POCA Coop Transition Summary

It's been a year since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and community acupuncture clinics have been deeply affected . Many clinics have closed, sadly, never to re-open. Other clinics closed during lockdown or never closed at all, and quickly learned how to revamp their operations to keep the community as safe as possible during what can only be described as a time of collective trauma. The clinics that have survived are doing their best to keep going. It's probably fair to say that no one clinic is thriving – yet.

POCA is also adapting, and while this change has been a long time coming, COVID has played a large part in this much-needed transition. To make a long story short, the structure of POCA as a sprawling and complex co-operative is no longer financially sustainable and in its current form requires too many operational resources. General Circle and BOD have concluded the best path forward is to move POCA from a co-operative business structure to a leaner 501(c)6 membership-run non-profit.

The transition effort is intended to simplify operations and reduce costs in order to maintain POCA’s mission to work cooperatively to increase accessibility to and availability of affordable group acupuncture treatments.

The change in the business/legal structure from a cooperative to a 501(c)6 doesn't change POCA's roles and functions of supporting members or in furthering its mission. We hope that the launch of the new website, along with the consolidation of circles and streamlined administrative work, will spark new participation, growth and innovation within the framework of an easier to sustain organization. For all of the volunteers who have been maintaining POCA during these past few years this change brings a huge sigh of relief.

Here are some details on the operational changes POCA will be going through:

The POCA name will remain. The old forum knowledge commons will remain accessible to members.

As part of the transition, a simplified (WordPress) website will be launched, including a new forum platform (Buddy Boss) for members to connect.

Membership categories and benefits will be simplified: community members (formerly patient/community members) at $25 annual dues, and provider members (formerly punk or clinic members) at $50 annual dues. Benefits for all members will include the monthly newsletter, new website with access to Buddy Boss for communication and support, and volunteer opportunities.  Local clinics may choose to provide additional benefits or specials for community members.  Provider members will also have access to marketing materials, additional clinic support, and the potential for discounted CEU's (details pending).

CEU infrastructure will be transferring to POCA Tech. 8 free CEUs will be available through 2021.We are hoping to have a CEU discount for POCA members in the future.

Simplification of circle infrastructure to reduce overlap and increase collaboration. We hope to make it much easier for members to plug into circle work.

The POCA Slack channel is up and running and is the main platform for behind-the-scenes work and the place to plug-in for volunteer work and proposals to the GC. Once the new website is up and running, it will be equipped for this type of work and communication as well.

The co-op is required by Oregon state law to ask membership to vote to support dissolving POCA the co-operative in order to transition POCA into its new iteration. A survey/vote is being sent out by email to all current POCA members and will be active until 12 noon on April 14th — keep your eye on your inbox!

Ellen Vincent
Author: Ellen Vincent

is a punk at Philadelphia Community Acupuncture and POCA's current membership coordinator. Email her at membership@pocacoop.com.

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