WCA Gets Linked

The other day I had a new patient and like I usually do I asked her how she found out about us.  She replied that her doctor recommended us.  That in itself is not that unusual for us because we get several referrals a month from doctors who we've never talked to.  Usually we find out that the doctor in question found out about us because one or more patients of his are also patients of ours and heard great things about us, especially the price and so he recommends our clinic.

This case was a bit different however.  This doctor had no patients who knew of us.  Instead this guy found out about us because the place he works had a link to us and sometime previously he looked into the link!  The place he works? The Providence Hospital chain.  Here's the link: https://www.providence.org/oregon/for_employers/employee_assistance/e40Resources.htm

 Scroll down and you see us listed under Substance Abuse which is interesting because we do very little of that.  Oh we do some stop smoking stuff and there have been a bunch of patients who were on pain meds and our alleviating their source of the pain eventually got them off the meds but we don't put out that we deal with substance abuse because we feel that in general just doing Acupuncture isn't enough.

At any rate its interesting to me that we are linked by Providence since we have had no contact with them, formal or informal. The first thing it says is something I've believed for a long time. The idea that western medicine looks down upon us because we aren't “scientific” enough is false.  We've had too many contacts with doctors to think that they approach their patients any differently than we do.  In general they'll use any tools at their disposal to help their patients including referring their patients to Acupuncturists if they feel/know that it would help them  Conversely there are some doctors who act like many Acupuncturists in a bad way in that they try to sell their patients unneeded drugs or procedures.  Such is the medical business.  

There are other similarities between western allopathic medicine and Oriental medicine but the important thing is that they aren't looking so much for double blind studies as feedback from patients.  Nor are they necessarily dogmatic about medicine.  As is usually the case, ignorance is the biggest obstacle between them and us. So when I look at our schools and I hear some of them talking about how we need to be accepted into the western medical community by proving our scientific worth I see our schools selling us a load of crap.  Our biggest problem is that we are barely known.  We do such a small percentage of medical treatments in this country that it makes sense that doctors don't know what to think about us so much of the time.  What we need to do is treat more people.  That's what Community Acupuncture is all about.

Skip Van Meter
Author: Skip Van Meter

Skip is Lead Acupuncturist and Co-Founder of <a href="https://www.workingclassacupuncture.org/" target="_blank">Working Class Acupuncture</a> in Portland, Oregon. With the earlier part of his life spent acquiring knowledge about geology, urban planning and teaching high school, he has now been an acupuncturist for 19 years, using about a 1,750,000 needles poking his patients. He likes all things soccer, has three fabulous sons, the best wife in the world, and a great dog and two cool cats.

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  1. That’s my general experience

    That’s my general experience of (most) MDs, too: they know they can’t fix everything, and they care about their patients and want them to get better. And if they know about acupuncture at all they know that at least it can relieve some of the patient’s stress, which can only be a good thing.

    I think in general our practice model is going to be more appealing to docs because they won’t see us as taking advantage of their patients financially, and because our approach is so acupuncture-oriented (as opposed to prescribing lots of herbs, etc., which I think they worry about more in terms of “interactions” and general safety).