This lesson is about the distinction between minor vs. complex care patients.

I have two kids, Adam and Kristen; they’re both grown up, have kids of their own, and are off my payroll. Those of you who are parents know that raising kids isn’t easy. What works for one kid won’t work for the other. Adam was a risk-taker… the more, the better. If I wanted to influence him, I’d challenge him. Kristen was the opposite. If I wanted to influence her, we’d sit down and talk about how she felt about things. My kids were completely different in what motivated them.

Patients are like kids in that they differ in what motivates them. The trick is knowing what patients’ motives are and how to appeal to them.


Now, here’s an easy way to know what appeals to patients. I want you to imagine there are two groups of patients: those whose total care fees are less than $3,500 versus those with fees greater. We’ll call patients with total care fees less than $3,500 – minor care patients. Those with higher fees – complex care patients.

Here are the attributes of minor vs complex care patients and the motivator for case acceptance.

Minor care patients have minor disabilities.

These are the emotional factors that hinder their lifestyle. Many minor care patients have no disabilities at all. They don’t even know they have a condition. The driver of case acceptance for minor care patients is patient education. Because they’re unaware of their conditions, we demonstrate them, and in so doing, we create concern that conditions will worsen and become disabilities. In other words, we educate minor care patients into disability. They are typically ready for care because the time and cost factors are not insurmountable barriers for them.

Complex care patients are often aware of their conditions.

These conditions hinder their lifestyle and are disabilities. These include lack of confidence, worry about losing their teeth, intimacy issues, health issues, poor appearance, and trouble eating.  For them, patient education is not a motivational driver. They already know they have problems. Their motivation comes from experiencing your understanding of their disabilities and having conversations about behavioral benefits and how complex care needs to fit into their lives. They’re typically not ready for care. Cost and time issues need to be worked out to accommodate their life circumstance. They get ready for care over time. My advice… know that patients are like kids. What works for one may not work for the other.

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