An inspiring Tauranga chiropractor who charges patients a koha rather than set fees is hoping his generosity will make a difference in the health and wellbeing of locals who are suffering financial hardship.
Dr Phillip Bailey opened the doors of his new Bethlehem clinic, Community Chiropractic, earlier this year and leaves the decision on how much to pay entirely up to his patients.
“It’s done on an anonymous basis. I have an EFTPOS machine which I show people how to use and it’s up to them what dollar amount they choose to put in. The total koha payments are merged together at the end of each day, so I never know who has donated what amount.”
The unusual business model is based on Dr Bailey’s personal belief that regular chiropractic care is an important part of maintaining good health.
“But the reality is most families cannot afford to do that. Standard chiropractic fees are $50-$60 per appointment which becomes a financial burden. I have seen the positive difference chiropractic and wellness care has on people of all walks of life, and I want to show love and compassion to the community of Tauranga through our koha-based care.”
Dr Bailey’s own personal journey and his childhood experiences growing up in South Africa where his parents had to work hard to provide what was needed, has shaped his world view.
“I’m a Christian so for me there’s always a bigger purpose. I went through a lot of depression in recent years and I was pretty close to taking my own life. The big thing for me getting back into work is being able to show a lot of compassion and love to other people in the community. It’s less about money and creating a big empire. It’s just really about trying to reach out and help those who at times can’t help themselves.”
Dr Bailey has previously owned clinics in Singapore and Papamoa and says a koha payment system has been on his mind since university. A small number of chiropractors in Christchurch are operating in the same way but he is the first in the Bay of Plenty to try a koha model.
“I’m hoping to encourage other professionals in the Bay to do something similar – it doesn’t have to be a fulltime thing, but people are really struggling financially. Anything people can do to help others in need has got to be a positive thing.”
Dr Bailey says regular, proactive chiropractic care is much more beneficial than just seeking help in an emergency when you’re already in pain.
“The body will respond better. So I hope I can help a lot more people by making things affordable for them.”
Chiropractors focus on getting the body to heal in a natural way. They use a range of techniques to treat pain and can work with any joint in the body – not just the spine.
“We often see people suffering from headaches, neck pain, lower back pain and many other health issues. Every person, no matter their age or health concerns, is able to benefit from regular proactive care which enables them to gain and maintain their optimal level of health.”
Community Chiropractic is located on Moffat Rd within the Bethlehem Community Church complex. Dr Bailey says as long as he’s making enough money to care for his wife and young son, he will be happy.
“At the end of the day, I really don’t want to know what people are paying. I make sure that I’m giving my best service to every person. If I can make chiropractic care work for everyone, I trust that it will all pan out.”
For more information, visit: www.communitychiropractic.co.nz
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