Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) often look for ways to bring their patients’ care under one roof rather than sending them all over the Lonestar state to get care.
To meet this need, many healthcare providers are considering integrating medicine into their chiropractic practice.
Medical integration definition allows different types of healthcare professionals with different licenses to work collaboratively as a team to support their patients.
In many cases, this starts with a DC working with a licensed MD or DO at the same practice location to achieve healing using natural techniques.
Over time, other providers—like physical therapists and dietitians—can join the practice to offer truly integrated care.
When deciding to integrate your practice, one of the most important things you can do is consult with an experienced Austin healthcare lawyer.
Working with a lawyer can help you integrate your clinic with a physician-owner while maintaining control over the company you’ve worked hard to build.
What Is Medical Practice Integration?
Texas law allows doctors of chiropractic to form jointly-operated business entities with physicians. Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 679 into law on June 1, 2017.
The bill eliminated the legal and logistical hurdles that previously discouraged Texas DCs from offering medically-integrated care to patients.
The medical integration definition has traditionally been understood as being medicine that takes into account people in their entirety: lifestyle, mind, body, and soul.
Integrated medicine treats the whole person, not just disease. When healthcare professionals decide to integrate their practices, they work with a medical integration team to diagnose each patient and ensure that the issue is cured.
What Are the Benefits of Medical Practice Integration?
One of the main benefits of medical practice integration is that it creates a one-stop shop for patients.
In a medically integrated practice, the patient can receive comprehensive care for illness prevention and wellness.
This includes providing wellness services for patients who traditionally would only seek care if they were actively ill and would not pay for preventive medicine.
Access to Insurance Benefits
Another benefit, especially for DCs integrating their practice with MDs, is that a fully accredited and integrated medical center may provide patients with greater provider choice and access to insurance benefits when selecting providers.
Health insurance companies tend to have different rules when negotiating with practices owned by MDs versus DCs. This aspect of medical practice integration can be a financial boon to providers.
In fact, the managed care system is set up to minimize expenses while improving the efficiency of the health care delivery system.
In a medically integrated office, providers are poised to meet the demands of patients and insurance networks.
Reduction in Liability
Reducing provider liability is also an essential part of integrating your practice.
Having specialists working together under one roof with a mutually enhanced understanding of a patient’s needs and conditions provides a terrific opportunity to treat the whole person.
Fewer diagnoses may go unspotted, therefore reducing liability.
Because of these many benefits, medical practice integration may offer your practice a unique opportunity for growth.
Speaking with a healthcare attorney to set your medically integrated practice up in the most advantageous way possible can put you on the path to success.
Potential Risks of Medical Practice Integration
Philosophy of Care
There are some potential risks and downsides to integrating your practice.
For a chiropractor wishing to align practices and integrate with a medical doctor, both healthcare providers should be very well-versed in chiropractic philosophy and natural healing.
If the medical doctor or any other provider joining the integrated practice questions the values or treatment benefits from the DC, this may turn a successful chiropractic office into a poorly integrated medical office with a focus on financially lucrative diagnostic tests and medication rather than holistic care.
Integrating a practice may mean increasing services beyond the scope of a DC license.
This carries some liability concerns, especially since some added services, like prescription medication, may not be traditionally within the scope of chiropractic practice.
A healthcare lawyer can help you address these issues in a medical integration plan.
Medical Insurance Issues
Contracts with insurance companies mean you agree to a reduced fee for a contracted service.
If you integrate your practices and add services that include a non-provider within your practice, it might be considered a breach of your insurance contract.
These changes may even get you removed as a plan provider. This, in turn, can decrease your patient load and hence your revenue. A qualified healthcare attorney can help you navigate this.
Integrate Your Medical Practice with the Help of a Healthcare Law Attorney in Austin, Texas
And the company can be structured to allow you to keep up to 100% of retained earnings and the proceeds of an eventual clinic sale.
We can also convert older “dual entity” practices into new, streamlined “single-entity” practices that provide these advantages.
Joshua Massingill and his team helps Texas chiropractors successfully navigate complex legal issues.
Contact us today to see how a healthcare law attorney can help you integrate your practice.