19 Aug How Do You Maintain a Practice While Treating Pro Sports Teams? 2 DCs Weigh In
While many DCs consider it a privilege and an honor to treat pro sports teams, let’s be honest. Sometimes this isn’t an easy thing to do without hurting your private practice in the process.
That’s why we reached out to two pro sports DCs who seem to have this type of situation figured out. This is what they had to tell us.
Top Challenges of Dual Practice Obligations
There are a couple of challenges that come with maintaining a solid chiropractic practice while also tending to pro sports teams. One is the amount of time the pro team can take from your day-to-day business.
“Just being out of the office for team commitments was a huge hit in my practice income,” says Dr. Stacey S. Conrad DC, CCSP, CCEP, of Premier Sports Chiropractic and team chiropractor for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts from 1995 to 2008.
Between traveling 90 miles each way to training camp twice a week for the whole month of August, spending one day a week at the team facility during the regular and off seasons, being present at every home game, and traveling for all away games and practices—even preseason—Dr. Conrad’s time at his practice quickly became more limited. So too did his time at home.
“I missed birthdays, holidays, family and friend time,” he says, indicating that there was a decent amount of sacrifice. “You are basically working seven days a week for six months. It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.”
Dr. Louis E. Bisogni, DC, CCSP of Bisogni Chiropractic has maintained his practice while also treating pro sports teams in the New York area and he agrees that time is definitely a factor. “On Wednesdays, I’ll be down at the stadium versus my sole practice,” he says. As you can imagine, losing a whole day at the office can really make you feel the pinch.
Obviously, the fewer clients you have time to treat, the lower the number of billable hours you’re able to submit. Therefore, another challenge to treating pro teams while also running a solo practice is the “possible financial loss you may experience by losing hours in your clinic” says Dr. Bisogni.
Still, both Drs. Conrad and Bisogni managed to keep their practices up and running while being a valuable part of a pro sports team. How?
How to Overcome These Challenges
For starters, “you really have to have a passion for the game and your profession because there are sacrifices made,” says Dr. Conrad. But there are also a few things you can do to help make it easier to manage.
“I quickly realized my income was affected and decided to hire associates to keep the office going,” he said. Though, admittedly, that brought some challenges of its own because it also meant training new associates and giving them enough time to become established. Plus, “more doctors require more staff and more expense,” Dr. Conrad says. “You find yourself working hard to pay others.”
To help with this, Dr. Conrad suggests that it is extremely important to hire the right associate and/or staff member, someone who is honest, hard-working, and fits with your practice both personality-wise and philosophically. “Managing it all becomes a delicate balancing act, for sure,” he says, adding that “no matter the obstacles, changes are required to grow in the direction you desire.”
Dr. Bisogni has managed the time issue by setting dedicated time aside from his practice and replacing it with time at the team’s facility. “Sounds simple,” he says, “but I would make a three- or four-hour block of time twice a week to be at their facility.”
The reason this type of schedule has worked best is not only because many players benefit from a twice-a-week adjustment, but also because it enabled Dr. Bisogni to schedule his time out of the office when it was best for him.
Regarding the potential financial loss, “my suggestion is to negotiate a fair price from the team,” Dr. Bisogni recommends. “If you keep it reasonable and real, there should be no resistance.” Plus, it results in less of an impact on your practice.
Additional Tips for DCs Who Want to Run a Practice While Treating the Pros
If you’re interested in adding pro sports teams to your list of patients, both Drs. Conrad and Bisogni have a bit of advice.
“Be sure you have a trusted family member or relative who has your interest as a primary concern to watch over your practice in your absence,” recommends Dr. Conrad. “It is your practice and issues can get out of control quickly when you are not present.”
“Be well trained with sports certifications required by many of the teams and to demonstrate that you are top in the field of chiropractic medicine,” adds Dr. Bisogni, and “always be a ‘team player,’ meaning never overstep your bounds. How you interact with the team players, physical therapists, and medical staff is what will keep you on the job.”
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