This week, I had an experience that drove home to me the reason I love doing Community Acupuncture. I had a patient come in early in the week who complained of being absolutely exhausted and dizzy after getting over an intestinal flu. I treated him and explained that he would receive the most benefit if he could come in for several treatments during the week. I saw him three times in five days, and after the last treatment, he emailed me to let me know he felt better than he had in weeks.
Why is this special to Community Acupuncture?
If I ran a normal private practice, and told him he needed to come in three times in one week, at $50 to $100 per visit (these are the average rates in our fair City -- many practitioners charge even more!), he probably would have been unable to do so due to the financial burden. With our sliding scale, he was able to come in as much as needed, and ended up feeling much better in a very short amount of time -- at a total cost less than a single private treatment!
This is what community acupuncture is about. Providing a realistic opportunity to receive proper health care.
My job makes me smile.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Welcome to Our Community!
Please take a minute to read this introduction to our clinic and to our community. We are delighted that you are interested in joining us!
What is different about Circle Community Acupuncture?
We treat in a community setting -
Most US acupuncturists treat patients on tables in individual cubicles. This is not traditional in Asia, where acupuncture usually occurs in a community setting. In our clinic we primarily use recliners, clustered in groups in a large, quiet, soothing space. Treating patients in a community setting has many benefits: it’s easy for friends and family members to come in for treatment together; many patients find it comforting; and a collective energetic field becomes established which actually makes individual treatments more powerful. Many people fall asleep, and wake feeling refreshed.
We have a sliding scale
Most US acupuncturists also see only one patient per hour and charge $65 to $175 per treatment. They tend to spend a long time talking with each patient, going over medical records, asking many questions. We don’t. The only way that we at Circle Community Acupuncture can make acupuncture affordable and still make a living ourselves is to streamline our treatments and see multiple patients in an hour, so we have returned to the traditional approach; instead of asking you lots of questions, we rely on pulse diagnosis to decide how to treat you. This is exactly how acupuncture is practiced traditionally in Asia -- many patients per hour and very little talking.
Our sliding scale is from $15 to $35 per session.
You decide how much you can afford! At Circle Community Acupuncture, we understand that financial circumstances can change, so if you want to pay $25 one week, and $15 the next, that is fine.
Because we have a sliding scale, we cannot do insurance billing (that’s the insurance companies’ rule). If you have insurance that covers acupuncture, we’ll be happy to give you a payment receipt, and you can submit it; that’s OK with the insurance companies.
Our Commitment to You
We want to make it possible for you to receive acupuncture regularly enough and long enough to get better and stay better. We want our community to be welcoming to all different kinds of people. We want to give you the tools to take care of your own health so that you will not need to rely on corporations like Big Insurance or Big Pharmaceuticals for costly, high-tech interventions. We will provide a safe environment with skilled practitioners.
What We Need From You
Circle Community Acupuncture does not receive grants, state or federal money, or insurance reimbursement. We exist because patients pay for their treatments – it a sustainable community business model.
The community setting requires some flexibility from you. For instance, many patients have a favorite recliner. When we are busy, someone may be sitting in yours. Similarly, a few patients may snore. Other patients who dislike snoring should bring earplugs to their treatments. We are grateful for this! Some of our patients might even bring favorite pillows or blankets from home with them, because they prefer theirs to ours. That’s fine with us. Basically, we need you to participate in making yourself comfortable in the community room before we arrive to treat you.
In terms of how long you want to stay -- tell the receptionist, when you check in, if you need to be somewhere at a certain time! If you want to be leave at a specific time, let the acupuncturist know at the beginning of your session. We’ll make sure you’re out on time. In general, if you feel done, open your eyes and give us a meaningful look -- if your eyes are closed, we think you’re asleep and we won’t wake you up.
The soothing atmosphere in our clinic exists because all of our patients create it by relaxing together. We appreciate everyone’s presence! This kind of collective stillness is a rare and precious thing in our rushed and busy society. Maintaining this reservoir of calm requires that no one talk very much in the clinic space. If you would like to speak to a practitioner one-on-one at any length, please let us know. If you want to have a substantial conversation, we will probably need to schedule that separately and might need to do it by phone.
Please take all personal belongings, (bags, shoes, etc.) with you back into the treatment room. And of course, please turn off your cell phone.
Acupuncture is a PROCESS. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with one treatment. In China, a typical treatment protocol for a chronic condition could be acupuncture every other day for three months! Most of our patients don’t need that much acupuncture, but virtually every patient requires a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.
On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment, which can be anything from “we’d like to see you once a week for six weeks” to “we’d really like to see you every day for the next four days”. This suggestion is based on our experience with treating different kinds of conditions. If you don’t come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won’t work for you. The purpose of our sliding scale is to help you make that commitment. If you have questions about how long it will take to see results, please ask us, or if you think you need to adjust your treatment plan, please let us know. We need you to commit to the process of treatment in order to get good results.
And, last, but not least….enjoy the space. We do, and hope that Circle Community Acupuncture can be an important part of your community.
Circle Community Acupuncture Staff