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The Elephant in the Profession

Marc Abla is a mission-focused, results-oriented leader that has been with the Illinois Chiropractic Society for 20 years and has extensive knowledge surrounding many compliance and legal-related issues surrounding the chiropractic profession. He is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Certified Leadership Series through the Illinois Society of Association Executives.

In this of TechTalk Podcast, Brad Cost, Dr. Jay Greenstein, and Marc Abla sit down to discuss:

  • The initiatives behind, purpose for, and benefits of StatusFi.

  • The impacts of Management Service Organizations (MSO).

  • The future of billing and compliance in the chiropractic profession.



4:09 - Initiatives for the Illinois Chiropractic Society and its members. "First of all, we have an incredible team. As a result, we have a couple of unique things we're able to bring to the table and we're hoping we can make a difference for our members' lives. One of them stemmed at the end of one of our two-day planning sessions with our board. We were wrapping up when a board member randomly asked if we could put together a compliance checklist. My attorney and I thought we could pull something like that off until we sat down to do it. We quickly realized that, although we could put it together, two things would happen. One, it would be overwhelming and out of date about the time we finished it, and two, it would be out of date about the time the doctor started working on it. We went back to the drawing board and wondered, how can we be technologically enabled and leverage what's out there? What are the possibilities from a technological standpoint to accomplish what we flippantly said we could do? That’s what kicked us off and we headed down a completely different road. We feel really good about the product we’ve released and what we've been able to do to help our members. We want to empower our doctors, so we've released the product to them at no additional charge to our members. Those who are members of the Illinois Chiropractic Society, along with all our other benefits, get full-fledged access to our compliance dashboard, StatusFi. StatusFi is the marriage between satisfying compliance requirements and their current status for compliance. We're excited about it."


8:01 – Relevant Buckets of Compliance. "If you think about compliance, there is so many different layers. You have your own state requirements, but it can be broken down further. Some of it is related to your employees. Some of it could be related to your agreements with the insurance companies. Some of it may be what you have to do, related to your practice act within your current state. It's the things a lot of people don't realize are requirements in their practice, like what they can and can't do for advertising. Maybe it's also on the federal basis, right? Then we have HIPAA, OIG requirements and the often-forgotten OSHA. We wanted a platform that would help our doctors ensure that they were actually fulfilling all these compliance requirements."


9:56 - Beyond Illinois? "We're already in conversations with a lot of states and we're looking at this as an investment into the profession. We're looking for those creative ways that we can put it into the hands of as many people as reasonable. In fact, it was quite interesting. As we were in the early stages of development, the Iowa Chiropractic Society, in one of our district meetings of ChiroCongress, asked if anybody was doing anything to help their members with compliance. We just happened to be in the right position to say we were working on it. They're one of about six states who have expressed a lot of interest in doing this. We'll have to do some additional development and the states themselves will have to do some compliance additions. We're experts in Illinois, but you've got the Iowa Chiropractic Society, the Kentucky Association of Chiropractors, the TCA in Tennessee and Texas, and all these different groups that are experts in their own states that would have to weigh in on their own compliance requirements within their states. That's the long answer to your question, but the short answer is yeah, we have and we're excited. We're hoping that we can help them make a difference, empower their members and drive up their membership as a result."


15:20 - Management Service Organizations and their impacts. "For a while, we've been talking about different solutions for our doctors. We're seeing duplication of staff. In fact, you might drive by a strip mall and see two chiropractic physicians there - both paying receptionists, chiropractic technicians, billers, back-office staff or whatever the case is. However, we're not seeing a whole lot of economies of scale between chiropractic physicians. As we begin to look at it, what does this look like in the future? What are some ways that we can help with that process? That was where the MSO, management service organization, came into play. How can we provide high quality service at an affordable price? Our individual doctors may not be able to afford the best highest quality biller that can do AR analysis for them or ensure their billing is going in with the highest level of collections. They may not be able to hire somebody to handle their technology or do their marketing for them at the highest quality level. We thought we could utilize economies of scale to provide those same economies to our doctors and that's where our leadership has decided to dedicate key resources of ours. We're super excited about where we're headed and we're going to have some incredible announcements over the next six months! We started where we thought we could make the biggest impact the fastest and in the best way - through billing. We wanted to find a way to make sure that our doctors were collecting every dime that was due to them. They provide a good and valuable service, and they deserve to be paid for it. We wanted to help them realize that, so we have found a way to bring on who we believe is the best person in the country to help lead our billing team - Brandy Brimhall. She is incredible and very, very smart. We've had a great time building the company to be able to scale appropriately so we can serve the highest number of doctors and continue to offer that really high-quality billing service." 


21:12 - AI in MSO strategies. "There are some possibilities that both interoperability and AI bring to the table for billing, making things more effective. I think we're going to see more and more key companies utilizing AI to help drive results and efficiencies in our doctors' offices. With that and with the appropriate billing specialists in play, we're going to see an increase in collections."


23:26 - InfinEDI, the premier clearinghouse partner. "Yeah, we love InfinEDI. In fact, we've even moved a few of our new onboarding clients to InfinEDI to ensure that they're getting the highest quality of information. InfinEDI does so much for the chiropractic profession. As the executive director and CEO for the Illinois Chiropractic Society, I want to have information that I know I can help our doctors with. I can't tell you the number of times I've had doctors call about denials in a specific area and ask if I have seen it anywhere else. For the longest time, I had to say no, I haven't or yes, I've talked to other doctors, so we'll dig into this and figure out where it's going. Now, I have a new tool through Chiropractic Future Strategic Plan and through the generosity of Brad and InfinEDI. We now have a dashboard available where I can see what's happening on a large-scale basis. Are we seeing more denials this month than we were last month in a particular area? What are the advanced warnings? We're excited we can tie all this together because the MSO and the billing side will have data there too. Our billers are going to be so intimately involved with our doctors and their billings that we'll have their advanced notice. We have the dashboard through Chiropractic Future Strategic Plan and all our other information that we're able to gather through the ICS. We believe that we're going to be able to help our members even more in the future."

35:36 – Up next. "We're really excited about the current product and we’re improving it. We are still going to be adding some compliance requirements, and we're going to add some gamification. We want people to see their progress. It's all data visualization already, but we want milestones. We want them to celebrate the small things. Too often, we get so bogged down and it just feels overwhelming, so the platform itself is built to be in bite sizes to begin with. They're small accomplishments as they move on, right? There are some dopamine hits throughout the whole process of becoming compliant, but we're going to add some gamification, additional reporting factors and additional education for them and their staff. We're going to layer some of that automatically, but selfishly, from an association standpoint, we always wonder where we can improve. Where can we provide more information to help our doctors in areas that maybe they're ignoring or that we haven't done a great job in informing them on how to accomplish a particular subset? Now, we can watch our members’ data globally, figure out what are they avoiding and take that back in this association to develop content through education, articles, short video hits, or whatever the case might be. It just becomes a self-feeding mechanism."


37:57 – StatusFi’s benefits. "I've been a part of the Illinois Chiropractic Society for over 21 years. StatusFi was launched at our last fall conference. We had a big booth, where we demoed the product and had a big backdrop. It was fun. We had a good time, and it was a great rollout. We're tearing down our booth at the end of the day when we had a member walk into the booth. He looks at me and asks if he can give me a hug. I'm a hugger, so I responded, “dude, get over here and give me a hug.” He gives me a great big giant bear hug. Afterwards, I asked him why. He explains how he has been to so many compliance seminars and, every single time, he walks away with two feelings. One, totally overwhelmed. The other, scared to death. With tears rolling down his face, he points over to the backdrop we had, and he describes the hope he now has from StatusFi because he finally has a system that's going to help him step through it and get it done. Now, I'm sure I had tears rolling down my face because we want our doctors to feel like they had hope. We want them to feel like they could accomplish it because, with compliance, it just feels like it's so much that some of our doctors ignore it. We don't want them at risk. We don't want their practices, their livelihood, and their practice at risk. We want them to be paid well for the service they're performing. What are the big benefits? They can live with hope. They can actually sleep at night and never worry about these things, not because they discarded them, but because they know that they're taken care of. And that's what kind of drove us to really make sure that we did this well."


44:42 - Building a great platform. "We have an absolutely amazing team. Our leadership team is fantastic and the team at the ICS is great. The team we have currently and the team that we're building with PractiSync is top notch. I love the fact that we're building a team that is already helping others impact the chiropractic world. Brandy Brimhall, being the COO of our billing operations, is making a difference and we're excited. We've added some stuff for our doctors in that whole realm, and we're using technology to make it even better. We're doing an analysis product for accounts receivable for our doctors as one of the products that PractiSync offers. It breaks everything down. In fact, one of our clients, who recently used our AR analysis, explained that there are two staff members involved in that side of their business. One has almost 20 years of experience while the other has 30+ years. When they sat down with StatusFi, they were blown away and thrilled because they’re going to collect on money they didn't know they could collect on. There's a human element that we've dovetailed with technology for presentation purposes so people can get it. There's a marriage that works really well and we're excited to be able to drop that in for our doctors."




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