Dr. Brooks Discusses His Stimulus Package

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It’s a hot summer afternoon in Oklahoma when Dr. Robert Brooks takes pause from his fast-paced life to share the story of how his Stimulus Package became part of his practice.

Dr. Brooks explains that during the past two years, he noticed a slowing of new patients which by the end of 2008 had dwindled to one or two a week, a fourth of what it had been for many years. Admittedly, the economy and the effects of it were keeping people from spending money, and his existing patients who would normally be sending referrals were no longer doing so.

Times have definitely changed and the priorities for seeking healthcare have changed along with it.  People who once selected care according to quality are now being driven by cost considerations.  According to Brooks, the question to address was what would it take for people to get beyond any perceived barriers to try the NUCCA work?  Since it was apparent that expense was creating resistance, Dr. Brooks decided to reduce his new patient fee by more than half of what it had been for more than 12 years.  His comprehensive initial package that includes x-rays had been billed for $800.00 and now, the number that remained in his thoughts was a mere $375.00.

Still not sure about the number, he spent two weeks talking to patients asking what fee would be reasonable enough for them to feel comfortable making a referral.  He says he literally ran the numbers from $800 down to $375, and each time, the reaction was negative until he hit that last number.

When asked if anyone who paid the $800 was now miffed to hear new patients could begin treatment for such a reduced fee, he said only one patient commented and the reply was that he would have paid three times the old fee had he know what the NUCCA work can do!

So as of January 1, 2009, Dr. Brooks implemented his Stimulus Package and the number of new patients increased dramatically.  He expected the increase to drop off after a few months, but now, seven months into the year, it’s stronger than ever.

He believes he removed the resistance which was the perceived barrier to care and now he can barely keep up with the patient load. “I didn’t have to change the way I care for my patients or my office procedures to make it work”, he reports.  And his costs for follow up corrections and other fees remained the same as they had been.  It was simply a matter of addressing the resistance.

So Dr. Brooks is doing what he loves and is treating more and more people. “I enjoy touching people behind the ear and changing their lives.”

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