The New Modifiable Lifestyle Factor-Functional Finances

The new modifiable lifestyle factor-functional finances with Kara Ware
The new modifiable lifestyle factor-functional finances with Kara Ware

Finding the Best Pricing Model

Good Medicine On the Go Ep.4 Finding the Best Pricing Model for your Practice gave practical tips and strategies for creating a long-term, viable business model. Dr. Morris reviewed four functional medicine pricing options: Insurance, Membership-Hybrid, Cash, Direct Primary Care Model, plus how to begin practicing Functional Medicine if you are a practitioner in a contracted position.

One of the episode’s key takeaways to creating that long-term viable business model is by implementing the “crawl/walk/run” theory. Start by crawling with very low overhead and a reasonable fee per hour (offer coupons to the industry-standard hourly rates). This gives patients an easier entry to your practice and to functional medicine. As you build your reputation and word-of-mouth referrals, you begin to walk. Once you have a waitlist and are running, it’s time to increase your prices to the premium hourly fee.

It’s time to reimagine how we guide patients on their path of transformation.

As more patients begin to choose to invest in functional medicine services, we as a medical model need to be more proactive to mitigate patient overwhelm and, thus, improve patient retention.

Even before the global pandemic and unprecedented unemployment rates, finances are a major source of stress for patients and, thus, inflammation.  Although uncomfortable, I believe the financial discussion must be a part of a therapeutic plan. With this important concept/realization in mind, I introduced Functional Finances as the new modifiable lifestyle factor.

As an industry, we must do a better job of preparing patients for the process and partnership.

This can be accomplished by playing offense in preparing your patient to assume their role and voice as an equal partner, plus including Functional Finances as a new modifiable lifestyle factor.

Therapeutic Partnerships Roadmap Course

The Therapeutic Partnership Roadmap is a new course for functional medicine practitioners to help you design and streamline your operation systems effectively. This ensures you get the right patients through the door, empower the patient to be your equal partner, and keep them engaged long enough to experience profound clinical outcomes.

Here are four ways to be proactive and build a long-term viable business model.

#1. If you are a new practitioner, consider offering coupon codes discounting your $400-$500/hour fee until your reputation and word-of-mouth grow and your schedule becomes full. Once your reputation is established, and you are running, you will no longer need the coupon code.

#2. Health Coaching plays a pivotal role in functional medicine. If you would like assistance in preparing your patients to be your equal therapeutic partner and include Functional Finances as part of your patient’s care, check out my Therapeutic Partnerships Roadmap Course.

#3. Consider offering a group coaching outreach program centered around Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. When I offered this group outreach program, one family I was coaching identified they were spending $700 a month on fast food. Previously, they thought they couldn’t afford Functional Medicine care for their son living with autism. When the family made a plan to reallocate those funds toward working with a Functional Medicine provider, after 18 months, their teenage son was no longer a threat to himself or those around him.

#4. Have your patients organize, document, track, and budget their functional medicine care by using this functional medicine care planner. Dr. Dan Kalish says this is “a patient compliance tool par excellence”.

“The money conversation is so uncomfortable for both sides. It’s like talking about sex with someone. People stumble through sexual relationships without even asking their partner what they like, and I think it’s the same thing with money.”There are so many emotional buttons. The idea of having a frank conversation about the money part and then adjusting it based on budget and what’s realistic is a patient compliance tool par excellence. It will give people this emotional connection, which is very rare. What I’ve seen in clinics is office managers figure out an informal way to do this, but it’s not formalized as part of the actual patient interaction. It’s more like, “What do you think? You can’t do that?” It’s not brought into the light. It’s more like a shamed conversation behind the scenes. This is great. You guys actually have a technique to make it real.”   Dr. Dan Kalish

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