Auto Insurance Fraud

As a chiropractor part of my job is taking care of people whom have been in auto accidents. As I have written about before, being in a car accident  is one of the most damaging events you can put your spine through and people whom have been in one legitimately need care.

There is a dark underside to these accidents that a lot of people are not aware of.  Let’s say you are the driver of a car that rear ends the car in front of you.  That person could sue you for injuries sustained in this accident. How bad do they have to be hurt to sue you? Much less than you may think.

Here is where it gets ugly.

The possibility of financial gain has led people to staging accidents. How does this work? You put 6-8 people in a car and pay someone to hit it. The “victims” go to a doctor like myself and run up bills of at least $2,000. That triggers a threshold that allows them to sue the person that hit them. The “victims” ask for a small enough amount that the insurance company settles with them in order to avoid long term litigation.

You may ask, “If it is a small enough amount who really cares?”  Not a bad question if it was occasional, however, when this happens hundreds and thousands of  times a day, the money becomes very real, very quick.

Here in Massachusetts, a 65 year old woman died in a stage auto accident in 2003 in Lawrence which at that time was known as the auto insurance fraud capital of Massachusetts.

The Lawrence police joined forces with a fraud bureau and went to work on steadily reducing auto insurance losses with the thought being they would be able to reduce the amount of insurance premiums that you and I pay.

Were they successful? Were they ever! The crackdown led to charges being filed against 488 people in Lawrence. 488 in Lawrence alone!! That is crazy!

Here is where it gets good. The average auto insurance premium in Lawrence was $1613 in 2003. Today it is $1260! Collectively across the state there has been a $266 million reduction in claims dollars statewide.

Why This is So Important

When there is a lot of fraud, the innocent people get swept up in the mess. The patients that were hurt in legitimate accidents were being treated as if they were guilty of fraud.  The honest doctors and lawyers were getting hammered trying to help people that actually needed it.

As these task forces continue to do their work of reducing fraud, the honest people are going to benefit by getting both the health and legal help that they need.

If You Don’t Get Adjusted Your Organs Will Shut Down

Scare tactics.

Do I believe that Chiropractic is awesome…no doubt. Have I seen it help with a laundry list of problems, like asthma, back pain, bed wetting, ADHD and even high blood pressure? Yes.

Has chiropractic found a cure for these symptoms/conditions? No.

Then what have we done? We helped a stuck spine get moving and as a result the body was able to help itself. Now I am pretty sure you don’t want me to explain to you in painstaking detail as to why this is…you will have to take a slight leap of faith here for the sake of time.

Nothing infuriates me more than a current or new patient coming into my office and telling me they met one of my colleagues. In the process of this meeting, the chiropractor does some form of a scan and proceeds to tell the person that they have a severe subluxation that is compromising their nervous system and putting their organs in danger.

Really…organs in danger…c’mon…who comes up with this stuff.

Chiropractic is wonderful and I have seen it first hand help some people who were at the end of their rope. It doesn’t need to be cheapened with this marketing scare tactic.

Are people healthier when their spine is moving well and there is less stress on the spinal nerves, unquestionable. For the people that are only coming in every now and then for pain relief, are their organs in danger? No.

Many if not most of my colleagues are wonderful doctors. Watch out for the wackadoos…while they are the minority, they seem to be awfully vocal.

No Appointments Really?

Back in the day, OK last year, I used to have patients make appointments.  With everyone as busy as a beaver the following would be a common occurrence in my office:

(Phone Rings) Hello Harrington Family Chiropractic

(Patient) Hi, my name is Linda and I am running 15 minutes late for my 10:00 appointment.  Is it OK for me to show up at 10:15 or should I reschedule.

(Looking in book) 10:15 is fine, we will see you then

(10 minutes later) Hi, it is Linda again, the traffic is much worse than I thought and I will now be there at 10:25 is that OK?

(Staff) Yes that is fine we will see you then.

Linda is stressed, the staff is stressed and all for what?  An appointment time?  It never made sense to me and a few years ago we decided to end the madness.

See we don’t think that you should be stressed out due to a perception that you are “late” for your appointment.  If the goal of my office is to take the stress off of you and your spine, walking in the door stressed due to your “lateness” is a terrible way to start your office visit.

I must admit that our office isn’t for everyone.  It is an open concept that allows us to see what is going on in the office from everywhere.  This allows us to see multiple people at once.  While someone is getting adjusted, another is stretching and yet another may be sitting on some ice.

Due to this openness we are able to run the office as a walk in style clinic.  We don’t worry about what time you get there and we certainly don’t want you worrying about what time you get here.  It makes for a pleasant way to get your spine taken care of.

The most asked question I get is, “Doc, what happens if 20 people show up at once?”  Well, I have never had that happen, however, if it starts too, I will hire more staff!  It will be a good problem to have.

As always, you can check my hours on the website.  If it says we are open, come on over.  If you are driving any distance I always recommend that you check with us to make sure we are there.  I would estimate that I am here 99% of the time that the hours say I will be, however, there are things that come up from time to time.

Currently our hours are as follows:

Mon, Tue, Thur—8-12 & 3-6:30

Wed, Fri—9-12

Weekends and after hours by appointment.

If you want to check to make sure I am in before you head over you can always email the office at drkevdc@gmail.com or call us at 978-369-5055.

Glucosamine

Have you been taking Glucosamine for chronic low back pain?  A recent study has shown that this may not help when compared to a sugar pill, better known as a placebo.

I had no idea that more than 25% of people with chronic low back pain had tried Glucosamine at one point.

The article does mention some things that may help one with low back pain.  One of them is cognitive therapy…hmmm I wonder what they mean by that?  Are they trying to say the brain may contribute to chronic pain?

This is something that chiropractors have been preaching for a very long time.

You can read the article here.

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What Do You Mean You Don’t Take Appointments?

Concord MA Chiropractor
Look close for your appointment time

Imagine you are working and your neck is killing you.  You call my office and make an appointment for 11:00.  Of course at 10:50 one of your customers calls and you run a few minutes late taking care of your business.  You hurry off the phone and set a land speed record getting to the office.  You run it at 11:07, out of breath and apologizing for being late.  Is this anyway to start a visit where I am going to ask you to relax and let me do some work on you?  Of course not!

After a few years of having set appointments I noticed people were coming into the office a few minutes late and were stressed about it.  Now I gotta tell you, stressed out patients are not ready to receive adjustments, they are in a word…stressed. It is no way to to get your spine worked on.

After a couple of years of this, I decided to radically change my office and we took out the appointment book.  Gone are the phone calls if you are running 10 minutes late.  Who isn’t running 10 minutes late from time to time?

In oder to better serve our clients, we now give them times when we are in the office.  If I am in from 8-noon on a Monday, why do I care if you come in at 8:11 or 9:02?

Well Doc, what happens if there are a few people in front of me? The reality is, the initial office procedure, the adjustment, doesn’t take that long.  99% of our patients are seen within 10 minutes.  10 minutes!!  People almost can’t believe it.

Are there times when we are busier than others?  No doubt, but it really seems to work out.  If you have ever seen our office, it is an open environment where people actually, GASP, talk to each other.  As a matter of fact, one of my stated goals is that 2 people who meet in my office will get married.  It hasn’t happened yet, but we are working on it!!!

If you have ever sat in a doctors office stressed that you were 10 minutes late, then they make you wait another 20 minutes, I want you to remember what we are doing here…stress free, little waiting, people having fun, chiropractic.

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2 Million Cribs Recalled

Baby's Crib + New Paint Job
Image by tofslie via Flickr

Parents, please take a look to see if you own a drop down side baby crib from the following companies:

  • Evenflo
  • Delta Enterprises Corp.
  • Child Craft
  • Jardine Enterprises
  • LaJobi
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Simmons Juvenile Products Inc.

There is a recall out due to baby entrapment concerns.  With this recall, 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled in the past five years. Drop-sides have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000. The cribs are suspected in another 14 infant fatalities during that time.

If you do have one of these cribs please contact the manufacturer.  They will provide you with a kit that will help immobilize the drop down side.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association urges parents not to use cribs with loose or missing parts. It also says consumers should not use a crib that is older than 10 years as it may not be up to date on safety standards.

If you want to read more about this, these two websites have information:

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association: http://www.jpma.org

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Is Your Cell Phone Killing Your Spine?

text girl
Image by uberculture via Flickr

In today’s ever changing technological world, our lives must be getting simpler with all of the cool new gadgets that we own.  Did you realize that the average house owns 2.5 cell phones and 1.25 Ipods?  How about the new netbooks and the cool looking Ipads that Apple came out with.

While all of these products are uber-cool, there is one drawback…they are tiny.  I mean crazy small.  If you have a current smart phone your screen is about 3.5″ across.  Try watching a music video on that.  How about spending a half hour checking and responding to email on your netbook.  The screen is tiny, the keyboard is tiny and you have to spend a ton of time hunched over to use it.

The problem with these devices is how you have to use them.  Let’s say you have a typical teen that sends 50-60 texts per day.  Have you ever watched them actually do this.  They hold the phone pretty much in their lap and text away.  Pay particular attention to their head and shoulders…head looking down and shoulders slouched look familiar?

When you bend your head forward, the position necessary to look down at your phone, you are taking the curve out of your neck.  This curve is crucial.  Research has shown that reducing the curve in your neck can lead to a whole host of problems, the least of which are pain and tension in the shoulders and neck.

If you or your teen are spending a ton of time on the phone texting, please raise the phone up closer to shoulder level, allowing your head to be in a more neutral position, thus protecting that curve in your neck.

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Who Else Doesn’t Understand Sciatica?

Have you ever woken up and had burning pain going down the back of your leg.  As a chiropractor, I see this everyday. You are going along, everything is great, and then BAM, your leg is killing you and you feel like it will never go away.

Nerves of right leg, anterior and posterior as...
Image via Wikipedia

A brief review of anatomy is in store here.  The sciatic nerve begins in the low back, travels through your buttocks and heads down the leg.  If anywhere in the course of the nerve, pressure is put on it, pain and numbness can occur.  The most common form of pressure is swelling from a misalignment.  As the pressure builds up, the nerve compresses and WHAM, you have sciatica.

What to do when I get sciatica.

Once we have it, the key is getting rid of it quickly.  Here is where ice and Dr. Harrington are your best friend.  If the sciatica is from the spine being out of place a few adjutments will go a long way to helping you reduce the pressure on your nerves.  While we are reducing the pressure on your nerves by putting your spine in place, ice will help calm the swelling down thereby taking pressure off the affected nerve.

How Can I Keep the Sciatica from Coming Back?

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Word of the Day: Telomere

Telomeres
Telomeres are the little white ends
What if I told you one of the most important words in your health vocabulary should be telomere.  Let me give you a quick definition and you should immediately understand what I am talking about.  A telomere is the end of a chromosome. These specialized structures are involved in the replication and stability of linear DNA molecules.

Wait….what?

In all seriosness, anti aging experts now believe that telomeres may be the key to staying young and more importantly staying healthy.  What the experts now know is when the telomere shortens the cell it is living in dies.  This is important in that cell death can lead to serious disease as well as pre mature aging.

The experts are now focusing creating therapies to lengthen already shortened telomeres or even better yet, how to prevent them from shortening in the first place.

What have they found works well in preventing telomere shortening….Exercise.  Research shows that people who exercise have less erosion of their telomeres than people who are healthy but are not very active.

Last post I encouraged people to get out and vote.  This post I am encouraging you to just plain get out and get moving….your telomeres are depending on it.