Saturday, September 26, 2009
When we started South Austin Community Acupuncture in 2006 our sliding scale was $15-$40. Somewhere along the way we bumped the low end up to $20. We had our reasons at the time... Recently, we've been re-examining this. More and more unemployed people are showing up at the clinic. People are coming every few weeks instead of weekly. People are finding it challenging to pay for acupuncture and get herbs. Many Austin acupuncturists are reporting overall patient volume is down... These are challenging times economically - even here in Austin. We've also been re-examining the whole notion of entrepreneurship as a social endeavor and what that is all about. And what that is all about is, in addition to being in business with the intention of turning a profit, the social entrepreneur seeks to provide a solution to a social problem. What is the problem as we see it? The problem as we see it is that acupuncture can be - to some degree or another - beneficial in treating just about anything, even if it does not provide a cure. And yet, the vast majority of the population know nothing about it or haven't tried it. The other part of the problem is that acupuncture is priced such that most people can't afford to use it even if they wanted to. As community acupuncturists, we have very deliberately adopted a very localized and socially oriented business model - one which affords us a modest income doing very satisfying work, and one which makes acupuncture affordable and accessible to many more people. It is in that spirit that we are moving the low end of our sliding scale back down to $15. The bottom line is we are doing this because we want you to be able to get acupuncture as often or for as long as needed to get better and stay better.