I suppose for the frequent YAO visitor, it's no surprise that we finally write this article up to address the incredible aspect of the YAO time warp. We have several types of patients and we seriously love you no matter where you are on this spectrum. We have those of you who come in knowing that you will likely wait 30 minutes for your appointment and those of you who are really confused about having to wait for more than 15 minutes. It has been a difficult task for us to explain when you come in, especially for the first time, to YAO. So here's our best foot forward on explaining the behind the scenes happenings that contribute to a delay in the start of your appointment.
THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO DELAY
WHO COMES TO YAO
At YAO we are truly a small Chinese Medicine Hospital. On any day, we have patients coming in with very complicated cases. We may have a patient with Parkinson's Disease in one room, someone just having suffered a stroke in another, a stage 4 breast cancer patient in another, and possibly a new mom having labor induced in yet another room. Follow that with the next turn over of patients. Now we have a severe back injury with slipped disc patient in immense pain, someone going through emotional distress due to divorce that is wreaking havoc on their entire body, a new mom with intense post-partum depression, a couple looking to conceive, and someone who suffered the death of a significant other suffering from grief.
HOW WE BOOK APPOINTMENTS & PAYMENT STRUCTURE
Much like a hospital emergency room, when we book appointments we can not control who is coming in for what services ahead of time. And clearly, we can not always book the appropriate amount of time that someone will need to stay as you can see by the variety of cases listed above. This will of course, back up the following patient's appointment time. We always know that our initial visit appointments will take at least 2 hours, though sometimes it goes a lot longer. Today we had one that lasted for 3 hours. For everyone else coming for an appointment that will likely include an acupuncture treatment, we book one hour. Now depending on what is going on, they may be asked to stay longer. We NEVER charge more for a regular one hour acupuncture appointment even if it goes on for 3 hours. Never! So the good news is that even when your appointment begins late, ALL patients are created equal. EVERYONE gets their turn. EVERYONE gets seen for the entire time they booked their appointment if not longer. In fact, you usually get a huge bang for your buck her at YAO as we won't let you leave until there has been a shift. Until something is better.
If a patient is scheduled for a consult appointment where they are reviewing the case together with the doctor and the doctor is checking in on them and possibly reformulating herbs, we do charge by time. The time not only includes the time that there is discussion between the doctor and patient, but also the time allotted for formulating the new medicine. This can be frustrating for some patients that may feel as if they saw the doctor for 15 minutes, but paid for a 30 minute consult. It takes the doctors time to formulate the specially made compound tailor made just for them. However, more often than not, we will charge for a 15 minute appointment that may last 25 minutes.
HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT
It is entirely possible that you have been to other acupuncture clinics. At most Western Chinese medicine private practices, you will likely start your appointment on time and you will likely have it end on time if not before it is supposed to end. The western model for Chinese Medicine has also been integrated into the spa industry and therefore the expectation as to how an appointment should be booked and timely can be different than how we apply it at our small hospital here at YAO.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the treatment protocol is based on a socialized medicine practice whereby patients are able to afford coming back every other week, several times a week, and sometimes daily. At YAO we have worked diligently in educating our staff to be able to treat the condition more effectively in one session. That means, that we do have our patients sometimes stay longer to be sure the treatment takes. In other practices, they will have the patient leave when the time is up regardless as to if the treatment has truly taken effect. They find it to be acceptable if you have sometimes only 30-40% improvement. We do not agree. We get the job done out of respect for the fact that American's are paying out of pocket. We know that most of you also are additionally paying for insurance that covers other aspects of your medical care. Therefore, we want you to be well quickly. We don't want you stuck coming to us for 8 visits when we can get the treatment done in 1 -2 times.
Our cost, therefore of $129 for a regular hour session, is way more cost effective than $40 per session at a community acupuncture clinic where you need to come back 8-10 times. The cost of that would be up to $400 at 10 times over 5 weeks. I am not sure, but I think YAO clinic just saved you a bundle there. If we have you come one time and fix you, you save $271. If it takes 2 times we save you $142. And we save you time. You get it done faster and cheaper here at YAO.
Additionally, we do not just do acupuncture which is how many practices are oriented. There are some truly fabulous practices that have wonderful acupuncture technicians. Our practitioners not only can provide very high quality acupuncture with incredible amounts of education supporting their knowledge, they also work the many other branches of Chinese Medicine. The main other one we use at YAO is Chinese Internal Medicine. We are fortunate as a larger clinic to have the largest granular herbal pharmacy in Colorado. This means that our practitioners have access to a full range of options when it comes to creating your compounded herbal formula. At YAO you will further find that we will often employ aspects of the Feng Shui of your house or office or possibly your astrological birth information...we may refer you to our Bodywork department for Cupping or Gua Sha as well.
COST OF HERBS/CHINESE INTERNAL MEDICINE
Herbal formulations or patented herbs can be an additional cost to your visit. Just like a western medical doctor may refer you to a pharmacy to fill a formula, we will do something of the same. Due to the fact that we are a Chinese Herbal Pharmacy we are able to house the pharmacy in our same facility thereby making it convenient to have your prescription filled right here at YAO. We strive to keep the cost of our herbs at a reasonable price. That means that we have done our homework. When we have searched around at other clinics in the area, we simply have the best prices for you. We constantly have people streaming through the door telling us that our prices are cheaper than the places out on Federal.
Not everyone receives an herbal formula, and you always have the right to refuse filling the formula. The one tricky part is that we can not give you a cost -estimate prior to filling it. We can give you a range, but it depends on how many days we are filling it for and also what herbs end up being prescribed. Different herbs are different costs. We charge by the gram, which is standard, for all of our granular herbal formulations. It can range anywhere from $25 - $125, but sometimes less and sometimes more. In general, we really work with our patients to make dietary changes prior to recommending herbs; however, if we are dealing with an acute situation or one where the patient really wants to see change quickly, then we do recommend the use of herbs right away. We are not in the market to gouge you for herbs. They simply cost money.
WHY WE DISCUSS THE HISTORY AND APPLICATION OF CHINESE MEDICINE
There is a large learning curve in our western understanding of what Chinese Medicine is. Just like a Western doctor will take some time to explain your treatment and condition, we do the same here at YAO. It allows the patient to feel comfortable and make wise choices about their care and how they proceed. It also allows them to feel confident in moving forward with this type of treatment. Chinese Medicine is based on an entirely different world view and therefore the discussion of how it works is important during the visit. This facilitates a deeper understanding as well as trust for the overall therapy/therapies that we may employ. After this, the patient is truly able to be fully on board with the treatment and protocols put in place.
Often times there may be additional questions that patients may have about a treatment or therapy that they initiate such as how does moxibustion work. At YAO we take time to explain the details of the history around how it was developed, why it was used and how we use it today. We won't just scoot you out the door and take your money. We want you to understand that with many trips to China under our belt, that we have done the research for you and can explain it with certainty.
COST BREAK DOWN
We thought it might be helpful to make a comparison of our prices on visits and herbs to other places in the area:
We not only incorporate Chinese Medicine, but we are often looking at western medical doctor diagnoses, treatments and labwork. We really work using functional medicine and therefore we have to compare our rates to other folks practicing this type of detailed medicine. We periodically look around the area to be sure we are in line with other folks Here's what we found and can share with you.
- YAO Initial Visit with Chief Clinician (120 mins) $289 / Nearby Naturopathic Doctor $245 (90 mins) / Nearby Functional Medicine MD $375 (60 mins)
- YAO Follow Up Visit with Chief Clinician$129 (60 + mins ) / Naturopath F/U $40 (15mins) / Acupuncture F/U $115 to $130/Functional MD F/U $375 (60 mins)
- YAO Initial Visit with Associate (90 -120 mins) $170 / Compare above
- YAO Follow Up Visit with Associate (60 + mins) $80 / Compare above
- One Hour Consult $129 / 60 minute functional medicine consult $375
- 45 Minute Consult $98 - no comparison, most people don't create a 45 minute option
- 30 Minute Consult $75/ 30 minute functional medicine consult $200
- 15 Minute Consult $45 / 15 minute naturopathic consult $40
- New Mommy Rates First Time Visit $129 with follow ups as low as $85
As expressed above, we do not generally have people come back with frequency; however, if we have a case that fits that bill, we do have packages and memberships available to suit their needs that bring down the rates for acupuncture treatments to $60-$65 and are based on the approval of our Chief Clinician.
You may be tempted to compare us to community acupuncture clinic prices which start at $40 initial consult and a $25 follow up. At these clinics you are in the same room with other people sharing space and you are also required to pay with cash or check. It is a very different model than what we have here at YAO. We are not saying YAO's model is better, we simply serve a different type of patient base and therefore it is difficult to compare us simply by price.
COST OF PRODUCTS AND HERBS
We wanted you to see several of our products and what we charge vs. what other's charge.
- Average herb price per gram at YAO: $.42 high quality herb source/ Other local herb dispensary $.40/g
- Sample nutraceutical product Ortho Molecular Probiotic 225 at YAO $49.99/on Amazon $85.99
- Bonavita Electric Kettle 1.0L $71.99 at YAO/ on Amazon $76.99
- Osea Cleansing Milk 6.0 oz. $46 at YAO/ online $48
As you can see YAO is happy to openly share our average prices for items with you as we know ourselves to be very competitive.
IS YAO A GOOD FIT FOR YOU?
YAO is a wonderful fit for you if you want really well trained staff who have been to China over 18 times and received over 50 years of education combined. We are especially the right place for you when you have a rather complex case that no one else has been able to solve. Our staff is truly committed to you either getting well, feeling well or even looking and feeling well. We do ask that if you choose YAO, that you understand that YAO clinic is a small Chinese Medical Hospital and we function as such. Our support staff in the back has Graduate degrees in Health Services Administration and has worked with hospitals and medical groups such as Stanford Medical Center & Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. They are dedicated to your health AND to your pocketbook. We at YAO are constantly striving for balance not only in your health, but in how we deliver your care to you and how you might receive it.
We love new patients and welcome you with open arms into our mini-hospital here at YAO. Once you are in, you are family.