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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 10, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 21

Let's Tell the Story

By Theodore Oslay, DC

As I mentioned in the last article, we would be talking with various people in industry of different capacities to begin to seek what the view is today of chiropractic in industry. I hope that you will be able to actually cut the articles out for duplication to send to some appropriate personnel, to stimulate the interest for follow-up discussions.

Remember the treating aspect must be kept separate from those prevention concepts we have talked about over the last year.

I called a very good friend of mine, Dr. Tom Klesmit, in Dallas, Texas and asked him about some preliminary questions we should understand before you take the articles to targeted companies. His work has focused increasingly on industry where the concepts of Preventech (remember focus on Prevention) has been overwhelmingly successful.

These are the questions that most often arise during initial meetings, so that if you have once heard a reasonable response, the first impression of the meeting should allow for the relationships to develop.

1. Is chiropractic really a cost-effective treatment?

Despite the numerous studies that have been done by the chiropractic profession, it still remains evident that treatment for conditions such as strains and sprains are not cost-effective. Normal chiropractic care for a strain/sprain type of injury would cost somewhere in the area of $500 to $1,000. This is opposed to the cost of the medical doctor being $100 to $300. Because strain/sprains are a large part of the injuries in companies, this would seem to make us non-competitive in terms of cost. However, when we talk about disc herniations and other more severe problems, a chiropractor treatment program is far more effective cost-wise than a $30,000 to $50,000 surgery. In conclusion, the type of injuries seen in a company would greatly influence your answer to this question.

2. Can chiropractic perform all the parts of a pre-employment physical without causing themselves or the employers to be sued?

The answer is emphatically yes! The most important components of a pre-placement physical is the physical examination, radiological analysis, and functional capacity evaluation. Each of these areas chiropractors have been specifically trained in; therefore we should be considered the top authority to perform these.

3. What do you feel is the number one factor for our rising workers' compensation costs?

Statistically speaking, the number one factor in influencing the cost of workers' compensation is the employee/management relationship. If this area is lacking, costs are certain to rise.

But the number one area in facilitating a decrease in rising workers' compensation costs is undoubtedly medical cost control. If a company makes a concerted effort to gain control over its workers' compensation claims and costs, it can see dramatic savings in its insurance premiums. This is definitely affected by you as a chiropractor.

4. Can a chiropractor truly be the "Company Doctor?"

Although it's not easy, many large practices throughout the United States have accomplished this. Because of the limitations in the chiropractic profession, mainly the inability to prescribe medication for severe injuries, the chiropractor must have an extensive network of the health care professions. Without this cooperation between the medical doctor and chiropractor, being the "company doctor" is an unattainable goal.

5. Is there an advantage to using you as a chiropractor versus another type of health care provider?

The answer is obviously no, unless you, as a physician, provide a level of care and service which is superior to others. Critical to accomplishing this is the ability to obtain specific advanced training to address the needs of industry. Additionally, you need a network of fellow providers who can support your company in other geographic sites. Then you become one quality provider in a network of quality providers which can be quite attractive to large companies which are composed of facilities in different areas.

Bonus: How do I overcome the misconceptions regarding chiropractic that industry holds?

Don't fall into the trap of telling companies that you treat better, faster, and cheaper. Companies have heard this story hundreds of times. The true facts are some chiropractors in the past have been abusive of the workers' compensation system. Therefore, trying to prove your treatment is the answer or that chiropractic "cures all" will not overcome these misconceptions.

We believe that if you show a company how to prevent its injuries, it will be easier to overcome these misconceptions and educate the company to the benefits of chiropractic care. The important part of this is building a trust between you and the company. Again, we've found it very difficult to build a trust when your treatment of employees is contributing to the ever-increasing costs of a company.

These are the following questions that I will be asking nurses, resource people, industrial engineers, plant managers, from Mom and Pop companies to large corporations. If there are any specific questions that you as the reader would like asked, (for example, if you are targeting towards a specific company) please send me the questions immediately so I can get it in the format.

  1. What is the best way to contact a company?
  2. How much time is involved in working with a company?
  3. What are the things that the physician can do that would be really helpful to a company (or the contact person at the company)?
  4. Is there anything in particular a physician should do to prepare to work with a company?
  5. Is there anything you would do differently in working with physicians?
  6. What positive experiences have you had utilizing chiropractic with your company?
  7. In what areas do you think you have benefited most utilizing chiropractic?
  8. How do you feel about prevention measures as compared to treatment options?

My intention is to get some tools we can use so that we have pertinent data for industry that will enlighten people as to the service that is available by the unchallenged biomechanical experts -- chiropractors. I am just doing the statistics on a prevention program that I did with Johnson Controls, builders of car seats, and all the data looks like a 75 percent reduction in workers' compensation costs for cumulative trauma. As a matter of fact, of the employees over almost a one-year period, not only were there no surgeries, not one employee had an EMG because symptoms had not justified it. Truly, those employees have stopped their progression on our biomechanical equation and are returning to normal biomechanics instead of presenting with pathology. I have several other studies currently, and I hope to have those available this year, again for use by enlightened practitioners whose interest in biomechanics and its preventative role in industry is of importance.

Click here for previous articles by Theodore Oslay, DC.

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