Beware of Limited Service Chiropractic Franchises
Doctors of Chiropractic need to take extra care to do their “due diligence” before buying into the “Chiropractic Franchise” programs that advertise that they offer only “Adjustments” on a “membership basis”.
Chiropractic Franchise programs are being marketed to doctors across the country and in Texas, in particular, that purport to offer a very streamlined program of “adjustments” and nothing else.
Under these limited practice franchise programs the doctor’s “clinic” would only offer adjustments, with no therapy programs or other type of passive services being provided. Patients could walk in, or purchase “memberships” under which they would receive a discounted price for pre-payment of their membership fee. This type of limited service program is being marketed as the coming trend in chiropractic – cheap, no-frills, adjustments. All advertising and marketing for the franchise is handled as part of the “franchise packages” sold by the corporate organization. It makes for a pretty attractive package for doctors looking for a new twist in the chiropractic profession.
However, extreme caution should be taken before the doctor buys into one of these limited service franchise programs.
One of the largest of these limited service franchises is under investigation by several state chiropractic boards who are concerned that the “franchise program” would violate state regulatory requirements regarding the nature of services required to be provided by doctors of chiropractic (e.g. patient examination, diagnoses and preparation of treatment plans), as well as the degree of medical documentation required to be provided by doctors.
Other state board concerns are that these limited service franchises are violating state rules requiring pro-rata refunds to patients of unused payments for services under the franchise’s membership programs. Moral of this story – if you are considering buying one of these limited service chiropractic franchises, ask its management some hard questions – then get a lawyer knowledgeable in the rules maintained by your state chiropractic board and have him or her advise you on whether they believe the franchise program would comply with your board’s regulatory program. Remember, if the sh*% were to hit the fan, the mother corporation from whom you bought the franchise will be looking the other way and you’ll be the one that takes the direct hit!