Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 232

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.

“Fluff vs. Stuff = Being Made the Fool in Court”

Cash Practice, Patient management tools for implementation of treatment plans. Dr. Steve Cashman Inc., San Diego, CA, 2011
 
The above is an actual citation on a doctor's curriculum vitae. I changed the name of the entity for privacy issues. Here is how it will play out on the witness stand:
 
Defense Lawyer: Doctor, on your curriculum vitae, you have a citation for a course on cash practices. Is that correct?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: Doctor, can you please explain what that is?
 
Doctor: It is a course that helps me implement a program in my office for patients with no insurance that have to pay out of their pockets.
 
Defense Lawyer: You are saying, doctor, that if a patient has no insurance you charge them cash. Is that correct?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: And doctor, you took a course to figure out how to say your fee is 30-40-50 dollars or whatever your fee is for that service. Is that correct?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: In that course, did they teach you how to create multiple payment plans for different levels of care?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: What are those levels?
 
Doctor: Pain care, corrective care and wellness care.
 
Defense Lawyer: If I understand this correctly, you have different types of care and different types of plans at various price points and you offer patients different plans depending upon what they choose?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: What if they only want pain care. Are there different plans within that type of plan?
 
Doctor: Yes.
 
Defense Lawyer: Please explain to the jury what that entails.
 
Doctor: Some patients are in pain longer and need more care. My goal is to make it affordable.
 
Defense Lawyer: Are you telling me that you change or lower your fees for some patients and make others pay the full fee?
 
Doctor: In some instances, if the patient can't afford care, we pride ourselves on not turning people away.
 
Defense Lawyer: Let me get this clear, doctor. You take a course that teaches you how to offer or SELL patients different care plans. Some are more expensive than others and at the same time you also have multiple fees for various patients depending upon how much money they have so you can get more patients under your care. At the end of the day, the more patients you have, regardless of the price points, the more money you make. Is that correct doctor?
 
Doctor: Yes
 
Defense Lawyer:  And you took a course to teach you how to make more money from all of your patients. Is that correct doctor?
 
Doctor: Yes. 
 
This is how it can play out in court, except I was significantly kinder than a defense lawyer will be. On your CV's, PLEASE only list clinical references. The purpose of the CV is to put all of the vital statistics of your academic and professional career and not every course you took to manage your practice. In fact, I loathe management citations because in court, a defense lawyer, even the crappy ones can spend hours discussing how you take courses to make money and paint you as a "money-hungry" doctor in court.
 
Whether it is true or not, it is what the jury will hear and lend to invalidate you as an expert in the eyes of the jury, the courts and the lawyers.
 
Keep you CV's clinical in citations exclusively.

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