N. Ray Tuck Jr., D.C., a 1997 NUHS alum and 2019 recipient of National University’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award, is undoubtedly among National University’s most accomplished alumni.
Across Southwest rural Virginia, he has played a crucial role in increasing access to chiropractic medicine. Starting in 2002, he bought two practices from his late father (NUHS ’78) and expanded them into 10. By 2011, Tuck Chiropractic Clinic was named one of the top 50 rising and growing companies in Virginia by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Today, he employs nearly 20 DCs. Recently, Dr. Tuck started Tuck WorkWell, which provides on-site primary care, chiropractic, and occupational health services for employers.
“I asked how can I swap the traditional business around in order to offer patients what they want, which is high accessibility to care,” Dr. Tuck said.
When Dr. Tuck graduated, the traditional business model for DCs were largely solo practices. Instead, Dr. Tuck decided to take a more team-based, integrative approach. “Having multiple doctors is just a nice way to practice,” he said.
Compared to his father’s days in practice when rent, staff and other overhead costs were much lower, Dr. Tuck said today’s DCs operate on a much smaller margin, which can make working as a solo-practitioner more difficult. Being business-savvy has also become increasingly more important.
“You have to have a good business structure in order to provide great care,” he said.
According to Dr. Tuck, one of the key elements to operating a profitable business is knowing how to measure success. At his clinics, he accomplishes this by looking at patient experience, the quality of care delivered, and sustainability of the practice through financial metrics.
“You have to think of your practice more like a business that’s focused on the customer,” said Dr. Tuck, who also provides business consulting. “You have to have a product people want. In the end, it’s all about patient-centered care.”
Having a well-rounded education like he received at National University is helpful, too.
“My education allowed me to interact with other health care providers early on in my career, setting the stage for a more integrative care delivery,” he said. “Physicians were always impressed by our quality of care.”
Dr. Tuck’s biggest advice is for current graduates to build a good network around them.
“Find others who are doing the things you want to do and grow with them,” he said.
Like Dr. Tuck, National University also recognizes the importance of business skills in today’s health care marketplace. For information about NUHS’s recently updated business curriculum, click here.