Community Acupuncture Principles
All POCA clinics operate on the basis of three underlying principles: lower prices, simplify everything, and build community.
Lower Prices. The CA sliding scale is different from what people may be used to in at least one major way—absolutely no patient income verification is required. The purpose of the sliding scale is to make it accessible for people to get the care they need. It is set within a range that includes as many people of ordinary income as possible, and allows the clinic to be sustainable. Some clinics have decided to drop the sliding scale and charge an affordable flat fee.
Income documentation may not provide an accurate picture of a patient’s financial circumstances or need. Either way, asking for income verification and deciding on a case by case basis, at the practitioner’s discretion, can be intimidating, demeaning and ultimately creates another barrier to accessing care for the patient. It also creates unnecessary work for the practitioners and office staff, and moves away from the ideas of simplicity, inclusion, breaking down class barriers, and creating community, which are integral to community acupuncture. It is the responsibility of the practitioner to determine what fees are needed to sustain a high-volume practice and it is a basic tenet of community acupuncture that all patients deserve the same rates.
The following threads offer a good perspective on why we charge low prices:
Hello, Lovely to meet you, and a question POCA members only. Join!
The Economics of Acupuncture POCA members only. Join!
Simplify Everything. One of the foundations of a successful community acupuncture clinic is the ability to see a high volume of patients. One way to make this possible is simplify everything. Diagnosis, treatments, charting, payments, scheduling, patient flow, infrastructure, and clinic systems can all be simplified.
Check out these related blogs for more perspective on simplification:
5 Minutes is a LONG TIME
Conceiving of Community Acupuncture
Build Community. A successful CA practice needs to be an active part of your community, a place people can depend on to provide quality healthcare for them, their families and friends; a place they can feel part of. A CA practice offers a space that can become less about individual practitioners, more about the experience of acupuncture itself and a reflection of the patients that join it. The experience of receiving healthcare in a community setting can be powerfully nurturing for all of us—breaking down barriers, normalizing experiences and removing many fears about health (and business!). It relies on and builds connections among people.
Here are some links for more perspective on community:
The Slippery Slope of Boundary Crossings Part 2 POCA members only. Join!
Slide and Connect
Kids and Community Acupuncture
Lovely Story About Community
The Community Acupuncture Clinic as a Third Place
Chapter 3: The Punk Mindset