Blog, Chirosecure Live Event December 19, 2020

Changing the Chiropractic Landscape Life West

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President of life Western today, I have a friend of mine that we go way back, uh, probably 42, 43 years in the professional we’re in school together. I have Dr. Stuart Hoffman with me. Welcome.

Hey, thanks, Ron. Glad to be with you.

Great to have you Stuart, uh, graduated, uh, the class just after me, like, you know, like two months after me in December of 1981. So we’re both going on or, you know, just moving into our 40th year. And, uh, he’s been, he’s practiced in, in Michigan. He started ChiroSecure, which is a national malpractice, uh, organization, uh, group that, that he’s been around for. They were just celebrating their 30 if year right now that they just stepped into and he’s been doing amazing things. He stepped up in enormous ways that most of our viewers would have no idea financially, um, uh, educationally all the different ways and, you know, to help chiropractic grow and Stuart, I want to welcome you to the leadership line because it’s like, you know, thank you for being there. You’ve done so many tremendous things and probably more behind the scenes than anything. Right. And chiropractic and, and, uh, so thank you for all. You’ve done.

Nice of you to say. And, you know, you said we go way back, uh, big accolades, you know, when you first, uh, became president of life West, we had this similar conversation of our paths and, uh, you’ve always been a friend, a supporter and, you know, big respect.

Yeah. Thank you, man. I appreciate that. Let’s move it. Let’s jump into some stuff because I think it’s really important that the, that our viewers get to listen to what you have to say, because, you know, Stuart, you have a behind the scenes look into our profession, shall I say you see the front view, but you have a rare view that most don’t look in from a malpractice company compliance, right? Risk management, all these things, to be able to see what is happening from that lens that the average practitioner doesn’t get to see. Right. So let’s talk about it versus let’s go into, like, where do you see the profession right now? You know, it’s true. Your lens through your unique lens that you have.

Yeah. Uh, I, I see the profession in a stable place. You know, a lot of people like to think it’s doomed, stay for us for so many reasons. Uh, we’ve come through tough times, uh, over, you know, a period of time. It’s a roller coaster. And quite frankly, that’s how a lot of doctors’ practices are. But I think that there’s really good things ahead for us. I, you see that, you know, you’re right. I see the back of the profession because, uh, we deal with doctors applications and their renewals to know approximately how each doctor’s practice is actually functioning. And we see a lot of people that are just booming and prep this, and it makes me so proud, uh, not of them, but to be a chiropractor. And I get to see some of those that let’s just say, need more help. Yeah. But overall, I see good things.

I see different trends coming, you know, you mentioned, you know, I am malpractice, uh, but back in 2005, we were the first group to add insurance audit protection into our actual malpractice policy and still have it today. But we did that. And we were first because we saw trends coming and sure enough, doctors call us on a daily basis about a potential audit that they may be going through. And, you know, our job is to coach them through it, get them legal, help if necessary, all of that. And that relates to the overall picture because what does practice look like? You know, from when you and I started it out where, you know, we may have worked for somebody for a little bit of time. And then we went and opened up, we found, uh, you know, an office space that was empty. We’ve built it.

We developed what we were going to do our own style, everything. And we just went for it. And, you know, thank God we did when we did, because I think it was a little bit easier than it is today for new graduates and, uh, or somebody that packs up and moves. It would be the same starting all over again. But if you follow what’s happened in the medical world, a lot of, uh, doctors, they sell their practice to a large group or a hospital or something like that. And I think that trend is just starting to hit the chiropractic world. We see a lot more groups, a lot more, um, franchise opportunities, a lot of, uh, employment opportunities with these large groups. And, you know, some people think, uh, some of the groups, well, that’s not doing chiropractic justice or this or that. And I’m not here to talk about the philosophical aspect of each one of the groups. There’s a lot of them at this point. Uh, and there may be something that feels good in terms of being aligned with one versus another, but don’t stick your head in the sand. This is something that’s coming. There will still always be room for individual practitioners to just get out there and hustle and boom. And I think that’s great. And I see nothing but bright things ahead, especially the way healthcare in general seems to be going where, you know, primed to lead the way.

Yeah. And I think what you said is so true because, you know, like you started to talk about, you know, when we graduated, you know, we just hung a shingle out. Right. And then we had to make relationships and we went and we surveyed, I don’t know if you did this when I did this semester, two-cents I surveyed, you know, 2000 homes, you know, in my, in my area, you know, and just went in and knocked on their door and introduced myself, asked three questions. Would you like to know the answers? I’ll, we’ll mail them to you, you know? Cause there was no email back then you just got to meet people. It was really about just meeting people. And nowadays I think you’re exactly right, because it’s so different, you know, the advertising on social media, which I want to get into that with you later on.

Um, you know, when I say advertising using social media, to be able to get your message out, to do, you know, Yelp reviews, all these different things that I’m watching my kids do, you know, who are the new generation of chiropractors, right. Kind of thing. And, but the bigger thing, or one of the big things is just having the employment, you know, gainful employment. And right now school, I know, you know, people are all school costs so much and I can justify it both ways. You know, you can go to USC and spend $200,000, $50,000 a year for an education right now for tuition and come out and not even have a degree, you can get a degree to go sling, uh, you know, coffee at a Starbucks, you know, kind of thing. And you’re spending 110 or 120,000, the chiropractic where you can walk out that’s one Avenue, but the other Avenue is the debt that accumulates, which, you know, I’m on a mission to try and reduce that.

And that’s one thing that we’re looking at, but, but what, you know, when a student graduates, I’m able to watch it from my view and see where they’re going. And some of these places like the franchise you’re talking about, they have gainful employment, right. Then they can, that they can step into. And I do think, and I’m, and I’ll tell you what I do think it is the future. You know, I are a part of our future of, of where we’re going. Um, what are you seeing though with when, when you talk about, um, you know, cause the lens that you have, right. You know, and I think, I think the term that in the, in the malpractice world or in the, and let me just back up and say one thing, not only do you, does ChiroSecure or the other companies just do malpractice, I think you probably do a greater amount of counseling and coaching

We do. And you know, it’s one of the things that, uh, as a personal issue, I, I hold my head high on because you know, for so many years, uh, I was opposite of everybody else. People are afraid to call their malpractice carrier because they’ll think they have a claim and they may get canceled or this or that. I want people calling us be proactive about it because, uh, when they are, we get to coach them through the situation and reduce the risk of it, becoming something bigger. Now, if you already have a claim that showed up at your doorstep, you know, we’re going to share with you what you need to do and help you breathe and get back to serving people. But we do want people to be proactive that, and after nine and a half years, my son, Eric, I, you know, I have all three of my sons in the, in the business now, but my son, Eric, uh, he coaches the doctors more than I do. He’s actually better than I am. Sometimes I go to him to collaborate instead of the other way around. And Brandon does the same thing. So we have actually a team at this point to help the doctors. And we reviewed together the situations that come up. So we make sure we’re giving sound strong advice, not as attorneys, but understanding both the medical legal world as well as the chiropractic practice, because they grew up in chiropractic and it’s worked out really well for the doctors. So I think that it big. Yeah.

Well, one of the big things that can hurt a practice is, you know, you can get a frivolous lawsuit or, or, or, or whatever, it could no merit whatsoever, and it’s still on the doctor’s mind. And until they get that reassurance until they get all of that stuff, they know it’s being handled. Like you said, they can go back to serving. And to me, you know, if what our goal is as, as a, as a profession is to, is to create a brighter, brighter future for humanity and have people on subluxated so they can live their lives to the best of their ability. You can’t do that, you know, with, with, with stress, you can’t do that with, with looking behind your shoulder and every single person that walks in the door. Right?

No great point because I always, you know, when I go and lecture on, you know, I hate that it’s called risk management. Uh, but I always share with people that, you know, some of the things that I get to talk about in front of an audience sounds scary because I give them real life stories, but I don’t want you to ever practice from fear. I want you to have a greater awareness as to what goes on so that you can adapt your procedures and your office policies to reduce any risk of something going wrong, but that’s way different situation than being fearful or defensive. And I know, you know, the difference because you practice from that service attitude rather than survival attitude, and one is fear-based and one is, you know, service oriented and I prefer the latter, right.

And it was proactive or being reactive. And I think when we’re reactive, you know, it just becomes this, you know, you’re constantly looking around the corner, wondering who’s coming in, what’s going on. And it’s it’s, uh it’s and, and I get it, you know, I get it, you know, that’s where I’ve, I’ve, I’ve never been sued for malpractice. Thank God. And I’ve, you know, you’ve been my malpractice carrier, but, but it’s been one of those things that, you know, I’ve seen many people, you know, I was coaching people for years and it could be a very, it could have devastating effects on somebody’s practice, right. And their life and with their, with their significant other and with, you know, their family it’s, it’s, it really is. It’s one of those insidious things that kind of creeps in. I know you guys see it all the time, and I’m thankful for all the companies that are, that are helping our chiropractors.

Cause that’s, that’s really more than, than just handling the suit so to speak, you know, that, to me, that’s a bigger piece. The suit will be over no matter what, but your life and your practice and everything else is something that, that, that we need to be keeping going. But let’s, let’s get into some, some, uh, real life kind of examples of risk avoidance, because I think that’s, um, I love that term risk avoidance, you know, uh, you know, share with us some, some, some, some, you know, what you’ve gleaned, and I know you’ve probably got 10,000 of them, but you just share with, you know, a few different things and risk avoidance for our viewers. So they can have a better understanding.

Well, first, the most common issue that we face when we get calls from doctors is actually not injury oriented it’s communication, either lack of miscommunication or being fearful to communicate. And that is the easiest thing to overcome. And, you know, as we talked about, I get on the phone with the doctor, go through all of this stuff and they say, can you call the patient for me? No, it’s your patient be the doctor. Uh, and so we go back through it and they’re writing down, can you repeat that line? Well, you know, that’s first thing, but the other thing is a judgment issue. And I will tell you one story, uh, that encompasses many different things about the cloud over your head, uh, the family, the practice, everything. And it happens to be a sexual impropriety issue that developed. And most of those wind up the defense of it gets covered through your malpractice insurance.

But that’s the only up until, and if it becomes a criminal issue and this particular situation was a husband and wife working together, and I’ll try and give you the briefest version possible. Uh, and they, uh, have a family-oriented practice. They’re friends with some of the families. That’s a whole other conversation. And they, uh, are, as the family is running late for their appointment, which is the last appointment of the day when they’re supposed to start their weekly lecture for their new patients. So the wife says, I’ll do the lecture. You go in the back, take them, blah, blah, blah. They go in the back. The wife of the family says to the male doctor, I’m going to go last, let them all go. I’m going to meet them at home for dinner. We came separately, whatever, and everything goes fine. They all leave. Then the, uh, mother slash wife of the family leaves says goodbye to the other.

Doctor schedules an appointment at the front desk. The next morning, the police show up. She complained that he was inappropriate with her. Now it’s behind closed doors. Do I know? I have no idea. Uh, but the wife calls up screaming, not at me, but crying so upset and she should be. And I said, well, did he do it? I don’t know. We’ll put them on the phone. Did you do it? No. And you can usually tell right from somebody’s response, but the point of the story is nothing ever happened. Meaning the police report was inconclusive. They made a complaint to the licensing board. When you think people are your friends and think they won’t Sue you or complain, don’t be fooled. These were close family, friends. And even though nothing happened, it took about a year and a half for it to go away in that year and a half, the husband and wife were not in good relationship. Let’s put it that way. They’re not together any longer. Uh, and the practice went in the whole, although it’s rebounded, they still both own the practice, but it took forever and had a permanent, uh, damage component to it. Now it could have been, you know, a malpractice claim. I’m giving you something that really affects so many different things, uh, that it can be really a massive damage that some people never overcome.

Right. Right. So what would be, what would be, I mean, listen, there’s, there’s female practitioners who can get the same thing from female, male patients, there’s male, you know, how do you avoid that? What’s the risk avoidance.

Yeah. There’s nothing. That’s a hundred percent, but I do have doctors call me up. Well, this patient can only come in on Saturday morning, this, that, okay. Either have someone there, or don’t see a young female in this particular example, uh, on a Saturday morning, all by herself, you just don’t do it in today’s environment. And you want to make sure that if you have an open area adjusting, okay, Ken CAC in there, you know, there should always be a second set of eyes. Uh, if you’re going to be in a situation that may be compromised, you have a female present in the room with you, whether it be during an examination or adjusting people or whatever it is. The other last part is a lot of doctors, they bring in for many different reasons. Uh, other providers, most common massage therapists. We get issues.

I’m not suggesting to never hire a male massage therapist. But what I can tell you is almost exclusively flee sexual related issues are based on a male therapist. And when you have that, you should know about it and think twice and make sure they’re the right fit in your office and make sure their insurance covers sexual misconduct issues. Because otherwise they’re definitely coming at you and, um, look around your own office and see the things that could compromise you. Uh, are you talking to patients like it’s the 1970s and eighties, Hey, sweetie. Uh, come over here, bring those hips over and give me a hug. Wow. That’s a nice top. You’re wearing. Well, if you’re a female, you can get away with that. Not as a male and you need to know what your boundaries really are. You know, you can’t get on. I once had a prominent doctor on one of our, uh, broadcast talking about communications.

And he says, well, with new patients, I like to break the ice by telling them a dirty joke. I said, Oh my God, you know, you’ve been in practice for 40 some odd years. You can probably still get away with that with most of the old people, but that is not what’s okay in today’s environment. And you need to know, you don’t need to change you as a person, but you need to be aware of the changing times, the changing attitudes, uh, in the public perception so that you can adapt and fit into that. Not change your, uh, principles, not change your philosophy, but make sure that your procedures and your personality jives with what is current.

Yeah. You know, Stuart, it’s interesting. We had, um, the California state board, right. It was really great. They came to our campus, they held a meeting and they opened it up for our students to be there during the disciplinary hearing, so to speak. Right. Or, and it was an eye-opener, you know, like, like, uh, one, one was a male doctor who was also a nurse who had a, uh, sexual misconduct, had his license taken away, coming up, coming to the board, uh, to get it reinstated. And they got to hear the whole case and see the realities of what’s going on, you know, you know, doing adjustments in certain areas that is not appropriate and things like that. And one of the things that the, that some of the board members have, so I was talking to him afterwards was about that. The majority of cases that come to them happened to be sexual misconduct cases. It’s not about, Oh, you put someone on their side, adjusted them and the discipline, you know, it it’s like those, those, they said, are you still get those, but, but, you know, but it’s really more about sexual misconduct. Right. And that’s one of the largest ones right now. Are you seeing that in the malpractice world?

Yeah, we definitely have our share of those, uh, the top issues that we get to see just to put it out there. We don’t have to get into detail with them, but it would be, uh, broken, rips is number one injury issue because a lot of doctors think that they have to go, if it doesn’t get an audible, they go deeper. They go second time, a third time. Well, we know different and, uh, practice management one Oh one, you know what? You were tight today, come back tomorrow, you know, something to that effect. But in terms of other types of issues, like with the board, it’s really about refund requests or denials. Uh, and that’s a whole separate topic and sexual misconduct, uh, becomes the big board issues. So yeah, you’re right. It’s right up there.

Yeah. And I think you hit it. Right. You know, you hit the nail on the head when you said that, that it’s changing times. Yes. You know, some of our students and our students are so brilliant and they’re so astute and yet, and they’re so aware, you know, especially in the times right now. So when I have these conversations, whether it’s with a group of them at a club or in class, wherever it might be, you know, their thing is, well, why can’t we just put up a couple of nests, you know, like any STS, you know, a couple of videos, you know, so that, so that if there is anything we haven’t recorded and they can see that we didn’t do that, you know, or, or whatever it might be. You know, I don’t usually have an answer for that because my question is always, well, is there a HIPAA privacy, you know, issues around that. And, and, and how do you protect yourself? Like the open environment, right? It gives you a form, a layer of protection because there’s other people right now that could be in there instead of being on a closed room. And then we’re to then we used their States that said it was illegal to have open environments. So there’s all these, you know, different things. What’s your thought on that?

Well, I, I think that open is good. Let’s just put it that way. Uh, it’s a practice builder. It’s safer from risk issues. It’s just good period. The, uh, as far as cameras, uh, you absolutely have to check regulations where you are, uh, in most places, video is okay. Sound is not right now. Obviously you can have video in an area that someone could be changing into a gown if you were doing something to that effect or anything compromising, but in an open area adjusting, or even a closed adjusting room, uh, you certainly want to check your regulations, but it is something that doctors have incorporated. But if you incorporate it, you better get permission from the patients, meaning it needs to be part of your intake explaining that this is how our office functions, whether it be an open area, adjusting room or cameras or anything else, this is how we function. This is what we do. Please agree to it. If you have an issue with that, we have a separate area that we can take you to, uh, you know, so on and so, so forth for more privacy. But, um, that’s how most people address those types of issues.

Right. Right. And I know in the, you know, go back 20 years ago, 30 years ago. Yeah. Different world. And I also know that there were doctors who were bringing CAS in the room, male and female doctors bringing CAS in the room. Um, and so that just taking notes before EHR, and there was also a layer of protection because, you know, they had someone else in the room, um, that kind of stuff. And I know, you know, it’s interesting because I think what we talked about originally was if you create an environment, you know, that’s proactive, you don’t have to be thinking about the reactive, right. And that will allow the practitioner to just do what they need to do and not have to worry right over the shoulder,

But that’s right. And, you know, uh, we’re talking about this day and you know, no coincidences in life, but this morning, you know, we deal with, uh, in our office, we have about 26 people so that we, I have a morning meeting every morning, uh, before we open up and I always put something in teams to start the day. And that was our topic. And today I put a person to acts are always in harmony with the dominating thoughts of his or her mind. It’s something that Napoleon Hill once said. And, you know, it’s the same old thing. Uh, I learned from David singer almost 35 years ago, uh, outflow creates inflow. You know what you’re putting out, always shows back up. And if you want to focus on those negative things that can happen, they’re probably going to, if you start focusing on the service attitude, uh, start focusing on just making sure things are safe and you’re always protected, you’re going to be in a lot better shape. And you mentioned the CA being in the room, well, CDs are still in the room in today’s environment. The busier offices always have CAS in the room, even with the HRS, uh, because the doctor will read it out. The CA will put it in, but they’re always there to assist the doctor. And it becomes a, an investment rather than an expense for the doctors because they move quicker and it takes up less of their time, which is much more valuable than a staff person’s time and its protection.

Yeah, it is. It is. And I, I think that the, the moral of the story is, you know, Fred Barnes wrote that wrote the greatest book, right. Life without fear is moving without fear. And just setting up your practice so that you are in a position to do what you need to do, right. Serve the people that you’re serving and have that protection around you, like putting a seatbelt on. Right. You know, it just becomes normal. And, and yet, you know, if there is an accident, you know, you better chance that you’re going to be, you know, your life will be saved and not saved. Right. And, and it’s really what it’s about, but to be able to live your life, you know, without fear, not thinking I’m doing this because I’m in fear. And I think that’s a huge, a huge piece. And I listened to, I want to thank you.

I know we’re coming to the end of our time, and I just want to thank you for, you know, not just for what you’ve done for the profession and how you support the profession, you know, not just through your time and your talent, but also your treasure. You know, I know you do a lot of support, you know, through finances. And, um, so I want to thank you for all of that, but, but also I want to thank you for putting people’s our doctor’s minds at ease. You know, the people who come, who, you know, who have ChiroSecure and others who probably call you who don’t to be able to allow them to keep serving and do what they have to do. And, um, so thank you for that. And I want to ask you how any last words you’d like to share with our viewers.

Well, thanks for having me and for, you know, I know I have such a great working relationship with life West, uh, and a lot of the students slash doctors. Uh, if you’re with us always feel free to call us where a resource for you. We’re not just an insurance company, and if you’re not with us, come on, go to, fill out a quick quote form. It’s easy, but I want to at least make available to you our resource guide that we put together. It’s great. And if you just text (480) 500-6574, just put in the word SUCCESS and we’ll send you a link to that resource guide. I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information in there. And I look forward to seeing and meeting all of you, whether it be in-person on the road or, you know, through the telephone, I appreciate the time you keep rocking it life West.

I will, I will. And we’ll put, we’ll put that and it’s going to be, it’s below you right now. So there, the phone number, the text number, and we’ll put SUCCESS in there so people can do that. Um, so we’ll have that posted and thank you. And that’s for everybody, right? What, no matter what insurance company they’re with, it’s for everybody, right. I get brothers and sisters. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you, Stuart. And I want to thank our, our viewers for tuning into another life West leadership line. I think we had a lot of great pearls of wisdom that were dropped today by Dr. Hoffman. Um, if there’s anything as, you know, just, you know, do the, you know, typing success into the four eight, four, eight Oh or four Oh eight number, I don’t have it in front of me right now, but it will be in front of you. Um, and get that information. Any information you can get is valuable. So, you know, try to collect as much as you can. And I want to thank you for tuning in. I want to, I look forward to having you at our next leadership line and just remember to keep living your life from above, down, inside out hug the people that are around you, uh, spread the love and, um, and just keep yourself on track and keep serving humanity to create a brighter future. So thanks so much. And until the next time we meet

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