Recently one of our practice members using the Cooperative System expressed a concern that she wasn’t paying enough for her visits to this office . Her question, offered in good spirit, reflected her personal integrity. As I responded to her question it occurred to me that others may have similar concerns about the self-determined fee system, so I thought that it might be useful to copy the response into the “weBlog.” Here is what I wrote:
“Dear _______, regardless of what amounts you decide to pay on any given visit, it is my honor and pleasure to be involved in fulfilling your family’s chiropractic needs.
It’s a fact that when the chiropractic profession began not so many years ago the worst thing it adopted from the medical profession was that profession’s approach to handling fees. Back in those days many people thought that chiropractic was a better way to get sick people well; but now we know that what we do is much bigger than that because it affects all aspects of a person’s life and performance. Nevertheless, in those early days chiropractors accepted many of the trappings of medical practitioners, like white clinic jackets, stethoscopes and other irrelevant things, including their method of determining fees.
Now we know that the medical profession’s preoccupation with money has created a health care crisis, which for decades has been driving up the costs, while forcing down the quality of care. Following the medical model can’t possibly serve to elevate the quality of the chiropractic analysis and adjustment, so in addition to an ordinary fee system, this practice offers another choice. I believe that the Cooperative System is a more sane option; it is neither a cheap system nor expensive. Instead of being based in how much money can be extracted from people or some third party payers (insurance, employers, etc.), it’s design opens the door to providing the highest quality chiropractic care in a way that is accessible to everyone, rich, poor and in between.
You indicate that you are concerned that you may not be paying what my services are worth. Please keep in mind that I have given this concern careful thought before deciding to offer the Cooperative System. You are correct when you say that this office does not receive ‘what the service is worth.’ This is true for people choosing either our Regular System (where fees are structured just like in other doctor’s offices) or the Cooperative System. In fact I’ve never met anyone who can afford to pay what a precise adjustment is worth (and I know some rather wealthy people).
A properly performed spinal analysis and specific chiropractic adjustment is so valuable and impacts our lives so positively that billionaires like Bill Gates could never afford to pay what it is actually worth. So if no one can afford what specific chiropractic is really worth, then let’s accept that fact and not worry about it. Instead the Cooperative System provides us with an opportunity to get the care done right. This is essential and although no one can afford what ‘chiropractic done right’ is worth, I have great confidence in the principle that says, ‘If I consistently deliver a high quality service for people, then they are going to talk about it.’ When they do so then more people enter this practice. Seeing more and more families like yours allows me the freedom to work in this manner.
So once again, thanks for expressing your concerns and for your family being a part of this practice. Whatever amounts you decide and for whatever reasons you make that decision, that’s fine with me. The Cooperative System is naturally right and the only real difficulty is in getting used to something that’s unusual. But once we use it for a little while it becomes comfortable. I look forward to continuing our pleasant relationship into the distant future.