0 Taking Chiropractic Mobile
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Dynamic Chiropractic – December 1, 2020, Vol. 38, Issue 12

Taking Chiropractic Mobile

By Courtney Bumgarner, DC

The adventure of the mobile chiropractic office started, literally, as a dream. I had been intrigued by the idea since becoming part of a Facebook group called House Call Chiropractors Forum, consisting of other chiropractors who started their businesses under the mobile paradigm.

When I found this group, I was still working as an associate for another clinic, but knew I would eventually own my own office and wanted to research all of my options before I did so.

The mobile option was especially interesting to me because I am almost certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and want to focus on kids. If I can come to parents, I can save them the get-in-the-car, get-out-of-the-car, wrangle-them-at-the-office, get-back-in-the-car struggle that may be a barrier to some families being seen.

Then COVID hit. Due to many factors, I was laid off and eventually told I would not be hired back on. As a mother, homeowner and native to my area, I did not wish to move in order to start at a different chiropractic office.

Initially, I bought a portable table to set up in my living room and another portable table for my mobile appointments. But I ultimately realized this was not a sustainable solution to my practice location issue.

Additionally, patients reported they were cleaning forever before I came over, something else I didn't want: more stress for my patients to deal with and an additional barrier to them being seen. When we discussed it, parents seemed to like the mobile option, as they didn't have to bring themselves or their children to an office.

When I shared my idea with my family, they, like most I have told, thought it was a great solution. My brother in-law, who is very tech savvy, found a passenger bus, an old Baptist church bus, on an online auction site called Repocast here in Michigan. Then came the night of the bidding, Aug. 6. I do not think I have ever been more stressed out. I wanted a low-overhead office and this was pushing my budget past my comfort point, to put it lightly. Added to the fact that I was in a bidding war with another very determined person, and my anxiety was high, to say the least. But in the end, I won! The final bid was just shy of $5,000, which was also my hard stopping point.

I picked up the bus on Aug. 9. All I knew about it was from the pictures and brief overview from the website. I was shaking as I handed over the $5,740.23 check (taxes and fees add up quick).

mobile appointments - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Before and after photos of the bus Dr. Bumgarner bought for her mobile appointments. I had a vision for how I wanted it to turn out, but that was just about it. A vision, but no ability to make the changes that were necessary to create what I wanted. Fortunately, I have some amazing family who helped with the demolition and refurbishment. It took 48 hours of work over just about a week and $400 to change the inside of the bus to become something closer to what I had envisioned.

It's funny how your vision evolves as people help you, adding their perspective to create something you couldn't have imagined.

Dr. Bumgarner adjusting - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Dr. Bumgarner adjusting a patient in the mobile unit. The inside was completed on Sept. 22. The outside was in decent shape and really just needed new brakes and some touch-up painting before it was ready for the vinyl sticker to be placed. It was ready for our grand opening on Oct. 10. As of press time, the festivities were scheduled to be held in a rented pavilion at a local park where the kids can play and “The Wellness Wagon” is close by and available for a tour. I am also prepared for a flood of new patients signing up at the event.

I expect to see 40-50 patients per week once we have been up and running for a while. Since I see families, I plan to charge an additional $15/location mobile fee. For mobile appointments, I do schedule patients so I can group them together based on location.

I accept patients at my home, in the bus, and they can schedule themselves for that on the JaneApp I use as my EHR program. I am a cash practice, but with Jane I am able to put the CPT and DX codes on the invoices and email them a superbill so they can submit to their insurance. I can also accept HSA cards through my system.

Dr. Courtney Bumgarner - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I also plan to work with ChiroHealthUSA to provide a compliant discount to make it more affordable for families.

This business model provides solutions to barriers that some patients have created to avoid getting their family under chiropractic care, especially in these times in which we have found ourselves. Lets make house calls part of our future, not just medical history.

To do this, we need more people to make the leap to this paradigm. If I can assist anyone in doing this for another community, I would be happy to share more details of my journey to mobile chiropractic or help point you in the right direction.

Dr. Courtney Bumgarner is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and practices in Kalamazoo, Mich. Learn more and contact her via her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DevelopHealthChiro.

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