Ten to fifteen years ago chiropractors established professional success in part by the number of patients they took care of in a day or week. Seminars were given to teach young chiropractors how they could attract multitudes of patients to their offices. It was not unusual for a successful D.C. to adjust over 1,000 patients per week and see 50 new patients in the course of that period. Granted, “the numbers game” sometimes got out of hand and figures were often inflated in introducing speakers and advertising seminars. But, the fact remains that measuring success by the number of patients is determining success by service. Today it appears that success is measured by an altogether different criteria. A materialistic yardstick is now the indicator of success within our profession. Seminars emphasize how much money they can help you make rather than how many patients they can help you attract and adjust. Young chiropractors do not seem to strive to see a hundred patients a day but rather try to figure a means by which they can charge 100 dollars a patient. The measure of success today is not whether you are seeing a thousand patients a week but whether you are making a quarter of a million dollars a year. Greed has engulfed our profession as more and more chiropractors are practicing less and less chiropractic on fewer and fewer patients to get insurance and government dollars.
Recently a chiropractor spoke in a chiropractic college class in Patient Management and Office Procedure. The chiropractor had at one time one of the largest volume practices in his entire state. But, more recently he had changed to charging a high fee and maintaining almost a total insurance practice. This chiropractor, who was still a very young man, boasted to the students that now he was making three times the money he once did and was only expending one-third the energy. What he was saying was that he is now seeing one-third the patients. What a shame! What about all those people who need chiropractic care? And, what does he do with all his extra time? Perhaps he tries to find ways to spend all the extra money. I think every individual has the right to wealth if he or she so deserves, but not at the expense of chiropractic for humanity. If this chiropractor continued to work as hard as he once did he should make six times as much money (if my mathematics is correct.) It appears that in this case, and I do not believe this one chiropractor is an isolated case, that the amount of money you make is inversely proportional to the amount of chiropractic service you give. That principle is born out by the fact that in this area the chiropractor making the most money practices no chiropractic at all.
Ten years ago one of the most respected chiropractors I have ever had the privilege of knowing said something frighteningly prophetic. It was during a discussion of the straight-mixing controversy that he stated that the issue of mixing chiropractic would not destroy our profession. “If anything destroys chiropractic it will be materialism.”
In less than ten years that statement is on the verge of coming true. Greed has permeated most professions. Professional sports has become big business. Law and medicine, with few exceptions, are mostly about the task of making money. We somehow think that the clergy and chiropractic are two professions who should be above the greed lust. But, it appears we are not. It does not appear that the desire for the dollar will abate before it gets worse. For the materialistic chiropractor will attract materialistic students to our colleges and the syndrome will be perpetuated.
The success of our profession is based upon two things. One, we have a principle that enables the human organism to express a little more of its innate potential. Chiropractic does not have the ability to make drastic changes in bodily function as do drugs and surgery. But, the body has oft times almost miraculous ability to heal itself and that is the reason for our success.
The second reason is that chiropractors have always been people-oriented. The pioneers in our profession fought for, and went to jail for a principle that they thought was important. Humanity deserved to experience the benefits of that principle. Most of them could have had easier lives and made more lucrative livings doing something else. But, “chiropractic for humanity” was too important. Very few became rich but they took care of many people and gave us the heritage we now have. We are ignoring that heritage and “going for the big bucks.” This attitude and problem transcends straight–mixing lines. The attitude pervades all of our colleges. It may be an unspoken attitude on the straight college campus but it is nevertheless there, judging from the way the graduates practice when they go into the field. The materialistic attitude could be overlooked if the doctors used the money to educate the public to chiropractic, for grants for chiropractic research, or plowed it back into the colleges. But, judging from the pleas that almost daily come in the mail, very little of the money made in chiropractic is being returned to chiropractic. Greed and materialism will strangle our profession faster than anything. In the verbal jargon of the straight-mixing battle, we have stopped using a word that was very popular 10 years ago. Anyone who has graduated from chiropractic college in the last five years may not have even heard the term but it best describes the type of chiropractor we need and the type our colleges had better begin to produce. What we need are Principled Chiropractors.


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