Take this simple step for optimal outcomes
Many chiropractors struggle with implementing foot stabilization and custom flexible orthotics into their day-to-day protocol. Let’s get to the bottom of what it will take to help your patients achieve the optimal spinal health they deserve through custom foot alignment and explore the benefits your practice could experience.
Loving Service is My First Technique
More effective adjustments and optimal care that leads to increased patient service and ultimately collections is a worthy goal for your practice. But in the hubbub of busy day-to-day, important steps can fall through the cracks when they are not fully implemented and systematized. In my 40 years of service to chiropractic care, I can boil down the #1 most difficult task for any practice: implementation. And implementation will not happen without a plan.
As you make important decisions that will affect procedures and protocols for your office, it is important to have a goal in mind. A keen understanding of your vision for optimal care and the course you need to take to get there is where to start.
Failing to Plan is a Plan for Failure
With this in mind, let’s put together a plan for implementing foot assessment with Foot Levelers Kiosk Foot Scanner technology or casting kits into your everyday protocol. It’s a simple procedure and easy to incorporate into every patient’s care. To start, reflect on the following:
- Stabilizing the body with functional orthotics helps decrease pain throughout the body, enhances athletic performance, and supports overall health. It’s key to successful chiropractic care.
- Since you know that, are you evaluating every patient’s feet, the foundation of their spine, and restoring proper alignment with custom orthotics?
- If you’re not doing that, what is stopping you from implementing it into your care?
If you struggled with these questions, be sure you have studied the research showing how the use of these functional orthotics changes the entire body’s alignment, and supports the spinal changes provided in the chiropractic adjustments. Every member of your staff can make a difference in educating patients about the foot-spine connection. Team members often have more face-to-face time with patients than the doctor to help share that important information.
You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get
Most patients come to your practice to get to the cause of their problem, and they expect you to make your best recommendations. Then, they can best decide on a plan of care based on those recommendations. If you are not regularly evaluating their feet, you may not have created protocol around it for best implementation. Assessing the feet only when there is a foot or leg complaint is like brushing your teeth only when there is a toothache…and this important step could uncover ancillary issues to support your spinal diagnosis.
Best practice is to educate patients about the connection between foot function and total body health and make assessing foot function part of each new patient evaluation. Since practically everyone has some degree of foot dysfunction, how many of your new patients fit this group? How many missed opportunities did you have to educate them about spinal pelvic stabilization? Speak the language of spinal pelvic stabilization from the front desk to the treatment rooms to the insurance department. Practices who do this have implemented the process so thoroughly, it has become a part of them. Team members admit that when they are standing behind someone in a grocery line, they are looking at the heel wear of the shoes in front of them to observe the foot dysfunction that it reveals.
A Good Example Has Twice the Value of Good Advice
I wear my Vegas™ custom orthotic flip-flops with the built-in 3-arch orthotic almost every day in the summer. I get so many compliments on them! This gives me the perfect opportunity to explain that they are functional orthotics, keeping my kinetic chain stable through the entire gait cycle. On a recent visit, I even educated my medical doctor about them.
Sometimes, it is easier to convince a patient to use orthotics in a sandal or shoe than to use them in existing shoes. Outfit your team (including yourself) in Foot Levelers Shoethotics® or Sandalthotics® and allow them to be a great example of, “we practice what we preach”.
Proper Billing for Shoes
Sometimes, patients have third-party coverage for medically necessary orthotics. As with all care submitted for reimbursement from carriers, coverage for orthotics is provided according to the medical review policy of the carrier. Often, this is where you’ll find the diagnosis codes that are covered, the requirements for coverage, and other important details that ensure you are submitting only the services for which you can be reimbursed.
When coverage is provided for custom orthotics, and medical necessity is established, you may decide that the best fit for the patient is a custom orthotic that is embedded in the shoe. It’s never appropriate to bill a third-party payer for the actual shoe unless coverage is provided. Often, the shoes are only covered for certain diagnosis codes or conditions (e.g., diabetes), and often, these shoes must be prescribed by an MD which may limit the availability for coverage.
So, what happens if a patient does have coverage for orthotics, and the best fit for the patient is to prescribe Sandalthotics®, Shoethotics® or custom flip-flops products in which the functional orthotic is built into or provided with a shoe? Or, what if the patient is purchasing shoes with custom orthotics, even if the orthotic is removable because the shoes are used daily for work? While the orthotic may be deemed medically necessary and therefore potentially “coverable” through the third-party payer, it’s unlikely that the shoe would be covered. In those instances where there is coverage, it is appropriate to bill the carrier for the custom orthotic and bill the patient separately for the corresponding shoes.
A Challenge for You
I would like to challenge you to go back through your statistics for the past six months. How many new patients did you see during that time? This is a great number for your office to use to set some realistic goals. It may be impractical to expect that 100% of those patients will choose to purchase custom orthotics, even if prescribed. But, when you calculate the cost into the total patient responsibility and have good solid payment plans available in your office, you should see that most patients will accept your recommendations.
Foot Levelers is there to help you and provide you with all the tools you need. If you feel you need additional help, they will do whatever it takes to make sure you have what you need. I encourage you to take the time to set your goals, do your homework, educate your team members, and make an evaluation of the feet a part of every new patient experience in your office.
Kathy is a globally recognized expert on the compliance and financial operations of a successful chiropractic practice. With 40 years of service to the chiropractic community, she got her start as a CA in 1983. Since then, Kathy has been sharing her expertise on Medicare, compliance, billing, coding, insurance, patient financial procedures and documentation with audiences around the world. A popular and highly experienced speaker, she has served on many national and state level chiropractic organizations, boards and advisory councils. She is also the owner and CEO of KMC University, which she founded in 2007.