our patients all the rewards of better health choices like non-smoking, stress management, diabetes prevention, relationship choices including illicit drugs and sexual behavior, and permanent weight control.

How it will all turn out is anybodies guess. I continue to be as vocal about these issues with my patients and community, and urge you to do the same.

Not Unlike Thomas Payne did over 200 years ago.

(*Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.)

Talking Trash About Success

Talking Trash About Success

It’s a fact; politically self-serving agendas have been a part of history for centuries. Even back in Ancient Rome and Greece, elders warned about the expansion of self-perpetuating plutocracies.

Right now though, in the midst of an economic meltdown, the constant injection into the media is fear from politicians who we entrust to be leaders.

Rather than reassurance this trash talk about the wealthy is destructive, and controlling. Too often, the very criticisms our politicians hurl at others, mirror habits that exist in their own lives, a fact too many of their constituents and certainly the paparazzi ignore.

It’s the deeper message though, most recently not so hidden, that in my opinion is the most dangerous to private healthcare, especially for our student doctors.

That message is that being wealthy and ultra successful is somehow bad. That because you did well through your own efforts, your results must now be penalized.

Never has such a more dangerous notion been put forth with unquestioning by the mainstream media.

Its NOT wealthy successful people that brought the economy to it’s knees, It’s now many years of bad decisions and top down government and corporate corruption that transcends political parties and international boundaries, fueled by incredible greed. Unfortunately, these basic facts are too often conspicuously absent from the daily media banter.

It’s the wealthy and most successful (not the greedy and corrupt) that pay the bulk of taxes already. It’s the wealthy that are the philanthropists and benefactors in a free society.

For those younger than I, this attitude is nothing new. The problem is, in our current world, this trash talk about success is today again everywhere. This only serves to perpetuate dangerous myths, especially to our young and inexperience citizens.

In fact, the greatest minds in history have warned about the dangers of unbridled political banter.

So what can you do?

First of all, have the guts to acknowledge media BS as just that.

Don’t focus and dwell on what’s wrong with the world.

Instead, focus on improving it, one patient visit at a time.

Yes, a lot has changed in practice! It’s changed in your patient’s lives too. And some have been enormous.

So, what have you done lately to help deal with their changes and how they utilize your care, or not?

And what about their own fears and concerns? Are you like a deer in the headlights, or a pillar of community strength?

When is the last time you and your team took actions that can make their days brighter, and their futures even healthier? The possibilities for practice expansion with this one are huge!

But, most importantly, make sure your daily actions and decisions are ultimately putting you in charge of your life. Take full responsibility for your own results.

Work a little harder, maybe a whole lot smarter to develop your own future choices and flexibility.

Always remember, no matter how ineffective prior decisions may have been, or how bad things may have been this is a brand new day.

Completely new opportunities abound.

But only if you decide to be fully engaged.

Tough economy or not, there is no better time to make your mark than right now.

I would also assert that is this the very best time to refocus, and reorganize. Learn new systems. Invest in your business skills development. Reorganize. Rebuild if you must!

Be sure you are limiting your media exposure. Focus on your new business and personal goals. Plan now to be reaping the rewards, without guilt.

Almost 100 years ago, Wallace Wattles warned those aspiring to make better lives for themselves to ignore the politicians.

To focus only upon your desired outcomes with continuous gratitude being your dominant thought.

Doing everything with the utmost care and attitude of devout service.

He called his big idea the “Certain Way”.

I believe he was right.