There's a lot going on in Philly right now. I know some people have heard about PCA Mt. Airy, the second clinic that's in the works. What most people don't know — and it's still not to be made public knowledge yet please kthx — is that I am also doing my best to put things in place for a move to Tucson in August. Last night I got a call from the lead teacher at a free charter school (with goats!) saying that there was a place for my daughter there if I still wanted it. Yes please, I screamed.
I know this all sounds crazy, and like there's too many plans for change happening, how can this possibly work? You're gonna have to trust me on that, mostly. Light some candles for me while you're at it too, please.
One thing that has been hammered home around these POCA parts is that #1. Clinics are most stable without a lot of transition going on, and what we want most of all — more than lots of money — is clinic stability and job stability. But another thing that is constantly emphasized is that your clinic needs to be able to survive without your personality — it has to be able to weather the storms of owners and punks leaving and getting sick and having babies, etc. Some inspiring person somewhere said once or twice that the only thing we can actually count on in this life is change, so what I am really grappling with right now is how to brave all of this crazy change while keeping the clinic's stability in mind and holding out the big picture that I too ultimately want some stability in my and my daughter's life. This is where the idea that the philly clinics need to be able to survive without my personality really gets important. And the other question here is this: when does personality become a barrier to patients? I'll get to that later.
Ideally, of course, patients are coming to your clinic for acupuncture, and to be in charge of their own body's healing process. What's the reality? How many of us have patients that we know disappear if we go out of town, and wait to get their weekly treatment until we get back? The reality is that people get attached. They get attached to certain chairs, and they definitely get attached to certain acupuncturists. It's easy enough to say hey, I'm leaving town, go see Sarah or Billy please.. But the reality is, just like when Korben left, a lot of them will leave when I do. Hopefully not too many. Eventually they'll probably be back. The clinic is still in a rough place from that transition — and now another big one is on its way.
We are talking about this stuff pretty much all of the time right now, it feels like. Or maybe it's just that I am thinking about it all of the time, I don't know. We have strategies in place and will have more before the time comes for me to take my name all the way off of the schedule. One of the things I am really excited about though is the fact that even after I leave, whether I end up still being part owner at both clinics or not, depending…, is that this Mt. Airy clinic #2 is going to be just another PCA. It's not getting a whole new clinic personality — not that it's not a different clinic, of course, but that there are going to be certain very key elements that it will have in common with PCA #1 and that will stay that way regardless of me and my personality. Obviously people have opened second — and soon, a third WCA is on the way — clinics and that's not new. What's new is the idea that these two PCA clinics with the same-ish name, logo, paperwork, connected by a common URL, POCAPoint, and practice fusion patient base could co-exist and cooperate in the same city *even without an owner in common.* Honestly to me this feels like nothing less than removing a huge barrier for patients, not to mention just making things a hell of a lot easier for the new clinic. Just like the local food co-op that has three branches around town — I'm probably more likely to go to one of them because I have already been to the other one. I see brand new restaurants open up all the time up and down Germantown Avenue, and I see a lot of them fail. Most recently, a second Iron Hill Brewery opened up there, the first is in a town about 40 minutes away — and has been packed from day one. It's so busy you shouldn't even bother trying to get a table there on a friday or saturday night. All because people know the brand.
I am so interested to see how this could work in other cities as more and more cities start to have multiple clinics. There are the regional nodes, of course… Seattle is an incredible example. How can people share resources and remove more barriers for patients? How can we cooperate with each other within this cooperative on a very real, daily basis? I only know what this looks like here now, of course, but I love the idea of clinics somehow welcoming new clinics to town by just being plain old clinics, getting the personality out of the way, sharing names and logos and websites and patient bases. Maybe this will pave the way somehow for patients to get the idea that just like it's not about it being “Fancypants Clinic Name,” it's also not about it being Ellen Vincent L.Ac or David Lesseps L F'ing Ac or whoever… it's just about getting acupuncture. And it will make us all be able to be more stable when the storms come, and travel and DO THINGS LIKE GO TO POCAFESTS!!!!!! (BTW GO REGISTER NOW).
everyone here is so fucking brave. There's nothing easy going on around here, and honestly I know I couldn't be making any of these big plans without all of you. I can't wait to see you all at POCAfest GO REGISTER PLEASE RIGHT NOW. kthx.