“Why don’t you take insurance?”
Some obvious and maybe not so obvious reasons why not
Happy morning, New Day community!
As you have probably noticed, I often like to use these blogs to address your frequently asked questions about chiropractic, Network Care, and what makes our office different.
We don’t always get a lot of questions about why we choose not to take insurance in our office, because I think for some of us with experience with insurance companies, the answers seem obvious.
Of course there’s the sheer amount of time and effort that myself and Amber would need to put forth in order to receive (what little) insurance companies might be willing to pay for your care. This extra time and effort devoted to something that has nothing to do with the quality of your care or experience at New Day would be prohibitive in and of itself. But this isn’t the only reason, or even our main reason for not accepting insurance.
More importantly, there is the matter of integrity. Integrity in what Network Care is, why you choose care for your spine and nervous system, and how this is not congruent in any way with what insurance companies look for when they decide what to reimburse.
I recently have had some opportunities to reflect on this, as I have been in the process of finishing up some continuing education hours for my license renewal at the end of the month. One recent webinar concerned proper records keeping and daily visit documentation to ensure for optimal third party pay out.
One little sentence in what was being discussed practically slapped me in the face as a clear reminder and example of why I could not be in integrity with my practice, myself, or you if I were accepting third party payments.
What was the sentence?
“Patient tolerated procedure without incident.”
This sentence was being cited as the standard, default way for the doctor to summarize and properly record the outcome of the adjustment.
Seriously?! Not “patient experienced spinal movement and reorganization that lead to feelings of increased energy and vitality”? Not “patient took the first deep breath she’s taken all day”? Not “patient initiated movement and experienced release in a part of the spine that she stated she has experienced as injured and painful since her father’s death 2 years ago”?
In what is supposedly the optimal outcome of a spinal adjustment in the world of insurance and Medicare, the patient, who you can imagine passively lying on a table waiting for the “procedure” being performed on her to be over, is simply a passive vessel and a collection of diagnoses, waiting to be fixed by the chiropractor, perhaps “tolerating” the unpleasantness of these procedures in the meantime.
In reality, your body, lead by your spine and nervous system ALWAYS does the healing. In Network Care this is sometimes even more obvious than in traditional chiropractic, because of the central role of the breath and movement responses, and your greater awareness in your body, to the adjustment process. And I say “process” because that’s what it is.
Your entire adjustment, or “session” as we sometimes call it, is a process of me checking and re-checking your spine and making specific adjustments to cue the responses in your nervous system. The process continues as you walk out the door and go back into your life, with your brain and body responding differently to life’s physical, emotional, and mental stressors. It’s not just to be different that we use the terms “client” or “practice member” in our office instead of “patient”; it’s because it more accurately describes the nature of our relationship and your role in your own healing process and spinal health.
And then there’s my favorite– the “without incident.”
At the risk of sounding too extreme, let me just say that I HOPE THERE IS AN INCIDENT! And by “incident” some examples would be an incident of you getting aware of something you need to get aware of in your body, experiencing and releasing emotion, moving on the table, fully experiencing pain you’ve resisted so that your nervous system can move on, or leaving New Day to make an important phone call you’ve been putting off or work on a goal that matters to you. If there are no “incidents,” this care really isn’t living up to it’s promise of radically re-programming your nervous system so that you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do.
And just to clarify, no, it is not REQUIRED that a doctor doing documentation to submit to insurance use this exact sentence in their notes. But the fact that this is standard operating procedure should tell you that anything that falls outside of that is going to be difficult for an insurance auditor to understand and result in not being covered. We choose not to misrepresent the whole point of your care in our office so that it might be acceptable to a third party who cares more about pain reduction in as few visits as possible than in anything approaching optimal wellbeing. We choose to put our time and effort instead into you and your health and wellbeing.
There is SO MUCH more I could say about the current state of health insurance and why it is more important than ever to take good care of yourself and your spine with a wellness oriented approach that goes far beyond what an insurance company wants to cover. But I will need to save some of those points for other blogs. In the meantime, I would love to read your comments below!