Accessibility and Community Acupuncture Clinics

by Mark Fox

I became interested in Community Acupuncture (CA) while a patient at David Kato’s Chicago-based clinic.  As a professor with an interest in social entrepreneurship, the business model aspects of CA fascinate me; particularly, the ideas of increasing accessibility and the sliding scale fee structure.  My colleague Staci Lugar Brettin and I looked at the characteristics of 114 CA clinics.  The lower end of the sliding scales ranged from $10 to $25 and the higher end ranged from $35 to $45.  72% of clinics charged an intake fee (averaging $11).  On average, CA clinics were open for 31 hours per week, with limited hours at the start and end of weekdays and on Sundays.  The typical clinic was operated by 1.5 acupuncturists, 69% of whom were women.  Sole practitioner clinics had an average of 6.3 seats/recliners, whereas clinics with four or more acupuncturists averaged 13.3 seats/recliners.  The average clinic had 0.8 treatment tables (however, 50% of clinics had no tables at all).  Among the suggestions we make for improving accessibility is that CA clinics consider opening at additional times, particularly at the start or end of the traditional workday or on weekends.   The full article appears in the Winter 2012 edition of American Acupuncturist.   Mark Fox can be contacted at

You can read the full article in POCA's public forums.

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