Remember Your Roots
Chiropractic is one of the safest healthcare practices in the world, yet chiropractors must still carry malpractice insurance to protect their livelihood in the event of accident or accusations. And, if they carry it with Dr. Stuart Hoffman, they not only receive the protection that insurance provides, they also receive a level of support that is unmatched by any other provider.
Because Dr. Hoffman is not only dedicated to protecting chiropractors; he’s determined to both protect and continue to grow the profession itself.
His proactive support helps protect chiropractors by training them to properly describe the chiropractic adjustment and its potential benefit – and how to properly characterize the possible “side effects” of improving the communication from brain to body an back again. Of course Hoffman’s company, ChiroSecure, supports chiropractors who are unfortunate enough to be sued for malpractice and, even better, is the front end training that helps chiropractors lay the groundwork for communication that sets appropriate expectations regarding the benefits and limits of chiropractic care.
What is the source of Dr. Hoffman’s tremendous passion to support both his profession and his alma mater, Life University? It came from a seed planted by Life founder, Dr. Sid Williams, who seared into Hoffman’s soul these words: “Never ever forget where you came from.” That seed grew deep roots with Dr. Hoffman and he understands that without chiropractic and without his alma mater, he would never have been able to achieve so much.
Click on the video below to learn more about Dr. Hoffman’s rather surprising chiropractic story and his commitment to fully supporting his company’s clients proactively and when they are in need – as well as his generous support of his profession’s future.
Jason Deitch: Hello everyone and welcome to Today’s Chiropractic Leadership. I’m Dr. Jason Deitch. And today I have the pleasure of speaking with a very good friend of mine whom I’ve known for several decades now, somebody who I’ve admired for several decades now and every year I seem to appreciate you more and more. It’s Dr. Stu Hoffman, Life alumni and founder and president of ChiroSecure malpractice insurance company. Stu I know you’re a very busy man; you’re on the road all the time, connecting with chiropractors, usually on the phone. Morning til night, talking to chiropractors, serving chiropractors. Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with us today.
Jason Deitch: Absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t think most people know your story or your history. You’re not just some really talented guy who took the gig of being the president of some insurance company; you’re a chiropractor at heart. And you’re not only just a chiropractor with your hands but really, with your heart. So I thought this could be an opportunity to share with students, faculty, alumni – all of whom are your insured, but also with those that have graduated and are grateful for your service, to really understand your story and what really drives you. So, let’s start from the very beginning. You graduated from Life University, when? And what did you do when you graduate?
Stuart Hoffman: Well, I graduated in 1981 – so, a little while ago – and I think if we regress back before school, the way I got into becoming a chiropractor, my great grandmother went to Willie Weissberg, the chiropractor in the Bronx, New York in 1905! And this woman lived to be the oldest natural person in terms of age in our entire family. And I don’t think that there’s any coincidence to that. As a result, my family was always chiropractic friendly, not medically oriented or as medically oriented. And when I was 13 years old, actually 12 or 13, I was playing soccer in school and I went for the ball. I go, I fell, and I literally couldn’t get up. I actually dislocated my femur head and it wasn’t subluxation. It was a full luxation. My mother immediately took me to the chiropractor.
And the chiropractor didn’t have any X-rays; it was one of those, at that point in time, you went down three steps this little tiny room in the basement of the house. And he adjusted me and it just kept getting worse, not better. I wound up going to the orthopedist, who wouldn’t let me walk because I’d been to the chiropractor. And one more step could be that one step that was going to cripple me forever. They actually took me by ambulance at that age to the hospital to put three pins in the hip. And it was years later that I wound up in a motor vehicle accident, not to get into the whole story, but I consider the fact that my brother came and adjusted me in a hospital setting when things were not looking too good, and three hours later, I was transferred to a whole different hospital even though I had everything hooked up to me.
He still was “stupid” enough to adjust me. But, as a result, my life is owed to chiropractic, even though I was one of the chiropractic “mistakes.” Here I am, running a malpractice insurance company. And so, I knew at that point in time, I needed to be a chiropractor. And I went to school in 1980; when I got out one of my brothers, Steve, was practicing in Michigan and I went up to practice with him for a while and we split up and I had an office there for quite a long time. I got very involved in the state association, as well as the International Chiropractors Association and let that lead me, based on my passion for working on behalf of the profession. I did very well financially and practice-wise and everything else in taking care of people. But I also wanted to work with in the profession, and that was from day one.
Jason Deitch: That’s outstanding. Now, this is what I want people to know about you, those that don’t. Those that know you, know that you are all heart first. You’re all about service; you’re serving principle and serving us as individual chiropractors. When I was in practice, you were my insurer and I had great experiences and thankfully no issues. You were always there to serve me. And that’s really what people learn about you is that you can both, have tremendous heart and passion, and be a leader. So how has that evolved over the time you were involved, as you said, in the state association…ICA. Why is that important? What would you suggest to graduating chiropractors or practicing chiropractors as to how to think about that? You know many of them think, “Ah, politics; I don’t want to get involved. I don’t like politics.”
You’ve heard all the excuses; you know what all the reasons are. What drives you to want to be involved at the level that you are? What message do you have for others who may not be satisfied with the way things are? Who don’t necessarily know what to do. Who just accept it and kind of go, “Well, it is what it is; I’ll just stay in my practice and do my thing. Why get involved?”
Stuart Hoffman: It’s a great question. I think that that’s really a critical question for all doctors. For myself I can only tell you that even going through school, I had so many mentors – and I still do. But Dr. Williams… I was there for a reason. My brother told me you can go anywhere you want but make sure it’s Life. And I did. I never applied anywhere else. There was never any question that that’s where I was going to be. And I actually was one of those people that went to Assembly; I was one of “Sid’s boys.” But I actually listened to him and one of the things that he said, which has nothing to do with chiropractic, was “Never forget where you come from.”
And I see all over Facebook… I see, I listen to people that talk about… wherever they went…I don’t care if it’s Palmer or… it doesn’t matter. But they actually bad mouth their own schools and I believe that you always have to give back, both financially and with your heart and soul, and I believe in doing that, so I do it myself. You have to if you’re going to ever be a leader in this life. You have to lead by example not by talk – and a lot of the people come out of school and they think in this day and age that they are owed something because they actually went through school, and they are in so much debt, that the world owes them. I worked my rear end off and I know you did, too. And we came out – you, much later than me – but we still came out in the same era where you just knew that you had to work hard.
You don’t come out of school and ask us, “What’s a part time rate for a first time doctor because I’m going to be working 16 hours a week.” Well, what the heck is that? We worked 16 hours a day. And I truly believe that you get what you put out… And with that in mind, I think it’s very important… for anybody to know that first and foremost they have to put that same passion because if they’re not passionate… I can have 50 associates and the ones that own chiropractic get in their hearts are the ones that are successful and if you don’t believe in the adjustment and in the subluxation, then get another job, and so many do… but shortcut it – and do it now.
I do believe that most chiropractors do believe in that and own it. And even if you haven’t had your own lifesaving experience like I did, you still know and see and hear of all of these experiences, and you can use that to motivate yourself and energize so that you can learn to communicate as good as you possibly could and allow people to become attracted to you – because people are attracted to people that have a message and are passionate about it and are able to communicate that passion. And I am passionate about chiropractic even though I don’t put my hands on anybody right now. As you said, I’m still a chiropractor through and through and I do it by having our doctors are my patients.
And when I can walk a doctor through a tough situation in their office and deescalate something, rather than it turn into a massive claim, man, that was a success for me. And I don’t recommend that people get involved in their alumni association, in the ICA, or anywhere else, or One Chiropractic, or any org or group right off the bat, other than to be members. They need to focus on their practice and be able to financially be in good standing and then start getting involved because eventually you gotta give back. And however you see fit, is what you should do.
But you know I can think of some really close friends that years ago, we’d go to board meetings and they’d always say, “I really don’t have time to volunteer or this or that.” But I can contribute financially and now that same person, he contributes land to the schools, and he contributes his money, his efforts. He’s always there. But he couldn’t do it at that time and he was smart to take care of him and his family first and then never forget where you come from.
Jason Deitch: I love it; I love it. So, when I ask you, you’re in a unique position; you hear the great news and the, perhaps, not so great news from your thousands of doctors you work with. Let’s take both ends of the spectrum; I think you’ve got some valuable insight, hopefully you’ll share with us. Let’s start with what concerns you the most about the averages of what you hear chiropractors going through right now and then I’ll follow that up, just so you can get the contrast, what inspires you the most? What are you most hopeful for with what you hear literally day to day with what’s going on in the profession right now? What concerns you the most?
Stuart Hoffman: Well I go around, speaking all over the country on this issue. And that is a concern, not about the doctors, but about chiropractic – because I do believe it’s sort of the brain trust issue of our generation, where the medical community as whole tried to squish the profession at one time and we beat them. What did we get? Not really too much, did we? But it was at least acknowledged that that’s what they were doing. And people learn, groups learn, and they took a different tack. And if you look at, not just the medical community, but network news and things of that nature, every health story is governed by a medical doctor. We are not really welcome. Just because you get a story on a little local station doesn’t mean that we’re busting through this opioid epidemic or any of the pain management things. Chiropractic, when we remove subluxations, it’s a natural – but we’re not getting through. And at the same time, when Palmer did their Gallup poll, spent a million bucks to tell us something we already naturally know. But it was confirmed that the people that have never gone to a chiropractor are afraid to go because they’re afraid to get their neck adjusted. And what has added to that, this whole stroke thing that gets so hyped over one simple case that may take place – of an association, not even a causation – that you would never get that for one thing in the medical community, ever. But it does happen. And my fear is, that if enough people become overly educated or [rather] wrongfully educated as to what’s going to happen when you go to the chiropractor, there’s going to be too many people with fear instead of confidence. And that can blow an entire profession. And I don’t want to see that happening.
In fact, we’ve done everything we could, from starting the whole process of educating other doctors to wanting to get information onto the Internet about positive effects of chiropractic and stroke and all of these things. My job, the way I see it, is not just to help the practicing chiropractor, it’s that change the public perception of chiropractic and that’s what we promote. So that’s my concern.
On the other end, some of these younger generation chiropractors that are coming out of school now… I think of the Jeremy Hesses and Michael Viscarelli and the people that are aligning with groups like that, that are coming out of school and just knocking it out of the park… What are they doing? They’re teaching other doctors to do what we were taught to do all those years ago. And that’s, go work; go set up screenings, go meet people, go tell the story and that’s all we did.
But we just did a lot of it, and as hard as we could, and as wide of an area as we could to get to influencers. So I’m very confident, based on what I’m seeing coming out of school today, some of the newer doctors – they’re into upper cervical work, which that’s not everything but it’s good to see people interested in mastering and be specific to the art of what we do as well. So, those are the highlights I’m very confident about and very optimistic about.
Jason Deitch: Right on. If you could, what would your message be to chiropractors today, if they weren’t going to take the next step? Again, you’ve been in a lot of different places in the profession; what you have inside your heart and your mind, I think is tremendously valuable for the profession. If a chiropractor is listening and they’re saying, “I want to grow; I want to take the next step,” whether that’s growing see more people or growing personally or growing in terms of certainty and confidence. What are some of those secrets that drive you to keep doing what you’re doing? You’ve been around the block for, I don’t want to make you sound… but you’ve been around for a little while.
Stuart Hoffman: Now the old guy. I know; I get it. I hear you.
Jason Deitch: What drives you and what do you think others may not have tapped into yet that could help shift their perspective and really get them to drive their passion and therefore their work ethic to the next level.
Stuart Hoffman: When I got out of school, the first seminar I ever took (which was pretty immediate), was Joe Stuckey teaching what I think he called Integrated Net Methods or something like that. Anyone that knew Joe Stuckey knew that he was an absolute master of the art of adjusting. But the first half of the seminar, of a day and a half, three quarters of first day, he spent going over why we need to do what we do in terms of adjusting. And that really hit home for me and as a result I took nonstop courses on technique so that I could be a master from my perspective. And I always looked at it that, I know more than anybody else, whether I did or not – and you can dispute me, and anyone else can. But to me, I know more than anybody.
And no one’s going to ever be able to take that away from me. And that’s something I always said when I hired somebody. I would never let adjust me before/ during the interview process but I would always lay down and I wanted them to pick up my head and palpate my neck, only for one reason: I wanted to see if my head was going to be shaking in their hands. I wanted to see the confidence that they had in what they were doing because it’s the confidence that sells and if you don’t have that unbelievable confidence, of course you’re going to be newer and more and more confidence comes with more and more experience. But at the same time, you should have enough under your belt and going through an institution like Life, you certainly get exposed to it.
Have that confidence in what you’re doing on a physical level to be able to adjust somebody and get them well and then, bam, learn how to communicate that to people and share. Don’t be afraid. It’s not a sign of weakness to share your heart with people. It’s a sign of strength and just love the people you take care of. And the last thing I would say today… is to stay focused because a lot of these doctors come out and they may not have staff at the beginning or whatever. And what we’re finding, they’re still in survival mode in their brain. So they’re answering their telephones because they’re afraid it may be new patients that they’ll miss, right in the middle of an adjustment. So we may call for something, and they say, “Oh, can you hold on? I’m adjusting in somebody.”
Well, how can you be focused on being one with that patient, taking care of them, and doing the best you can possibly do when you’re not focused? And that’s when we get to see, let’s call it issues and claims and the doctors are always there saying, “Hey, I lost my focus a little bit,” or “I had a gut feeling,” one of those types of things, and it’s always the case. So, stay focused, be your master, be confident. Learn the communication. And if you need to find someone to learn it from, we all have coaches and we should always acknowledge that there’s a time and place to get help.
Jason Deitch: I very much appreciate the message and where you’re coming from because it would be easy for somebody who founded and runs a malpractice insurance company to put up the message to be careful, be extra cautious, but what you’re actually saying is be focused and be certain and be even more confident. That doesn’t mean, don’t be careful. It just means get in there and pay attention as opposed to getting distracted by fear, is what I’m hearing you say.
Stuart Hoffman: One hundred percent, don’t be stupid. Be the doctor. Always be professional in what you do when you communicate. But take care of people. This profession became group based on its results and we have the goods. And, yes, I own and run a malpractice insurance company. But that only means that I know more than anybody else that this is the safest profession that a patient can ever find on Earth. [It] doesn’t mean that mistakes don’t happen, it doesn’t mean we don’t lose focus, it doesn’t mean we don’t get blamed for things we didn’t do. We have nothing to fear – take care of people.
Jason Deitch: I love that. I hope everybody is really hearing this, that it’s from the source you know this is an extremely safe… procedure for the technical aspects but it’s a remarkable thing and I do observe as well there’s just tremendous fear, uncertainty, concern. I don’t know how else to say it but fear.
Stuart Hoffman: One of the things that I think is one of the great benefits of the doctors that have had confidence in us at Chiro Secure is that we preach being proactive. And if a situation shows up in a doctor’s office I WANT THEM TO CALL ME NOW not later after it’s too late. Because I look at it as part of our job is to coach the doctor through that situation so that… I don’t want someone calling me up and saying, “Hey, I’ve got a patient in the other room, I just broke their rib; I told them to sit there while I go call my malpractice company. You’d be surprised at how many do that. And there is a proper communication and half the time I find, with a broken rib situation, the doctors never even broke their rib. But, they don’t know. And it’s easy to walk through that. How do we find out what it’s broken, what if it’s not broken, and there’s proper communication.
You know, 35 years ago the communication was simple: Let me give you a hug. I’m really sorry. You know, because what can you do about a broken rib other than time? It’s a little bit different now than it was then. But you know it doesn’t mean that we can’t help and that’s what we encourage. Because I don’t expect the doctors to be masters at everything. This is what we are a master at. And we want to make sure that the doctors do their job and not let something that happens in the office actually mess their head up so that they can’t go and see other patients in the same productive way. I want to get them more focused and more promoting so that they build their practice when they have a circumstance like this rather than blow up their entire practice, which is what happens to some.
Jason Deitch: Yeah. Yeah. Get them distracted and the next thing you know, they’re focused on the one as opposed to the many.
Stuart Hoffman: But we all do that.
Jason Deitch: Yeah, guilty; but it happens. You obviously you went to Life University – Life Chiropractic College at the time. You continue to be one of the most generous donors to the school, in both your time, spirit and finances. Why? Why Life University? What is it that you love so much about Life? You know there’s a few disgruntled students every once in a while; they think, hey, I paid my tuition… I’m still paying my loans. I don’t have to give you anything, whatever the excuse is and the few disgruntled are. What drives you to continue to get back?
Stuart Hoffman: It starts with what we talked about in the very beginning of this conversation. I never forgot where I came from. I would have nothing if it wasn’t for Like University; I would have nothing if I didn’t go and listen to Dr. Williams. And, on my way down from New York to Atlanta, my brother told me, “There’s a seminar in South Carolina; stop on your way.” And it was Renaissance with Dr. Riekeman. And I’ve had such an honor of having so many of those people be a force in my life. And I may not see patients but I do believe that chiropractic is not a profession; it is a life. Not even just a lifestyle; it’s a life. And I know I was chosen to be part of this and I’m humbled by that. With that being said, I have to always give back to the people that have given me so much. And in this case, it happens to be Life.
Jason Deitch: Good, very good. I’m going to I’m going to close with one last question I hope everybody will appreciate. From your perspective, what makes Chiro Secure different than the other malpractice insurance companies out there, besides you? And I’ll personally say, the access to you when necessary. What makes your company different so people can have a better appreciation? And then, how do they get in touch with you to learn more?
Stuart Hoffmam: Thanks, Jason. You’ve always been so kind to us and I would say that people that are insured with Chiro Secure are not a number. They have a number but my team comes in tome and says, “Doctor So-and-so just called, blah blah blah,” and I generally know who that is and it’s somebody that I probably have spoken to at some point in time. I do care about the doctors because I take it personal that they get accused of something that I don’t believe that they’ve done. And last week, one of my sons, Eric, and myself and Dr. Clum, who is our number one expert, and an attorney went to our claims department, put on a full presentation about strokes because I want to make sure that the assigned counsel has every tool available to them to defend our doctors. I’m not letting anyone go down If I can help it.
And I do take that very personally. And I can’t imagine anyone else can get that. And we, at the same time, have been innovators. We’re proactive, not just in our approach but our policy. We have the most comprehensive policy that I know of in the marketplace between all of the coverages that we’ve added in, starting back in 2005 when we added the defense coverage for the doctors getting insurance audits. Now, others have copied part or all of that coverage but we have data breech, cyber liability, employers liability. No one [else] has employers liability that I’m aware of, in a malpractice policy. But we do, and we’re going to keep becoming more and more innovative and our technological advances that are coming are going to make it even easier for doctors to do business with us.
And we’re going to just keep being that leader in the profession because I’m hungry to get people that consider themselves chiropractors to be protected and support us in our mission to change the public perception and that we can only do based on having enough support around the profession. And I’m going to continue speaking around the profession whether it be in board meetings or seminars or anywhere else I have the opportunity and the honor to be part of.
Jason Deitch: People contact you – best way?
Stuart Hoffman: One of the easiest ways to go to the website, chirosecure.com. The toll free number is 866.802.4476 and we actually have human beings – in Scottsdale, Arizona – answering those calls.
Jason Deitch: I love it. I love it. Well, Stu, It’s always a personal pleasure to connect with you as you know we’ve been through many, many years together. I’ll leave you with closing comments and we’ll say goodbye.
Stuart Hoffman: I have two parts to the closing comment. First, it’s important for people to understand that the team we’ve built here for Chiro Secure they are dedicated; they are hired to be dedicated, and then they are, to my mission in taking care of chiropractors. They’re supposed to make somebody feel as if they should never dial the phone again, to any company, if they can’t get what they got here because it should be a different experience than anywhere else. And do we fall short? Probably sometimes. But that’s what their job and what their goal is. And I take it serious. And, quite frankly, so do they.
In addition to that, I would say I think the future is bright for this profession when we have an institution like Life that is just out there shining, spreading chiropractic around the world. It just makes me so proud from when I went into a little building with movable walls when I first started school, to seeing the testament to the entire profession that shows up in Marietta, Georgia. It’s really not only exciting but it just…it does humble you to know what has been built based on one man’s original vision, Dr. Sid Williams, and then grow it even further through Dr. Riekeman, and what a pleasure it is to be part of all of that.
Jason Deitch: What a journey it’s been.
Stuart Hoffman: Yes, and continues to be and continues to be.
Jason Deitch: …and continues to be. Listen, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Hope everybody else does too. Please connect with Dr. Stu Hoffman, Chiro Secure. Learn more. Thank you for insuring our students, our faculty. Thanks for your generosity and personally, thanks for being a friend. we’ll say goodbye. Thank you everybody for another watching another edition of Today’s Chiropractic Leadership. Stay tuned for more. Have a great day.
To hear more about Dr. Hoffman’s “back story,” listen to his LIFE Vision presentation within the Leadership and Entrepreneurship category at LIFE Talks.