Dr. Jeff Bivins blames Medicare for his decision to shut down his solo chiropractic practice and transition into something completely different -- politics and selling guns.
In the 1990s, Bivins was making a decent living in the mountain region of North Carolina. Many of his patients were well off, and he was able to supplement his shrinking Medicare reimbursements by offering more lucrative advanced testing and other diagnostic services that his patients could afford out of pocket.
In 2003, Bivins sold his North Carolina practice for family reasons and opened a new one in south Georgia.
"That's when the reality of treating a much less affluent patient pool hit me in the face," he said. At his new practice, Bivins said he was treating a higher percentage of Medicare patients who couldn't afford to pay for additional treatments out of pocket, as well as more patients who were on disability.
Bivins said in his new practice he was treating some patients who he suspected were gaming the system and this made him increasingly uncomfortable.
After four years of "just getting by" financially, Bivins quit. "It was one of the most difficult things I did," he said.
Today, Bivins is running on the Libertarian ticket for state Senate. He also is a part-time science instructor at a local college and owns and operates a gun store.
Why a gun store? Said Bivins: "I've always been an avid outdoorsman and hunting is part of the culture in this part of the country."
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