For Dr. David Ritchie, the box on the wall serves as more than a time-tested payment method dating from the Victorian period. He said it also helps him offer chiropractic care to more patients during tough economic times.
With the box on the wall at his Cafe of Life Chiropractic, each patient decides how much to pay for his or her treatment. As Ritchie says, "I never ask my patients how much they put in, because I prefer to serve the person as he or she is, rather than for how much each one puts in the box. My suggested fee is $35 per visit, though I'm sure some people pay less and some people pay more."
Ritchie asserts the "box on the wall" payment method is a viable business model, used by a number of chiropractors around the United States. It has so far been successful financially for Ritchie, he said, and brings with it other benefits as well.
"This is the idea behind the 'box' practice," Ritchie said. "It makes chiropractic care affordable to everyone, and allows me to treat far more people."
Ritchie's transformation from computer scientist to chiropractor began after injuries left him in constant pain. "I had a lifelong history of serious health problems. I got bronchitis, strep throat and pneumonia on an annual basis. I had severe seasonal allergies. During college I was in a car accident that left me with back and neck pain and migraine headaches."
He received his first chiropractic adjustment in 2001. Eventually,
He neither accepts insurance nor insists upon extensive information from patients. Instead, he takes patients' names, birth dates and other basic information, and has them sign an "informed consent" form regarding adjustments. Patients who stay beyond a first visit also attend an "Hour of Power" talk about chiropractic methods and how they help the body.
Ritchie, who opened his Walnut Creek practice in June, sees no reason to ever stop using the "box on the wall" and revert to more conventional billing methods.
"I hope to practice for another 30 years and I plan to use the box for the entirety of that."
Cafe of Life will have an open house Saturday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3000 Citrus Circle, Suite 106, Walnut Creek.