The Path to Affordable Healthcare

Multi Generation Family Giving Children Piggybacks Outdoors, Grandparents, Parents and kids outdoors, healthy and happy family

When I first started my practice, I was motivated by the idea that I was going to help people make earlier and smarter decisions about their health. It was my valiant attempt to simplify and improve their healthcare experience. We actually ended up adding another dimension to their already busy and expensive lives.

Don’t get me wrong, we did a lot of good. But if I’m honest, we fell short of what I had envisioned—and what drove me to this path in the first place.

Trial and Error

Realizing that I’d gotten lost somewhere along the way, I spent the next 15 years experimenting with one idea or another to get back on track. I even tried an integrated approach, introducing a medical business into the same building to hopefully create convenience. None of it worked well. It all added expense for patients and families, and the whole process was dragged down by age-old conflicts and competitions present in the healthcare industry.

Eventually, I realized the heart of the problem. We were performing proactive wellness care, but we were charging reactive rates for it. Many families weren’t able to participate—which meant they weren’t getting the benefits and were forced to add other items to their budget to make up for it.

Of course, there are exceptions to all of this. I’m speaking in generalities after years in the industry—but the issue is evident by the unchanging participation rates of families.

Finding Solutions to the Problems

The first problem was our approach to the fee structure. I had learned that much.

The second problem, however, was more difficult to pin down. It had to do with natural healing approaches and their place in the medical hierarchy.

I began to realize families had a lot of options when it comes to healthcare—but each of those options, sometimes including natural treatment, tended to address only one portion of overall wellness at a time. For example, physical therapy and chiropractic care were treated as two entirely separate things. Although their approaches were often similar and they treated many of the same ailments, a patient may have had to visit experts of both disciplines to receive complete relief. That, I knew, could quickly become very costly.

To address this problem as well as the fee structure, we knew we’d have to make a huge change to our methods of operation, our identity, and even the way we viewed our work. After 15 years of trial and error and 2 years of implementing our new approach, we are very excited to announce we’re seeing the results I envisioned when I started this path.

A New Beginning

Instead of being weighed down by reactive care and frustratingly compartmentalized approaches, we pride ourselves on a unique view of healthcare: one that is complete and integrative. We draw from multiple disciplines to treat a patient’s entire being, including acupuncture, herbal therapy, counseling, and referrals to professionals in other fields.

How did we arrive at this new beginning? The key was offering a membership program for chiropractic. That didn’t just give us a taste of integrative care—it also enabled us to dramatically lower the cost for families to participate in true wellness services. Because it has no long-term contracts, it is freeing for a family to be able to use it only when they decide it is beneficial. This places the responsibility on us to make sure you are getting the value you are hoping for.

The first step to making this work was to build a good foundation. We do that by removing financial barriers and encouraging conversation with our patients. We allow our members to sit down with us anytime they have questions or concerns—all without charging extra fees.

The second step is to help families share our integrative vision. To explain, we like to use the image of the spine—both nerves and bone. Chiropractic care and physical therapy address the bones, but the chemicals in the nerves need to be treated differently, meaning that the approach must be multifaceted. This combination of solutions can dramatically reduce your need to seek out additional medical care and can keep you from visiting one of every medical professional in the area just to address a single symptom.

So here’s the kicker. As we implemented this approach, we found that 5% or fewer of our patients would actually need those outside services—and when that comes up, we have a list of professionals we’re happy to refer you to. That means our system works, naturally healing you and protecting your budget along the way.

Why Our Approach is Truly Unique

Speaking of cost savings, a huge study 10 years ago found that implementing these ideas reduced medical expenses by 75% overall (Sarnat/Blue Cross). What, you never heard about that? That’s because almost nobody is motivated to reduce your expenses. Saving you money means they don’t have as big a payday—and that goes for insurance companies, too. They’re regulated to earn a percentage of what you end up spending.

That’s why our approach is unique: It treats you as a person, not as a complicated web of healthcare needs, each with its own big price tag. We want to make healthcare approachable, affordable, and as comfortable as possible—not a “get rich quick” scheme like some cartoon villain.

Learn more about our Foundations of Health Membership and its benefits for you and your family.

What I’ve Learned

Since I started on this path all those years ago, I’ve learned a lot. I realized that the traditional approach to healthcare is inherently flawed, and that fee structures often treat people as money-making opportunities instead of living beings. I also found that medical approaches like chiropractic care and physical therapy have much to contribute to one another, rather than being two entirely separate concepts as many people view them.

Most of all, I’ve learned that the only way to make a difference is to change the process. It only took years to work up the nerve to do something about it.

I hope you enjoy the results.

 

Dr. Matthew Hales, Chiropractic Physician

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(208) 895-8595