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The Joint Demonstrates Power of Franchising in Health Care


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Have you heard of The Joint? It’s a franchised chiropractic chain that’s exemplary of the more modern vision of alternative health care without all the bulky infrastructure and insurance influence. As a recent and recurring patient, I see this company’s efforts as revolutionary for chiropractic, and it’s easy to see other health clinics following a similar path.

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of chiropractic, which has its fair share of haters, let me share my own experience to tell the tale.

Traditional chiropractors typically have large clinics with a staff of insurance specialists, doctors and people in customer service and billing. Add in X-ray and electronic muscle stimulation equipment for a heavy load of overhead, especially burdensome for doctors fresh out of school.

From my experience here in Minneapolis, a typical office visit/adjustment using insurance costs approximately $35-$40 for the co-pay, assuming there are no imaging services required. Insurance carriers are increasingly wary of recurring chiropractic visits, and you often need to play up a previous injury to keep the insurance money flowing. Without insurance, most visits run $75 and up.

The Joint is much different. I walk in the door, scan my identifying key card at the front desk and, from my experience, am whisked right onto the adjustment table without the typical long waits while I page through magazines. Magazines are cool, by the way.

Adjustments happen fast. The doc asks how I’m feeling and immediately gets to work, adjusting my back and neck. “Oh my god that feels good,” I typically say after grunting my approval after a strong adjustment, I say goodbye to the doctor and receptionist and I’m on my way. Truly, most visits take less than 10 minutes door to door.

And then comes the money. You can pay approximately $30 per visit or sign up for one of a couple recurring plans. Mine is $59/month and affords four visits per month--no insurance involved or required. Comparing that to a traditional chiropractor, it’s a steal of a deal.

Traditional chiropractors would be quick to point out that this rapid-fire approach misses some key items: increased consultation time with the doctor, X-ray imaging and muscle stimulation (super relaxing) to name a few. I’m not sure I would send a first-timer to The Joint, as I’d want them to experience the full treatment in a slower, more traditional setting.

But I’m not a first-timer, and for a variety of reasons, need frequent and recurring care. For my lifestyle, being able to skip out of work for a few minutes for a quick adjustment just five minutes down the road--without having to talk to my insurance provider or shell out a lot of money--is a game changer.

From just a few visits, it’s pretty clear that The Joint shows the potential of franchising to upend clunky old ways of doing business. That it can have such an impact in health care is even more impressive.

I look forward to the industry adding further innovation and reducing costs in health care. If this industry grows as projected, it seems like a pretty wise investment.

For more about this concept, check out this recent interview with The Joint CEO John Richards.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
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