What CAs do:
As you well know, CAs are extremely active in supporting the day-to-day operations of any chiropractic practice.
From an operational standpoint, CAs answer phones, scheduling and booking appointments, handle payments, maintaining filing, some marketing duties, database upkeep, sorting and sending mail, laundering towels and gowns,
When it comes to patient care, CAs greet and check patients in and out, perform new patient interviews, educate patients, perform exams, take x-rays, recording vital signs, checking supplies and equipment, ordering, administer electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and hot and cold pack applications.
They also do the brunt of work with medical billing and coding, dealing with insurance companies, patient transfers, training new staff, and following up on collections.
A good CA’s skill set:
With a litany of tasks to perform, CAs need a wide array of valuable skills, both on the administrative side of running an office and when it comes to patient care. The best CAs are friendly, energetic, well-spoken, caring, meticulous, passionate about their work, dedicated to helping people. They also need to be versed on how to best use technology, marketing, and systems to keep an office running smoothly, as well as be educated about the essentials of healthcare, medical, and chiropractic terminology and concepts.
Why CAs are vital to good patient experiences:
While it may be your name on the sign, CAs are the “face” of your practice, most often the first voice a patient hears on the phone and the first person they see when walking in your office’s front door. A warm, friendly, professional, well-educated, and organized CA can make all the difference in setting a positive experience for patients. The importance of first impressions can’t be understated, as well as having a clean, modern, and aesthetically appealing office that breeds confidence, trust, and credibility.
CA Education and training:
Many CAs have only a high school diploma, but in order to reach the highest professional standards, it’s recommended they enroll in a postsecondary education program in chiropractic or medical assisting, or pursue professional certification.
In order to advance their careers and be more valuable to their employer, CAs are encouraged to complete the necessary program to earn certifications like Certified Chiropractic Assistant, Chiropractic Assistant Advanced and Chiropractic Assistant Basic.
Many offices also choose to only hire CA with at least one year of previous experience, either as a CA, in a chiropractic environment, or in a medical setting.
CA Pay and career data:
Careers in chiropractic assistance have grown significantly in recent years, matching overall trends for the increasing number of medical assistants. In fact, the projected gob growth for CAs is 29% between 2012 and 2022.
As of the close of 2014, the average median salary for all CAs in the country was $26,612 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.com. Other surveys show that CAs earn approximately $11.96 per hour on average.
Research shows that the biggest factors that determine a CA’s pay are the amount of years and experience in the field as well as the city and state of residence. Fewer than one in five CAs report receiving medical coverage and less than one in ten collect dental insurance from their employers
The vast majority of Chiropractic Assistants report being satisfied or very satisfied with the jobs and choice of career.
Risk and compliance:
CAs are also a first and important line of defense against compliance issues. With regulations, laws and standards constantly changing and variance by state and even insurance company, it’s essential to stay informed. Not knowing a rule or law endangers a chiropractor with increased risk of a serious compliant, fine, lawsuit, suspension of license, or even criminal action!
Here is just a sample of the regulations and laws you need to be in compliance with:
- HIPAA Training and Implementation
- Fair Credit Act training for collections procedures
- Participating insurance plans compliance
- Medicare compliance
- Federal inducement bylaws
Therefore, it’s vital you make sure CAs are well trained and education on professional standards, and also periodically research and update you on important changes. Doing so will save your practice significant resources while protecting your good name and ability to earn a living.
Benefits to a well-trained CA:
As a good rule of thumb, every hour invested in training and educating CAs will yield at least 20 hours of time and financial savings for their employing chiropractors. A well-trained, competent CA can smoothly manage the day-to-day tasks of the office and implement systems that ensure:
- Higher profits
- Practice growth
- Happier patients
- Better reviews
- Less stress
- Freedom to take more time off
- More referrals
- Clear definition of roles and responsibilities
- Increased patient retention
- Organized policies and procedures
- Less risk
- Less staff turnover
The bottom line on CA training:
Let’s face it, taking the time and energy out of your day to train your CAs isn’t always the most fun use of your time, and we know that chiropractors have a million other tasks to complete. In fact, most chiropractors report that the most common factors that hold them back from better training their CAs are time, money, patience, skills, and information.
But the reality is that chiropractors can’t afford NOT to properly train their CAs. Whether you choose to train in-house, enlist a proven method of coaching like Dr. Charles Ward’s Innate Legacy program, or send them to a training session, a little organized and dedicated time spent training them in the short term will yield huge rewards very quickly. Your office will be more efficient, focused on patient care, and earn higher profits than ever before – a no brainer for any chiropractor!