Written by Justine Myers, Lic. Ac. & Clinic Owner and Director/Manager of Acupuncture Together
Most days at work I am asked by patients if our clinic is doing okay and if we will be able to continue offering our services for the long run. Let me say that I truly appreciate and understand these concerns and the caring nature of those who have asked. I feel the same way about some of my own favorite local small businesses. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on some of our most beloved local treasures and it is tragic that some have had to or will have to shutter their doors for good.
I want to be clear in stating that I have no intentions of closing for good, and I do not feel that the risk is at all imminent. I’m dedicated and devoted to this work, so I’m going to do my best to continue doing this job, even if it means things look different and services are reduced for awhile. I don’t know when the pandemic will end, but my goal is to continue working through it to the best of my ability, with all the difficult limitations I’m facing (namely: 50% reduced capacity for treatments per hour and my limited ability to work in the office because I am a parent of 2 children with very limited childcare). This is a career and a business model that I am passionate about, and there’s really nothing else I would rather do. I have very little interest in providing private acupuncture treatments and even less interest in working with insurance companies. I love treating lots of people and making acupuncture as affordable as possible. I opened Acupuncture Together in 2008 and I really want to see it continue on for much longer than 12 years.
Despite being determined, this time has been extremely challenging. I was not just sitting at home relaxing from the day we closed on 3/13 until 6/9 when we reopened. Having to suddenly close down the office but still being responsible for covering ongoing business expenses and not knowing when or how we could reopen was extremely difficult. Knowing that patients who depend on acupuncture could not receive it was very disheartening. The time and labor required to plan to reopen was enormous. I spent hours upon hours scouring the CDC website so that I could write a safety manual, I spent hours shopping to procure cleaning products and PPE, recliner covers, a plexiglass stand at the front desk and other necessary items and I spent hours in the office moving furniture around, cleaning, reorganizing and training staff so that we would be as ready as we could be upon reopening.
Now here we are on the other side of that closure. We’ve been open since June 9th, and while I am truly grateful to be back at work, we continue to experience challenges. For the past month we have only been providing about 25-30% of the number of treatments that we were providing before the pandemic, yet we do have the capacity to provide significantly more treatments than that amount, even with our social distancing measures and limited schedule in place. I recognize that for many people the idea of going to a community acupuncture clinic may not seem worth the risk even with all the safety measures, and perhaps it is too great an expense for those who have lost work recently. I certainly understand that everything is different now and that people’s comfort levels vary. After all, being at home and outside away from other people are the safest places we can be.
Unfortunately because we are now providing substantially less treatments than before, we no longer have desk staff. I have really enjoyed working with our front desk staff team and I am very sad that we can no longer work together. I know they were all very disappointed to not be able to continue working and I know many of you miss being greeted by them when you arrive in the office. In addition, one of our acupuncturists, Eric, has accepted a position at a physician’s office closer to his home, so he will be leaving our practice at the end of this week to transition to his new job. Eric has been with us since 2018 and I know many patients have had wonderful treatments with him, so this is another loss. I wish him all the best.
Despite these losses I am hopeful and positive about the future of Acupuncture Together. Andrew Cheever, Lic. Ac., joined our staff shortly before we closed the office in March. He has been practicing community acupuncture for 5 years and is a highly skilled and compassionate practitioner as well as a true community acupuncture enthusiast. I have full confidence in his abilities to provide excellent care and am very pleased to have him as a member of our staff. The two of us working together should be more than adequate to match the current and near-future demand for care. When the demand eventually exceeds what we are currently providing, we will find a solution to offering more appointments.
Although so many things are different now – limited hours and access, a smaller staff and all the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in place – I appreciate your understanding and I promise to persevere.
But I could really use your help as I persevere. Now, more than ever, Acupuncture Together really does need your support. As always, the best way you can support Acupuncture Together is by letting your friends and family know that we’re here and available to help and/or by writing a heartfelt online review. You may not need acupuncture right now, but there are people in our community who do – so letting them know we’re here helps them and it helps us.
Thank you for your continued trust in us, as well as your enthusiasm and support.