A Consumer’s Guide To Quality Health Care.
By: Dr. Gene Fish, D.C.
Hello. This Consumer Awareness Report is brought to you by the offices of Dr. Gene Fish. The purpose of this guide is to help you choose the right chiropractic services for you by arming you with 10 important questions you should ask any chiropractic office BEFORE agreeing to care. We are sharing insider secrets with you that some Doctors of Chiropractic may not want you to know. So let’s begin…
Chiropractic has never been more popular: A recent CNBC poll asked “Would you seek the care of a doctor of chiropractic for your low back pain?” and 20% said no, 8% were undecided, and a whopping 72% of the 2,584 respondents said “Yes!” People who see chiropractors are seeking relief from not only low back pain…but for carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, headaches, as well as for work and auto related injuries – without the use of dangerous drugs, sedatives, or surgery!
Across the country, the number of chiropractic visits per capita has doubled in the past 20 years. Today, doctors of chiropractic must complete 5 years of study at an accredited professional college of chiropractic in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree. After receiving the D.C. (doctor of chiropractic) degree, they must pass national board examinations to obtain a license. To maintain their license, the doctors are required to complete a specified number of hours of continuing education each year.
So if you are experiencing back pain, neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, or have been involved in an auto or work related injury, then a doctor of chiropractic may be the right choice for you!
But Before You Are Convinced That Any Chiropractor Can Help You, You Must Be Aware That Not All Chiropractors Are The Same, And Choosing The Wrong Chiropractor Could Be A Big Mistake!
In a moment, you will discover 10 questions you must know before choosing any doctor of chiropractic. But first, let’s review what do most Chiropractors do so you know why this form of care is so popular and effective!
Doctors of chiropractic relieve pain, and restore proper motion and function of the body by relieving pressure on muscles, joints and nerves. They can relieve so much pain, and solve so many health problems that will not likely get better using traditional methods from medical doctors.
If you have any chronic back or neck pain, for example: you probably know that taking drugs only masks the symptoms temporarily and does nothing to actually correct the cause of the pain. And, you certainly know that surgery can be very dangerous, and often times ineffective method to relieve your pain as well.
There are literally countless examples of patients who could not get better with traditional methods…yet found quick and long lasting relief from chiropractic adjustments that required no drugs, and no surgery!
So what should you ask a doctor of chiropractic BEFORE agreeing to care?
Let’s review these issues now:
Prior to care, a chiropractor should ask detailed questions about your past and present health, do a complete physical exam, and order x-rays or other tests when necessary. He or she should analyze your posture and carefully examine your spinal column while you stand, sit and walk, and then check the range of motion of various joints. Then he or she will come up with a diagnosis and a Recommended Action Plan. So for starters:
Do NOT agree to care from any chiropractor that does not first provide you with a written explanation of:
1. What is causing or contributing to your problem,
2. An estimate of the costs involved, and
3. A Recommended Action Plan that details what specific care is needed, and why.
Unfortunately, there are a small number of doctors, including Chiropractors who treat every patient pretty much the same, regardless of their condition.
As you would expect, there’s a lot the doctor must know before you can decide what care is best for you, in your specific situation. He or she will want to know if your problem is caused, or aggravated by anything more serious, such as a broken bone, disc disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, a tumor or an infection? Or is it a simple problem that can be resolved within a reasonable period of time?
HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW, and the 10 questions you must ask before choosing a doctor of chiropractic:
1. “What techniques do you practice?” – The correct answer is: It depends on what is wrong with you. Some chiropractors are only proficient in only one technique. The problem with this is that not every condition that chiropractic care can help responds to just one technique. You need to know that there are many wonderful chiropractic techniques that can be used to successfully treat, and relieve your condition. For example, I have training in 8 different techniques, and use them all depending on the patient’s specific condition. I have many natural ways to relieve my patients pain and restore their optimal range of motion, flexibility, and function!
2. “Do you take x-rays when necessary?” – Be sure to seek a chiropractor who takes x-rays to rule out fracture or a gross pathology (English translation – some other serious problem) as indicated by the consultation, health history and exam. Caring for a patient without x-rays is like flying in the dark without radar. Unfortunately, there are some life and death conditions that can first express themselves with back, neck, or bone pain. X-rays also help me determine the health of your joints and discs, an estimate of how long it will take to get you better, as well as what specific chiropractic techniques will likely do the most good for you. If the doctor you’re consulting doesn’t take x-rays before recommending treatment, you should consider talking to another doctor.
3. “Will you give me your recommendations in writing?” – This is very important. This allows you to go home and think about it before making a decision. Plus, it gives you an explanation up front of what the care will consist of, how long it will last, and how much it will cost.
4. “Can you furnish me with references?” – Ask for five references. Three of these references should be current patients, and the other two should be other health care professionals like an orthopedic doctor, and a medical doctor. There are three reasons for getting patient and professional references. First, any person in practice should have at least three satisfied patients they can provide you with. Secondly, if a chiropractic doctor cannot produce two other professionals that will attest to his or her ability as a chiropractor, he or she may not be respected by his or her peers. Last, outside professionals in the community see all kinds of things, will usually be aware of what kind of care is available, and what kind of quality is provided by different folks. Feel free to call the references you receive. Many people ask for references, but never use them! Call all five people. You can never learn too much about the person you are considering using for your chiropractic needs. Take the few minutes to talk to these people. It will be worth it!
5. “Do you have payment plans available?”– Successful practices usually allow patients to make payments. For example, I allow both my cash and insurance patients to spread out their entire care, deductibles and co-pays into low monthly installments. This allows them to get the care they want without financial stress. Any successful practice will be able to work with you on the payments, whether you’re covered by insurance or not.
6. “Will you guarantee my satisfaction?” – You should receive a 100% guarantee of unconditional satisfaction. By law all doctors can’t guarantee results. But, for example, an office that offers the following guarantee: “You’ll be totally satisfied with each office visit, or that visit is FREE!” shows you that they are putting their money where their mouth is. In my office, every patient knows that if they feel rushed or don’t get the attention they think they deserve, or aren’t satisfied with how they are treated that day will get that visit FREE. And in all the time we’ve had this policy, I’m proud to say we haven’t had one patient express dissatisfaction. Make sure the doctor you choose is willing to stand behind their care.
7. “Do you have a no waiting policy?” – A recent patient survey revealed that what irritates patients the most is when the doctor and the staff do not respect their time and make them wait excessively in the waiting room. Now most doctors claim their patients don’t have to wait excessively. But, in our office, our policy is that no patient waits longer than ten minutes in our reception room or that visit is FREE. If the doctor you’re talking to isn’t willing to put such a waiting time guarantee in writing, they may not be as respectful of your time as you deserve.
8. “Do you have a criteria for determining how many visits I need?” Some doctors do not have an objective method to determine how many visits are necessary to relieve your pain, and to maintain your newly found state of excellent health. They make subjective guesses about your initial treatment and progress. I do progress exams along the way to make sure we are on track. This procedure tells us exactly when we are done with the initial pain relief care, and how we are doing in maintaining the relief so your pain doesn’t come back. That way you don’t get even one more visit than you actually need. Make sure to find out how the doctor you’re talking to measures progress, and whether it’s routine or not.
9. “Will you show me ways of preventing what you are treating?” – I saw a sign the other day in my dentist’s office that read, “Support your dentist, eat more candy”. Although I know he’s joking, I spend a considerable amount of time customizing simple and easy ways for you to stay healthy no matter what caused your problem to begin with. You’ll be thrilled to find out how quick and easy it is to prevent your pain from coming back without drugs or surgery. This prolongs the benefits of the care you’ve received; and helps prevent you from re-injuring yourself.
10. “Do you offer free consultations?” – There’s no way a doctor should expect a patient to choose him or her without first visiting the office to see if the office, staff and doctor is for them. This will also give you a chance to talk to any of our patients while they are coming in and going out. Initially, I provide a FREE, NO OBLIGATION, consultation to determine if I can help you and answer any questions you may have about your condition or my treatment. No one in my office is going to pressure you into care or anything. This is simply a chance for you to meet us, and see if our services can benefit you. If after your free consultation, you decide you do not want to proceed with an exam, you simply leave and that is that. If however, you do find that you could use our help, we will discuss the details of how we proceed from there.
Well I hope this information will give you the confidence in taking the first step to regaining your health by experiencing the benefits of chiropractic care. By the way, I do:
– Use multiple treatment techniques,
– Employ diagnostic tests such as x-rays,
– Furnish you my recommendations in writing,
– Furnish you patient and professional references,
– Offer payment plans,
– Guarantee the satisfaction of every office visit or that visit is FREE,
– Promise you will never wait more than 10 minutes or that visit is FREE,
– Share with you my criteria I use for formulating my recommendations,
– Provide you custom designed prevention techniques, and lastly,
– Urge you to tour my office and take advantage of my free, absolutely no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.
If you are ready to make an appointment for your free consultation call my office at 215-343-3223, now, while this fresh on your mind and you know EXACTLY what questions to ask BEFORE using my for your pain relief!
I hope this information has been helpful, and that whether you choose to come in to see us or not, that you’ve benefited from the knowledge you’ve been given. No matter what you decide to do, I wish you the best of health!
For information purposes only. Consult a doctor regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or health condition. This information received is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. For personal use only. Not to be sold or compiled into electronic form without prior permission of the author.