Harvest Your Cash Crop
By Lawton W. Howell
The decision to make the transition from an insurance-based practice to a cash practice is not the subject of this article. But, it is about harvesting more cash from your practice orchard.
There are many ways to harvest more cash from your practice, but here are three tactics that can improve your cash flow and provide real benefits to your patients:
Program of Care
Typically, after a comprehensive examination and consultation, the patient is given the cost to restore their spinal health. This could include any insurance benefits plus the cash portion which is the responsibility of the patient. A simple change to this protocol will enhance and improve your cash flow: offer three options. People love options. Some may be seeking pain relief; others may desire a holistic wellness plan. Give the patient the choice. Don't make the decision on their behalf.
Your program of care should include three plans: Basic, Optimum and Good, offered in that order. Your basic plan is the minimum care that you recommend. The optimum plan is what you would do for your family or best patient. And, the good plan, is the one that provides more than the basic, but is more affordable than the optimum plan. After the consultation with your patient, during the financial component of the consultation, provide the patient with a printed form with the three options and the financial obligations for each recommended plan.
Answer any questions and then allow the patient to make the selection for the level of care they desire and collect the fee for the program of care. Some patients can easily cover a $10,000 fee with their American Express Black Card, others may need to write a check and others will be unable to make the payment. If the patient is unable to prepay for their program of care, offer a payment plan. But avoid becoming a banker to your patients. Use third-party payment programs or other solutions that are best for your practice. You may want to avoid any third-party credit plan if subject to credit approval. When a patient is denied credit, it creates an uncomfortable situation between the patient and your staff.
Here's the psychology of this approach for improving your cash flow:
Instead of getting 100% selecting your standard recommendations, you improve your cash flow with 70% of the new patient conversions. Allowing the patient to select the level of care they desire and can afford, they feel better about their decision to select your brand of chiropractic. And since the assumptive close is prepayment, you will find most patients will opt for the plan they can afford. This works in both the all cash or blended practice model and will have a significant impact on your cash flow.
The gift card industry is huge because it works. Most successful brands offer a gift card program and you can, too. Gift cards are purchased. Gift card sales are cash transactions. Gift cards are redeemed in the future, if ever.
There are three key tactic for using gift cards to improve your cash practice:
While there are seasonable opportunities to market your brand of chiropractic in gift cards, they can be offered anytime. A customer or patient may wish to share your services or products with a family member, friend or co-worker for their birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. Massage is popular. But, other services like weight-loss, smoking cessation and any of your other products or services can stimulate gift card sales.
Gift cards can be for any denomination, $25 to $5000! And all are prepaid. During a holiday promotion, you could easily sell 100 cards for $100 each. That's an extra $10,000 in the bank! Add value to the gift card sales by offering gift wrapping! And, for those patients who elect to prepay for their program of care, you can issue them your branded plastic card for the value of their plan. You swipe the card as they utilize the plan services or products, providing a digital trail of transactions. Oh, by the way, a plastic card is much more impactful than a paper gift certificate.