Dr. Thomas Stotz (DC ’79) began his practice in 1979 as an associate of Dr. James G. Green (DC ’67), another National University graduate, in Vermillion, South Dakota, where they charged $12 dollars for an adjustment and therapy.
“I then worked in my own solo practice from 1982 to 1992 in Yankton, South Dakota. Today our practice at First Chiropractic Center has four partners, including my son Dr. T.J. Stotz (DC ’05),” he says.
Dr. Stotz remembers and cherishes the early days when there were no computers and very little paperwork. “We submitted claims to Medicare twice per year, and Blue Shield once per year on a ledger with abbreviations for exams, adjustments, X-rays, and therapies,” he recalls.
“In the mid 80s, the arrival of the computer was supposed to make things easier. Yet, I spent 2-3 hours on the computer every night after patients were gone, reconciling transactions for the day. Today, I often tell my patients that I used to be a full time doctor, but now I am a half-time doctor and half-time data entry technician!” quips Dr. Stotz.
So why would Dr. Stotz decide to apply for Patient-Centered Connected Care Recognition with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), given the extra effort in data tracking involved with the program?
“For me, it is all about keeping an important and vital healthcare choice for our patients as we move our profession forward to insure the viability, respect, and success of future doctors,” he answers. Certifications, such as that from the NCQA, are increasingly forming a foundation for third-party payment qualification, especially with the new goals set forth under the Affordable Care Act.
NCQA recognizes clinicians who follow medical evidence to deliver quality care and improve over time. Insurers and medical specialty boards use NCQA recognition for financial incentives and board certifications.
The great news is that First Chiropractic Center was the first chiropractic practice to receive NCQA recognition. The practice received front-page coverage in its local paper as a result, highlighting the patient-centered care it offers and how chiropractic medicine can be part of keeping overall medical costs lower.
Dr. Stotz credits his involvement with Best Practices Academy for helping their group prepare for the Patient Centered Connected Care recognition, and encourages other DCs who are interested to start there for information on how to gain compliance.
“When you consider the pioneers of our profession that went to jail on our behalf, the work needed to be the first chiropractors in the nation to receive NCQA’s recognition seems pale in comparison,” says Dr. Tom Stotz. “It is an extreme honor to have achieved this level of recognition, but then who else would do it other than a National grad!”
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