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I couldn’t take it any longer... My patients needed help, and the solution was right in front of me.
After years of frustration having no answer to help imbalanced and dizzy patients, Dr. Chip Hebert has now opened a state-of-the-art clinic in Lafayette, LA with diagnostic testing and treatment, staffed by a well-trained and seasoned team of providers. There’s nothing else like it in his area, and below, he shares what it’s doing for both his business and his patients.Dr. Richard L. (Chip) Hebert, II, MD, has been in private practice otolaryngology since 2000, and has been treating the ‘ENT side’ of balance all along. Hebert would rule out inner ear disease, surgical problems, among other medical issues. Regrettably, he was repeatedly seeing patients who didn’t have inner ear problems, but still had balance issues. His only answer: “Well, there’s not really a lot we have to offer… I can’t help you anymore, it’s not the ear.” So, Hebert would have to refer them out. Some would get better with local physical therapists, using the Epley maneuver and condition therapy, but more often than not, results weren’t great.
Think Outside the Box
Like many others, Hebert started seeing information from FYZICAL postings and mailouts. While wary of mailers and advertisements, he reviewed the opportunity after seeing stories about the patients the program was helping. “Finally, I decided to go and take a real look at it and that’s when it struck me!” he says. Hebert saw what was now available for the patients he couldn’t help before.
After exploring more, Hebert’s decision was clear. “I found FYZICAL to be very out-of-the-box thinkers and they are looking at medicine in a very different way. They are well ahead of the curve. I was all in.” The bottom line: it’s wise from both a patient and business perspective and Hebert is equally as passionate about keeping independent physicians independent. “Anything we can do to be a part of something bigger, we need to do. Selling or giving your practice away to a hospital group, I can’t stand.”
ENT Goes Together with Dizziness AND Fall Prevention
Upon opening his state-of-the-art clinic, Hebert realized something profound. “I really didn’t understand the branding at OTO trade shows, where it read FYZICAL Dizziness and Fall Prevention Centers. Everyone knows ‘ENT’ and ‘Dizzy’ go together.” Fall prevention is the main ingredient to what makes FYZICAL – FYZICAL. Hebert looked in his practice, and the patients who were coming through, and realized, “They weren’t just the dizzy patients.”
Hebert kept track of all the dizzy patients and they were mostly vertigo or BPPV. Once his balance center doors opened, he realized just how many balance patients were not dizzy. They were not being assessed in their primary care office. The ones that were being assessed? Their doctors didn’t know where to send them. He would also look at his older patients with nasal fractures or something else – like a shiner. “These patients weren’t dizzy. They would tell me they fell when getting up too quickly or it was dark and they couldn’t see on the way to the bathroom.”
Otolaryngologists often see vertigo or motion sickness patients, but not the other types of fall patients.
“That has really opened my eyes to the number of patients we see as ENTs that aren’t dizzy, but have disequilibrium. That is a huge number.”
Successful Networking – with the Competition?
Hebert and his team are getting the word out to all of the primary care doctors and also getting patients from five or six other ENTs in the area. “We have one ENT in this area that tried balance 10 years ago, but it didn’t work out.” This neighboring ENT didn’t have FYZICAL. Hebert points out, “He didn’t have everything we have; brand recognition, support, and resources, plus the mental and emotional support.” Hebert admitted he never would have opened this office all on his own. “Doing this as part of a much larger team, it’s not overwhelming.”
This ENT who tried balance years ago, a competitor in his market, told Hebert he’d rather see him succeed than fail because Lafayette needs this service for the patients. Hebert realizes, “A lot of ENTs are checking out FYZICAL. They realize the future of private practice relies on ancillaries like balance. This is the answer to remain independent into the future, and not just be another physician snatched up by a major hospital.”
Opening a dizziness and balance center allowed Hebert to build a team to manage the day-to-day operations. “I’m proud of being part of something bigger and I’m excited to see patients we couldn’t help before. I’m also excited to provide new jobs to our people/community.” Hebert brought on a Nurse Practitioner to run the ENT side of this office, a Clinical Director on the physical therapy side of things, and an Audiologist, who sees patients for him and new referrals for his balance center. “Now, I have an extremely well-trained team to take care of those patients I couldn’t help before, and ancillary revenue is increasing across the entire practice. Our practice is so busy, but it allows me to be in surgery. That’s where I need, and want to be.”
Running the Practice on Systems
Managing a business efficiently and effectively doesn’t happen by accident. It takes business knowledge and the discipline to implement knowledge gained. “I went through FYZICAL business training and I was blown away.”
One of the most important things Hebert picked up from FYZICAL is to meet with his team and analyze his data more frequently. Managing by the numbers gives clarity and focus where the business is fluid and sometimes unpredictable. “I always knew about it, but with 25 employees and when you’re the surgeon running around, it can be very difficult to manage.” Implementing systems and procedures to make managing a successful satellite practice possible and tools like the FYZICAL Daily Management Report provide data for decision making. “As a provider working in multiple places, this is the key and FYZICAL has helped me get better at it."