"I get screwed by too many lawyers"

Quickie Consult 1199
Office Systems 112 OS

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic

Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time. -Mark Studin 2006

"Neurosurgeon wanted to have breakfast with me....What I did"


Dr Studin: yesterday we talked about not getting screwed from attorneys, you've been unfortunately consistently screwed by too many lawyers lately. And you've been in the game for how many years?

Guest Dr: 14.

Dr Studin: it's funny when I look at good and bad business people, usually surgeons are really good business people. Primary care doctors are bad business people. Because their mind always goes towards the softer side, dealing with families. And I've really been trying to wrap my head around why chiropractors get screwed so much?

Guest Dr: I think, the first intention for people that get into this profession is to help people, they don't expect to get screwed. At the end of the day. And that's kind of what's been happening.

Dr Studin: when I first got in, 20% of my practice was kids. I was a family practitioner and I started growing the volume practice and then my wife came to work for me. She came to work in the office with me. And she had worked for a very high volume practitioner. He was seeing like almost 300 a day in New York city. And he taught her how to collect money, But in my practice, when she came in, I would say that I had 30% to 40% of my patients came in for free or for $5 or $8, and she came in and she says at the end of the day well, 40 patients are no longer coming back. So what did you do to my practice? and she said to me, you see that one who can't afford your care? He's driving a brand new Mercedes that he leases for X number of dollars a month. And then it was in the 80s it was like $30 a visit, since you already told them, we would love to take care of you, but here's our fee. When you're ready to pay it, you're going to pay it. And they says, well, I can't come back. Then she says, okay, have a good life, my whole practice was eviscerated and she says, you're working for free and we don't work for free, we still have to pay our electric bills like everyone else, I want you to know that it was my wife and I had no choice, but I also knew she was right. Within four weeks my volume was back up with all paying patients, And I had to take that leap of faith in the system. How to take a leap of faith on the system? Most chiropractors are family practitioners, not that you got into the business to do good. It's just that you're a family practitioner. You used to taking care of families. The softer side, you don't want to leverage people. You don't want to deal with leveraging attorneys. So this isn't why you got into that, but there was this certain set of rules and if you play by those rules, especially with tourneys, you will get paid, unfortunately, lawyers are being squeezed very hard right now from insurance companies. They're not giving them a high settlements because they're not falling. Lawyers are still ignorant and they don't want to understand the rules or play by them. And that's the problem. Lawyers don't want to change. But as a result, they're being low bold in their settlement offers and they're getting hurt. So there, it's the trickle down effects. They're trickling down for you to get hurt cause they're trying to keep a high income. And there are too many lawyers. There are some lawyers out there that are very ethical and some are just not.

Guest Dr: minority ethical in the are where I practice.

Dr Studin: So here's the thing, the magic. It's no where you are than it is anywhere else in the country, it’s happening with you because you are being an enabler and giving them permission to. You need two forms of proof with your liens, business system, your staff has to call their office every month. I'm just calling on the status of this case. Has it been settled? Yes or no? That's a business system. If the case has been settled, you've got my lien, I need to get paid. Well, I'm only going to pay 50 cents on a dollar to cost you more than that to see the patient. So you're paying them so they can make money? No, the answer is, I'm sorry. Here's my business system. I'll never take more than a third. If you want me to take less than that, whatever percentage lets you take including disbursements. I'll do the same. I'm a team player. If they've distributed the money and haven't paid you, I want payment in full in 72 hours or I'm going to report you to the the licensure board, the state bar. Therefore, you're going lose your license and you're going to talk to a lawyer after the disposition of that license You're hearing about suing them. If they cash a check, like a MedPay with your name on it, then it goes right to the district attorney for the banking fraud because they cashed the check with your name on it. And they're not allowed to do that. They can't endorse your name, you have the law on your side to go after these people. You can't worry about burning a bridge. Why do you care if you burn a bridge, if someone is trying to screw you and asked you to pay for them to make money?

Guest Dr: That one, is one of the larger firms in the city. And we had no dealings with them before. We got three cases within a two month period, all slip and fall cases. But all of them had injuries. And I was okay, we worked it up, people did well, they have what they needed for the lawyer to win the case. And then I haven't heard anything and I actually saw it coming and I kept my notes and I said, how are you going to win the case without any records? So he calls me down to his office, shakes my hand, look me in the eye. He goes, I've been in business for 30 years, that's not how I do business, the whole lean letter I get all that stuff and they're not calling back anymore. So, after speaking to you yesterday, I'm going to stick it to them.

Dr Studin: Well, you're not going to stick it to them. You're going to use the law. And play by the rules and then forced those roles without being taken advantage of by, I don't care. I worked for three years to get into the largest law firm on long Island, I did everything, they said, we just sent you 10 cases, but understand that the backend, the most you can get in the lean is $1,000 from us. That's how we work. Whenever you can from the carrier. And at that point in time, you got paid $33.70 cents a visit. So we were averaging about maybe a thousand dollars a case, and the rest we lived on our lean money. I said my average lean is like $2,500/$2,800 I'm not talking no. The most we'll pay is a thousand take it or leave it. I was going to work and lose money on every case that I treated. That's the surest way to make a small fortune. You start with the large fortune, you ended up with the small fortune and then you'd go out of business. So I don't really care. I much prefer to work with the smaller firms. I'd rather get one referral from 40 firms than 40 referrals from one firm.

Guest Dr: How do you feel at this point? Because obviously the patients are complicit with this not paying me. They've decided, since they didn't do so well, that's what I hear all the time.

Dr Studin: not your problem. You are not the lawyer.

Guest Dr: I want to go chase and chasing after bad money and spend whatever, a couple hundred dollars it is to get and go to court and get a lien that's never going to be paid.

Dr Studin: Well first, if the money's been distributed and you haven't been paid, Then you go after the lawyer. So not a patient issue is a lawyer issue. The lawyer didn't honor the contract and the lawyer kept your money. Now it's the responsibility of the lawyer. You don't want to chase bad money, the person was not going to have it is the patient. if that money was paid out and the lawyer had a lien and didn't honor it. Go after the lawyer backs the contract, let them go with to the patient.

Guest Dr: I mean I'm pretty sure these are a couple of years old.

Dr Studin: well that's a of years old. I don't know what the statute of limitations are in your state. But you need to find out, you need to find out what case law is. You might want to retain an attorney to determine what the statute of limitations are on contracts like this.

Guest Dr: I mean obviously they had to file something because, there wasn't insurance about it. Like I have no back pay on all these cases cause they were slip and falls.

Dr Studin: But you need to learn the law of your state, you can't play if you don't know the rules, I want to use you as a teaching space to show how when you fight for your legal rights and use the law, how you get paid. That's what I want to use you as a teaching case for, because so many other people are getting paid. It's your turn. 

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