A Letter to a Chiropractor in the Time of COVID-19

December 02, 2020

Dear Doctor,

If you’ve been practicing in the time of coronavirus, then you know how much the pandemic has changed the state of chiropractic care.

Who knows how the virus will continue to impact the industry in the future, but you can take steps to help improve your position. 

A few challenges that chiropractors have been facing:

  • Number of in-person appointments dropping
  • Lost patients
  • Lost revenue
  • Uncertain future

It’s with these challenges in mind that I want to offer ideas for eight solutions that are available to chiropractors practicing in the United States during this pandemic to help them operate as efficiently as possible.

Let’s take a look at each problem and potential solutions.

The number of in-person appointments dropping

Solution: Make your patients feel safe

During these uncertain times, it’s especially important for doctors to make their patients feel safe. You can do this by incorporating a few changes to your processes and sharing these changes with your patients. Here are some adjustments you can make:

  • Come up with a sanitizing routine and keep your practice sparkly clean.
  • Test your employees regularly.
  • Provide masks and hand sanitizer to your patients.
  • Enable e-check-in so that patients don’t have to interact with other patients in the waiting room.
  • Make telehealth options available.

It’s essential that you communicate these safety measures with your patients so they know that you’re looking out for their safety.

Solution: Take advantage of telehealth

Chiropractors have been using telehealth since before the pandemic. In an article in NCMIC, they discuss certain circumstances where telehealth might apply to chiropractic care, but it’s imperative that you check with your state and the health plan before attempting to bill for any telemedicine. The most common CPT codes that chiropractors billed for when it came to telehealth before coronavirus were 99212-99215, which focus on evaluating and counseling established patients. 

During the pandemic, there has been a temporary expansion of telehealth by different plan providers where they have expanded the CPT codes they will accept. You’ll need to check with each plan to see what they allow. If your patient’s plan covers a certain telehealth option, this will enable you to continue to help your patients, especially those who are high-risk or fearful during these unprecedented times.

Lost patients

Solution: Ramp up your marketing efforts

Regardless of covid, there will always be turnover for patients, but with covid, many chiropractors have seen that turnover increase. In order to make up for higher attrition, you should ramp up your marketing efforts to acquire new patients.

There are a number of ways that you can advance your marketing efforts, but it’s important to do marketing and try different avenues especially if you’ve been losing patients. If you’ve got a small budget to spend then you can try a direct mail campaign, advertising in local publications, or a pay-per-click campaign. If you’re looking to do it more on a budget, then you can focus on optimizing your website for SEO, social media, content, and email marketing. 

Solution: Focus on no-shows and inactive patients 

You don’t just have to market to new leads, you can also market to people who scheduled an appointment and never showed up, patients who haven’t had an appointment in a while, and old patients. This audience might be warmer, and more receptive, to your marketing campaigns since they have some familiarity with your practice. Just make sure that you create an enticing offer that provides enough value so that they will be more inclined to act.

Lost revenue

Solution: Improve your billing

One way to help generate revenue is to make sure that you’re improving your billing practices. Many chiropractors lose a lot of money on poor billing practices, incorrectly submitted or denied claims. Here a few ideas for how you can improve your billing processes:

  • Complete pre-authorizations before starting treatment
  • Evaluate accounts receivable
  • Document, document, document 
  • Improve code accuracy
  • Analyze denied claims
  • Hire and train help
  • Utilize technology

If you can improve any combination of these areas, you’ll increase your revenue.

Solution: Know your costs and adjust fees accordingly

As a chiropractor, you’re going to have a set number of costs - your overhead. These costs are things like payroll, rent, insurance, property tax, utilities, and the like. You can calculate your cost per patient by dividing your annual overhead by the number of patients you see per year. For example, if your annual overhead is $200,000/yr and you see 4000 patients per year, then your cost per patient would be 200,000/4,000 or $50.

You might have done this exercise a while ago, but covid might have changed your numbers. It’s important to know your current cost per patient and not be operating on an outdated figure. If your current cost per patient has risen, then you’ll want to adjust your fees to make sure that you aren’t losing money. You need to make sure that your cash/TOS prices are more than your cost per patient or else you’ll be operating in the red.

Uncertain future

Solution: Plan for the worst, hope for the best

This saying offers solid wisdom at any time, but it especially resonates during this pandemic. It’s always better to be prepared for a rainy day and surprised by a sunny one not the other way around. You may not be able to predict the future, but you can do your best to plan ahead. Make sure you aren’t over levered and that you have cash savings to help you stay afloat.

Solution: Take advantage of helpful resources

Lastly, take advantage of whatever resources you can. During the pandemic, the US government has already issued aid packages like the Paycheck Protection Program, which you could qualify for as a chiropractor. There may be more government aid packages available as the pandemic continues.

However, government isn’t the only resource you can utilize, check for support from nonprofits, trade organizations and private businesses during this time. Many businesses and organizations are offering special discounts or reduced rates during these trying times. Always be on the lookout for support because the early bird gets the aid.

Final Takeaways

To review, the 4 problems and eight solutions that we propose exploring during these uncertain times:

Problem: Number of in-person appointments dropping

Solution: Make your patients feel safe

                  Take advantage of telehealth

Problem: Lost patients

Solution: Ramp up your marketing efforts

                 Focus on no-shows and inactive patients

Problem: Lost revenue

Solution: Improve your billing

                 Know your costs and adjust fees accordingly

Problem: Uncertain future

Solution: Plan for the worst, hope for the best

                  Take advantage of helpful resources

If you’re looking to expand your marketing efforts during these difficult times, then we might be able to help and provide you with additional support and low cost rates. Please check out our website or email me at jessie@chirohosting.com.

I’m here to provide advice and guidance on your marketing efforts during these difficult times. Even if you aren’t a great customer fit for ChiroHosting, which isn’t likely, I promise you’ll still get some value out of a conversation.


Jessie Wilkie

Marketing Director at ChiroHosting


Jessie Wilkie

Jessie loves marketing. As a creative and analytical person, she loves exploring creative ways to help Chiropractors grow their practices. She has seven years of digital marketing experience along with her MBA from Cal Poly Slo and her Bachelor's from UC Santa Cruz.

Business Advice, Chiropractic Marketing