Chiropractors Selling Thyroid Patients Expensive Nutritional Programs

chiropractors charging for expensive thyroid nutritional programs

After my article was published  regarding controversial marketing methods being used by some chiropractors to attract thyroid patients, a number of chiropractors flocked to my blog post, hoping to defend themselves. 

One of the most critical commenters was a Wisconsin-based chiropractor, Michael L. Johnson, DC, who also a large practice network for chiropractors focusing on chronic diseases.

He is also the author of a site, site, where he had posted his marketing strategy, titled "The Death of the Traditional Chiropractic Practice: Will YOU Perish Or Prosper Anew?"

To summarize, the page -- which has since been changed -- was a marketing brief for other chiropractors and encouraged them to buy the chiropractic marketing program Johnson created to sell nutritional programs to chronic disease patients, including thyroid patients.

According to the document, chiropractors were charged a fee, which at that time ranged from $7987 to $34,877 per chiropractor, to learn how to, "Increase your income, immediately, certainly - without necessarily needing to increase numbers of new patients... [and] attract infinitely more compliant, respectful and appreciative patients..."

The writeup said:

"I currently collect OVER $160,000.00 A MONTH from a practice that nearly runs itself, with a very nice profit."

Johnson explained his story:

"My own story is high-drama, and I'll share it with you before we finish. For now, let me just confess that I was broke and on my way out of chiropractic altogether when I "figured out" the first, primitive version of what I can now offer you in ready-to-use-form....and I went from $12,000 a month to collecting over $160,000 a month, in just 18 months."

Johnson also said:

"I have a COMPLETE SYSTEM for attracting exactly these chronic condition patients into your office. I market and promote my practice differently than other doctors by using the internet....These internet programs are all TURN-KEY meaning that we set up the condition specific websites for you, use our thoroughly split-tested internet ads and all you do is schedule the patients!"

And the comment from Johnson that certainly got my attention:


Some other highlights from the page:

  • "Many doctors are getting 15 to 20 new patients from our internet programs alone. At $7500.00 to $10,000 per case, like I said, THE ROI IS HUGE!!!)" (Note: ROI means return on investment.)
  • "...with my Method, the patient...has extreme need and motivation and even determination to get his or her chronic, debilitating condition "cured" if at all possible. This alters the entire "dynamic" of the relationship. Yes, an effective presentation and asking for a decision and cash payment is required of you. But it occurs here in a very different environment than trying to secure cash payment, and pre-payment, from patients in the office for ordinary reasons, offered ordinary care. In those circumstances, yes, cash practice is a "pipe dream". But in the circumstances The Johnson Method creates for you, it is reality."
  • "...for the record, 90% of my patients are fee-for-service, non-insurance, cash patients..."
  • "Keep in mind, my practice is in Appleton, Wisconsin, population 72,000, surrounded by farm country and I have now (as of January 2010) increased my case fees $9950.00 for 6 months, $13,500.00 for 12 months, and $16,500.00 for 18 months."
  • "...if you want to be a patient in my office, it is $9950.00 to $16,500.00..."

This document also featured a number of testimonials from chiropractors who signed up for Johnson's system, and were reporting that they were making in some cases well over $100,000 a month. One fellow said in his testimonial that he made so much money by following Johnson's marketing approach that he was able to buy his wife a new Porsche.

So thyroid patients...How do you feel about being referred to as "fish in a barrel?" Are you "compliant, respectful and appreciative" enough to pay $10,000 to $15,000 to a chiropractor for a 6-month or 12-month "thyroid program?" How much is "drug-free thyroid treatment" (that likely won't permit you to get off your prescription thyroid drugs) worth to you?

(NOTE: Interestingly, Michael Johnson went on to sue me in both Wisconsin court, and in Federal court in Missouri, claiming that I defamed and libeled him. Both suits were, not surprisingly, dismissed by the courts.) 

For a view of view of what could be considered a responsible the role of chiropractic in thyroid care, see this interview with Dr. Datis Kharrazian

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