The Joint Chiropractic Franchise Review: Dr. Kris Birkeland

Manager of more than 45 clinics across five states opens up about owning part of the fastest-growing chiropractic franchise

The Joint Chiropractic is the fastest-growing chiropractic franchise in the nation. Founded in 1999, The Joint has revolutionized access to chiropractic care by making it more accessible, convenient and affordable than ever, and as a result, The Joint now has more than 450 clinics throughout the country.

While The Joint has introduced chiropractic care to millions of people, it also has helped hundreds of chiropractors find a successful career that allows them to focus on what they love: helping people heal. In recent years, The Joint has rolled out initiatives to help doctors build careers while finding successful lives as business owners through a path-to-ownership program.

No one understands The Joint’s commitment to chiropractors more than Dr. Kris Birkeland, who manages more than 45 clinics in five states. Birkeland came to The Joint after owning and operating a successful private practice that focused on helping athletes, and he took on the role because it was an opportunity to help chiropractors find a meaningful life in business. As the manager of his 45 clinics, Birkeand fosters a patient-centric culture that lets doctors focus on providing the most exceptional patient care possible.

This is his story:

Why did you want to become a chiropractor?

KB: I grew up in a family that owned small businesses. I saw people who took it upon themselves to not just find a job but to create their own. I’ve always been interested in health and wellness and fitness. I wanted to find an opportunity to be my own boss, as well as control the product. I went to chiropractic college, and I always knew what I wanted to do — which was opening a interdisciplinary sports-oriented clinic that trained athletes and also treated them for their injuries. I was doing that and loving that — and then the opportunity came up to manage 40 clinics with The Joint. I recognized that as a great opportunity, even though I loved what I was doing.

Why are so many people seeking chiropractic care?

KB: People are getting smarter about health. We see people that previously wanted to go to a doctor to treat their pain as it happened. “I have these symptoms, I have this problem, let me get a solution.” At The Joint, we help people by taking a preventive care approach. We treat people on an on-going basis so that we can treat their pain and make sure that their pain doesn’t come back. We make preventive care and on-going wellness care very easy for our patients by allowing walk-in visits, having a membership model, and by having extremely knowledgeable doctors who can treat patients in a matter of minutes.

How has The Joint revolutionized access to chiropractic care?

KB: The barrier for coming into The Joint is much lower than it is to visit a traditional clinic. You don’t have to have health insurance, you don’t have to schedule an appointment, you don’t have to take the day off work. You can simply walk through the door and get answers from a highly trained doctor and get the same treatment as you would at any high-quality chiropractic clinic.

Why are so many people seeking chiropractic care now?

KB: I think it’s our changing perspective on health. Health is not getting rid of symptoms, which are masked by opioids and come with severe side effects, including addiction. People understand their bodies now more than ever, and they also understand the consequences of not getting care or getting care that has adverse effects.

How do you ensure a consistent level of care at your clinics?

KB: We provide a very strong culture of exceptional chiropractic care that takes a patient-centered approach. Because patients have the ability to visit multiple clinics, we stress providing individual attention on the patient in a teamwork environment. Keeping the doctors focused on the patient is the key to providing great patient care. We motivate our doctors to have a connection with the patient. The nice thing about working at The Joint is that we don’t see our patient care as having a beginning, middle or an end, meaning once the symptoms are gone, we don’t send them off and say come back when the symptoms come back. We try to develop a long-lasting relationship so that we can take a preventive care approach, so the depth of our patient care is actually greater at The Joint.

Why are doctors attracted to working at The Joint?

KB: When I interview doctors, I always ask, “Would you find giving an adjustment only to be limiting or liberating?” Those that find it liberating, this is very best place for you to work. When a chiropractor finishes school, we have a doctorate and we’ve learned a lot. We learn about nutrition, exercise, rehab and on-going pain management — all these different modalities that actually help people. What differentiates us is that we provide adjustments. We find a lot of doctors who have tried a lot of things in many clinics, such as PI work comp clinics where all you do is patient notes. Or they’ve worked at interdisciplinary clinics and end up doing soft-tissue work. But ultimately they have a realization: “I got into chiropractic to provide chiropractic care.” At the most basic level, that means providing adjustments, and that is what The Joint specializes in. We focus on the spine. Our doctors find it liberating because they can focus on the patient, establish a connection over the long term and help people heal.

What are the benefits of working at The Joint over owning a traditional clinic?

KB: There’s a culture within chiropractic that the only way to be successful is to open your own business. The reason chiropractors are attracted to The Joint, though, is that they get to show up and really focus on only providing patient care. They don’t have to market their business, they don’t have to provide benefits, they don’t have to deal with the stress of making payroll — all they have to do is focus on the patients who walk through their doors and help them heal. Ironically, chiropractic is one of the last health care professions that still has this culture. You don’t see doctors or dentists coming out of med school and opening their own practices anymore. They find employment at quality places that allow them to focus on what they’ve been trained to do, and this is what The Joint is doing for chiropractors. I think it is a great thing for the industry.

When you reflect on your experience with The Joint, what makes you the most proud?

KB: When I left my private practice to work with The Joint, I knew it was an opportunity to help chiropractors find successful careers. At our clinics, we provide 401(k)s, we provide benefits, and we’re giving doctors the opportunity to plant their flag and build a successful career. We also help so many people. At our 45 clinics, we help tens of thousands of people every month. That’s really what makes this worth doing.

Ready to bring the fastest-growing chiropractic franchise to your community?

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About The Joint Chiropractic

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Joint is an emerging growth company that is reinventing chiropractic care by making quality care convenient and affordable for patients seeking pain relief and ongoing wellness. The brand’s no-appointment policy and convenient hours and locations make care more accessible, and affordable membership plans and packages eliminate the need for insurance. With more than 400 clinics nationwide and nearly 5 million patient visits annually, The Joint is a leader in the chiropractic profession. For more information about The Joint’s franchise opportunities, visit www.thejointfranchise.com.

Business Structure

The Joint Corp. is a franchisor of clinics and an operator of clinics in certain states. In Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington, The Joint and its franchisees provide management services to affiliated professional chiropractic practices.

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