Hey Doc, My Patients Never Come Back After I Refer Them To An MD
Have you said this before? I know I have more times than I can count. As a doctor, I do what is right for my patient. And if the patient needed an MRI, or blood test, or other more serious procedure that I couldn’t offer in my office, off they would go, never to return. Not because they didn’t need me any more, but because another doctor didn’t agree with our philosophy of care.
Bettr yet, they told them the “I knew a guy who was paralyzed by a chiropractor story” or told them to be careful because adjustments can cause you to have a stroke. Ugh. I love fear based thinking.
I’ve worked in the Chiropractic field for 13 years now, and I keep hearing the same story over and over. I usually hear these stories from doctors with a touch of hurt and frustration in their voice. Every good doctor wants the best for their patients and losing a good patient when you are trying to do the right thing for them is frustrating and costly.
A typical story usually starts out like this. “I had a patient who needed a procedure that I had to refer to a specialist because the procedure isn’t covered under my scope of practice. I found a great specialist and referred my patient out. The patient had the procedure, and it went well, but now they don’t come back.
The doctor I referred my patient to is a part of hospital group, and they’ve now been absorbed by the hospital group, and now my patient, who I was trying to help, is no longer my patient. I did the right thing for my patient, but it came at a high price to me.”
The MD often doesn’t value the work we do as chiropractors, “and they will encourage our patients not to return. – Dr Hurley
I took a poll among some of the colleagues I work with, and here is what they said:
Dr. Kidner: “We live in a community of Medicare patients and they often need to be referred to their General Practitioner (GP) per Medicare guidelines. We will always do what’s best for the patient, but it’s tough to lose that patient for doing the right thing just because the GP doesn’t value what the Chiropractor does for the patient.”
Dr. Hurley: “We often send out patients for MRIs when dealing with personal injury cases. In order to do that, we usually refer them to their MD. ” “The MD often doesn’t value the work we do as chiropractors, “and they will encourage our patients not to return.” “Now that we have our Nurse Practitioner (NP) in office, we have her prescribe the MRI testing. Our patient loss has decreased by 50%-75%!”
3 Ways To Get Your Patient Back From The MD
So how does a doctor change this and keep this from happening again? There are three common solutions to this problem:
1. You can work hard to find a doctor or specialist that you can build a relationship with, and you will need to make sure they do not discredit the services you provide to your patients.
Unfortunately that’s easier said than done and something you may not have the time or inclination to do. If you do this make sure you invest time in setting expectations about whom you will refer and what you expect when you send a referral.
Dr. Warner, who has used this method successfully for over 20 years, recommends that you take the doctor out to lunch or breakfast due the decreased cost of these meals. He also recommends that you invest time in building a solid relationship with other doctors by establishing the value you will be adding to their practice. It’s very important that the other doctors you refer your patients to value the care and services you provide. If they don’t, you could lose your patient.
2. You can go back to medical school and get a different type of degree
But, that is expensive in both time and money. Most doctors with a busy practice aren’t really looking for extra schooling, expenses, and a large time commitment on top of your already busy schedule. This option requires an enormous amount of time and money.
3. This third solution is the most cost effective and takes the least amount of time out of your schedule.
I feel the best solution is to bring the services you need into your practice by medically integrating. You become the one-stop shop for your patient’s medical needs, and you don’t need to worry about referring them out and losing them ever again. This solution requires very little time and money compared to the others.
Is Medical Integration right for you?
Having an integrated practice can be beneficial for you and beneficial AND convenient for your patients. A medically integrated practice offers a larger range of services that your patients want and need while at the same time providing additional revenue for your practice.
In many cases the customer service, relationship, and love you share with your patients is far superior to what they will get somewhere else. On top of that the wait to see other medical providers is growing longer and longer, and the people who suffer the most are the patients.
I was against Medical Integration for the past 10 years. I thought it was too expensive and it went against the “chiropractic philosophy” and my own personal philosophy. This was until I realized that it isn’t about me, and I have to meet my patients where they are at. Medically integrating also allows me more control of my patient’s care. I can work hand in hand with a medical professional and know that my knowledge and course of action is taken seriously.
And of course, putting my business hat on, my scope of practice is widened, allowing additional streams of revenue to flow into my practice. In the state of today’s current insurance crisis, this has allowed my practice to quadruple in revenue and flourish.
While I was integrating, I documented all the steps necessary to integrate (And the costs associated with it) Some companies won’t give you access to this type of document until you have paid them thousands of dollars.
I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give it to you for free. All I ask in return is that you put your email in the box below, and read a couple of my emails to hear me out. It could change your practice and your life just like it has hundreds of other docs that I work with.
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If you’d like to see if an integrated practice is right for you, then take a look at our 45 Steps to Integration checklist. If you decide to integrate, this checklist alone could save you $50,000-$75,000.