Does insurance cover that?

Welcome to your local auto body shopYou’re in your car, rocking out to your Beyoncé Spotify playlist on the snowy streets of Boston, when all of the sudden your bliss is interrupted by a screeching tire. You barely have time to brace yourself before you hear the inevitable thump followed by broken metal and glass. You’ve become a victim of the dreaded rear-end. As you step out to survey the damage, you swap insurance papers and, with a pit in your stomach, start dialing the auto shop.

Walking into the bowels of an auto shop is like going back in time – space heaters supplying what heat there is, calendars of scantily clad females, and day old coffee in those Styrofoam cups. Even the radio blasting Guns ‘n Roses looks straight out of the 80’s. No Beyoncé on shuffle here; the old rock n roll classics are only interrupted by the sharp clanks of tools hitting metal.

As the auto body guy walks you to the office to go over your bill,  he keeps bitching and moaning about the insurance companies and how much they are pressuring the “little guy”. “We used to get $10,000 for this job years ago,” he says, “now they squeeze us to do it for $4500.” He continues, lamenting how the insurance companies try to make him look like the bad guy who’s charging his patrons all this extra money. “They’re making it so hard to just do my job!”

Sound familiar?

As DCs, have we veered away from patient care to exclusively focusing on insurance reimbursement and ICD 10 conversion numbers? Do we look at the insurance policy or the person in need? Profits before people or is there still a sacred bond between doctor and patient?

Medical mistakes are already the third leading cause of death in the United States, but it’s brushed off and blindly accepted as collateral damage. If you’ve ever been to a hospital, it’s all about administration, paperwork and busyness…only about 5% patient care. The more you copy this model in your office, the further away from your dream practice you will stray. Are we still willing to give our best effort as individual DCs and as a profession or does the care and compassion end when the money runs out?

For you analytical people, the realists, the number guys and gals, yes, of course there is a business side to all offices. But if your focus is on insurance coverage and how to get the most bang for your patient, you’re missing the point completely. Insurance coverage and companies come and go. They are constantly changing the rules, but one thing should never change: the doctor’s commitment to their patients. Are you practicing the way you want to or being “forced” to conform to the way insurance companies are going to make you practice, desperately hoping they don’t make another new rule next year.

For 2016 and beyond, renew your commitment to patient care. When you have their highest good foremost in your heart, your needs will be taken care of…and then some! Visit any huge big vision or subluxation-based office and you will see the same thing: a highly motivated, compassionate DC who loves serving people. They are in service to their patients.