It’s been awhile since I reached out to all of you. I hope everyone is doing well.
I have a couple things to share with you. We have just passed the one year point of Covid19. It’s been a challenging year keeping a massage practice up and viable during this time, as you can imagine. But we did it, and a new year is here along with Spring.
This important newsletter includes the following;
Moving to a new office space. Office closing schedule.
Direct Primary Care (concierge) vs Insurance
Important change to my business model that includes rate increases and membership discounts.
Office closing April 19th thru (approx.) May 12th.
The first thing to share with you is that we will be moving our office as our current office building has a new buyer. We will be moving just diagonally across the street to the Shadis Law building on the corner of Academy Hill Rd and the Mills Rd (Rt 215). This will be a downsize for our office, however it’s a very comfortable and charming space on the second floor. The plan is to move the first week in May. On top of this, Sylvia and I are also moving our residence, but staying in the same area. This is scheduled for the last week in April, thus I will close our office the third week in April and plan to be reopened later in the second week of May. Leading up to this my schedule may be a bit erratic. I will do my best to maintain all recurring monthly and bi-monthly scheduled appointments during this time along with currently active clients that require more immediate attention. My schedule will be a bit unsettled over this time.
A New Business Model
I’ve been working on the best approach from here that builds on my dedication to providing you the very best manual therapy wellness care, while at the same balancing the increasing cost of a small private practice (especially during the COVID pandemic).
I am very grateful for those of you that were able to continue seeing me during the past year. Without you I certainly would not have been able to keep the doors open. Although I’ve been practicing massage therapy for quite a few years, I wasn’t ready to completely retire just yet (just because of a worldwide pandemic). In fact, this is the very time in my career I have been waiting for. Although I consider myself partially retired, I still work 5-6 days a week. The key difference, instead of seeing 4-5 clients in a day, I now typically only see 2 clients per day. This schedule makes it possible for you to receive more focused attention along with a broad range of adjunct therapies such at ASTM, FSM, hot stones, etc. as needed during any visit. If you need extra attention any given day, having the time flexibility to provide that is important. And for me to continue to have the time and resources to keep up with the latest continuing education to improve your outcomes with not only massage, but also ASTM, and FSM, is important. Amazing new developments are happening all the time in these fields. Patients with long standing pain and chronic conditions are finally finding relief. There are very few practitioners in the northern New England area trained this way. I am fortunate to be getting this training and passing the benefits to you.
It’s not just about the therapies however. It’s also about access, being able to get in for help when you need it. I don’t want to be one of the offices that responds to a overwhelming demand by sacrificing the client-focused goals, or hiring other therapist to fill the demand, or booking out a month in advance. Instead, I wish to maintain a schedule that prioritizes my existing clients and expands the client-focused model.
As many of you know, I am always pushing myself to learn more about what I do, about holistic healing, reading journal articles, case studies, and adding new modalities to my tool box, so I can best help you. And during this process I keep you in mind. I’m always happy to email or text you something that comes across my desk that I think you may find helpful or of interest in terms of your goals working with me. This was not as possible when I was always crunching my schedule, subcontracting and running my office at the same time.
But of course every business has the cost of doing business, and I am no exception. So how do I find the balance between the more fluid, client focused practice, and the constant financial demands of running an office, and still make a basic living? Many doctors and other health professionals are running up against the very same situation. They don’t wish to sacrifice patient care by complying with insurance regulations and restrictions to receive reimbursements that barely cover the bill. Thus a number of these offices are turning to a concierge model, or now more commonly called “direct primary care” where there is a type of membership, or retainer, that gives the patient access to the doctor, when and as often as they need it, at a affordable price, bypassing insurance all together.
Up until just a couple years ago, my office derived about 80% of our revenue thru insurance reimbursement (via sub contracts to local chiropractic offices). That began to change as more self-pay clients became regularly scheduled over the last two years. This change was fortunate because the last of my subcontracting stopped this year, without much notice, as several insurance companies began changing their long held policies regarding massage reimbursement as it had been administered via subcontracted providers. This alone could be enough to put any office out of business. In order to continue providing my services I will need to either go back to a higher number of clients per week, raise my rates, or find another creative solution.
A possible solution. The hybrid Direct Primary Care model.
- to keep a fluid, client focused practice
- Continue to have the space in my schedule to be able to see my clients when they need to see me, not have to schedule weeks out.
- Continue to have the time, and funds, for continuing education to help improve your outcomes (after all, this is why you are coming in).
- Keep my rates affordable.
- Respect the limits and capacity of my hands and shoulders.
- Avoid sharing office space as a means of affordability, thus reducing my options and control of the environment and having less scheduling options.
- Continue to offer adjunct services; FSM, homeopathy education, Metabolic Typing Diet consultations, discounted access to my online dispensary for professional grade herbal, homeopathic, and nutritional products.
- To continue to provide the very best in my scope of practice.
The typical Direct Primary Care model includes a monthly or yearly access fee that covers certain common appointments such as a yearly check up or regularly scheduled wellness care. Additional charges may be charged for additional care, lab fees, etc. and may provide a discounted rate for subscribed members. Typically medical offices using these models do not accept insurance and limit their access to subscribed patients only.
I see using a hybrid model that incorporates these various aspects, but still provides access to clients that wish to opt out of this model. What I am working on is as follows;
Direct Care Clients would subscribe with a monthly fee of $75.00 (paid via direct deposit or credit card on file). This would cover each subscribed client for one, 1-hr massage per month. (an additional fee of $30. Would be charged at the time of service for clients preferring a 90 minute session). Additional sessions during the calendar month would be charged, at the time of service, at the current rate of $75.00 for one hr., $105.00 for 90 minutes. Direct Care Clients would receive a 15% discount with full access to my online dispensary thru Wellevate for all their nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic products carried by Emerson Ecologics, one of the top professional suppliers. Adjunct therapy such as FSM, corrective exercise training, homeopathic education, etc. will be included at no extra cost. Priority in scheduling, after hours online consultations, will be available for Direct Care clients.
Non Direct Care Clients; Rates for 1-hr therapy will increase to $85.00, and $115.00 for 90 minutes. Adjunct therapy such as FSM require additional charges. Scheduling may have limited options. New clients may be limited as I prioritize existing clients.
I realize for some people this will be a welcomed option. For others however it may be more difficult. I’ve never turned anyone away who needs help but could not pay full cost upfront. Truth of the matter however is that I need to stay open to benefit anyone. I have a donation button linked to PayPal on my website for those who can afford to chip in for those less fortunate. It may be possible for me to set up a “go-fund-me” page to bring in additional support for those in need with less resources. I will establish a list of clients requesting support that I can refer to as any funds come in. TLC is not a tax deductible organization.
Thank you for your patience wading thru this rather long newsletter. I encourage your feedback. I also encourage you to contact me if you wish to remain on this client/email list or if you wish to be removed. Anyone I haven’t seen in the last 24 months will be removed automatically unless I hear from you.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted on the progress as we transition to our new office.
Dana Tavares LMT.
Setting Course For Optimal Health
Dana Tavares LMT, CPT
Tree Of Life Center For Wellbeing
Certified Advanced Metabolic Typing ®Advisor
(207) 563-2737 cell & appointments
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Dana Tavares LMT and Sylvia Tavares RTM, (dba The Tree Of Life Center for Wellbeing), is an educational and holistic resource center and are not medical doctors. We do not diagnose any medical condition or prescribe any treatments. The relationship between Dana Tavares, Sylvia Tavares, and their clients, is not of prescriber and patient, but as educator and client. The relationship we have with our clients is based on equality; where the client is knowledgeable about their health situation and we are knowledgeable about the Homeopathic and holistic health process. It is fully the client’s choice whether or not to take advantage of the information Dana Tavares and Sylvia Tavares presents. Homeopathy doesn’t “treat” an illness; it addresses the entire person as a matter of wholeness. That is an educational process, not a medical one. The uses for products and homeopathic remedies we discuss are based on traditional and current homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products purchased thru us are as any retailer/customer relationship and only provided as a retail service and convenience to the client.