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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 15, 2002, Vol. 20, Issue 15

Secrets to a Prosperous Industrial Consulting Practice

By Theodore Oslay, DC
Let's be clear on one issue up front: Industrial consulting is not about getting worker's compensation (WC) cases. If you are currently including treatment of employees as part of your consulting services, be afraid - be very afraid. (If you don't get this point, you will never be able to become a successful consultant in the industrial sector.)

I learned this the hard way. I gained the trust of a local company and began consulting with them. Employees were sent to my office for care as part of the overall "package." More than half of my patients were from the company - a dream come true.

One day, however, all the patients from the company missed their appointments. Suddenly, without explanation, I'd lost all the patients from the company. I recovered, but that sudden loss of patients just about took me out of business.

Eight years later, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a meat processing facility, and I was asked by its corporate office to go on-site for a meeting to work out a plan for correcting its skyrocketing WC costs and "days lost and restricted." The plant manager was the same fellow from the company that had "shut the water off" at my practice years before. He remembered me, and recalled how much I had helped his facility.

"Then why did your people stop coming to my office?" I inquired. "Why didn't we continue the ergonomic plan that we had begun?"

"Oh yeah, we changed insurance carriers," he recalled. "The attorney that worked with the carrier absolutely hated chiropractors, and he shut the door. Too bad," he added. "We went backward after that."

I have heard variations of this scenario from many doctors, and not just chiropractors.

The purpose of this column is to share insights accumulated over the last 12 years as the result of a full-time industrial consulting practice that took me from local to national to international consulting contracts. This "enlightenment" should enable you to:

  • generate revenue that grows through client referral and perpetuates because of a satisfied and loyal customer base;

  • avoid the common mistakes DCs make to create corporate relationships, and guide them through the labyrinth straight to the bottom line;

  • create and establish a plan based on the reality of how the system you will be entering works, your role in it, and most importantly, how you can carve a profitable niche in it for yourself; and

  • facilitate your decision to determine exactly what you want to gain from the pursuit and practice of industrial consulting, and then help you to devise a plan to help you to get it. (If you don't focus on a clear target, you can't hit the bull's eye!)

A recurring theme of companies is to reduce direct WC dollars and the associated "days lost and restricted" that accompany those dollars. MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) typically account for the majority of the cost and time loss to employers. MSDs are an aggravation to management, related health care professionals, and, of course, to the affected employees.

It is my contention, based on personal experience, that the chiropractic physician can be a player and provide a legitimate, demonstrable reduction in cost and lost time associated with MSDs.

One has the opportunity, ability and skills to become a sought-after commodity because of the results that can predictably, consistently, and cost-effectively be delivered to clients. It is achievable for any chiropractor willing to learn the significance of WC costs and the system that generates them.

Imagine you're in front of the management team of a company you have been negotiating with. Managers know how important is it for the company to manage WC and safety. Suppose ACME, Inc., generates $100 million in sales each year. If sales dropped by 10 percent, it would be an immediate priority for the company to rectify. Suppose ACME makes a 10 percent sales profit, and has an annual WC cost of $1 million. The company must generate $10 million in sales just to cover the WC costs, the equivalent of a 10 percent sales loss. Your job is to outline the steps to give the company the opportunity to pilot an in-house system to continuously improve its WC costs by nearly eliminating MSDs; to dramatically reduce the lost and restricted times associated with those injuries; and, most importantly, to make employees happier and more efficient.

I invite you to take the time to become an industrial warrior in the ongoing battle of MSDs in the workplace.

Ted Oslay,DC
Dekalb, Illinois
tel: 815-756-1600
fax: 815-756-8075

Click here for previous articles by Theodore Oslay, DC.

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