EPISODE 34 – DR. STEVEN HEFFNER, PART 1: TRADITIONAL CHIROPRACTOR AND HIS UNEXPECTED AND COMPLETE PRACTICE PATTERN TURNAROUND

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Steven Heffner DC, DipMDT

Dr. Steven Heffner has been a licensed chiropractic physician for 31 years in Pennsylvania, of which 16 of those years he has been employed by a Health System in Wellsboro, PA.  He received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College in 1983 and his Bachelor of Science degree at Mansfield University in 1974.  He credentialed in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy in 1995 and received his diploma in 1997 becoming only the second chiropractor to do so.  Dr. Heffner had been a member of the McKenzie USA branch Board of Directors from 2002 – 2013 of which the recent four he had served as Chairperson.  He has also written chapters in several medical textbooks on the McKenzie approach.  In 2005 Dr. Heffner became a faculty member of the McKenzie USA branch and in 2009 became the instructor for the recently formed chiropractic branch.

 

Show Notes

Personal Background

Dr. Heffner has been married for 34 years, has two children who are grown and one grandchild.  He enjoys hiking and working out and has recently focused on nutrition and has found some strategies that help even his chronic pain patients.  He spends a good bit of time on the weekends teaching for the McKenzie Insitute USA and MI International.

Professional Background

Dr. Heffner is a chiropractor and has been for 31 years.  He was the first credentialed MDT chiropractor in the institute.  He is one of six senior teaching faculty for the institute. 

Quote

  Steve uses a concise way to teach his patients and students what McKenzie assessment is.  To Steve it’s, “the repetitive movements and positioning of the spine or extremities to see what effect it has on their symptoms.

He also feels another quote illustrates what we do very well.
  “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”

A Time When He Struggled

  Dr. Heffner originally began treating how he was taught to in chiropractor school.  He used manipulation as the main treatment and using modalities to make the manips easier.  There was no education.  Steve was frustrated because he didn’t understand why his patients’ pain kept coming back.

  Steve speaks on the tension between physical therapists and chiropractors.  He explains, the way he worked through that is through looking at the evidence.  Becoming a McKenzie therapist he was able to work through bad habits that weren’t supported within the literature. 

When Things Really Began to Make Sense

  Steve really began to improve his care when he returned from a McKenzie course taught by Gary Jacob.  Things clicked on that very first course and he was impressed how there was a way to help patients without manipulating them.  He quickly proceeded to the cervical course and rapidly moved on to become credentialed.

Challenges

  The greatest obstacle is the business aspect of this method. The insurance companies don’t reward us for saving them tons and tons of money.  The toughest thing to do for us is to build up a strong enough marketing plan to survive until we’re reimbursed appropriately.  Steve thinks that outcome-based payment is on its way.    

Strength

  The greatest strength is, no question, the McKenzie assessment. From the history and through the physical exam you know what you’re dealing with because of patterns.