April 11, 2005

Local Chiro shows how it can be done

Here's a person, unlike the phundy pharmacist in R.I., that really has his heart and head in the right place. I think this guy is a hero of sorts, and feel it would be fitting if some benefactor or benefactors threw some money his way in support of what he is doing.
The box sits on the wall right next to the door. A casual visitor might walk right by without noticing it, but patients never do.

Dr. Clint Garda, a Rock Island chiropractor, said his job is to empty the box at the end of each day. But his life's work is helping people get better.

Dr. Garda, 35, runs his practice using the "honor fee" system. After treatment, the patient puts money in the box. They pay what they can afford and what they think is fair for the treatment they've received. They won't get a bill. They won't find a list of prices tacked on the wall. Their insurance card will do them no good here.

"Everyone deserves to be healthy. Everyone deserves access to care," Dr. Garda said. "I believe what I do here is too important to put any barriers on."

More than half of his patients' insurance covers chiropractic care, but they don't use it, choosing to see Dr. Garda, who says they don't need the coverage.

"I try to pretend this is 1940," Dr. Garda said. "How did people afford health care? They afforded it because it was affordable."

Because he has such little overhead -- his office is on the second floor of his home and he has no office staff -- Dr. Garda estimates he makes as much money as a brother-in-law who runs a traditional practice on the East Coast.

"A person works 40 hours a week breaking themselves down," he said. "The real power of chiropractic is regular maintenance care. Running it this way, everyone can afford (follow-up visits)."

"I wanted to be a healer," he said. "I treat people as honestly and fairly as I can, and I expect people to treat me the same -- and they do."
Dr. Garda's practice is located at 2500 9th St., Rock Island, not the toniest part of town, which is further evidence of his devotion to caring for those who otherwise couldn't afford it.

This is an example of a person putting service ahead of monetary gain while still getting enough money to live not only a comfortable life, but a worthwhile life by making a positive difference. He's not simply raking in money while contributing to the out of control patient/insurance/health care industry system. A prime reason health care is in crisis is due to various interests competing for the billions of dollars involved. Dr. Garda's practice short-circuits the entire system, providing quality care, a decent living, and healthy and grateful patients who will likely be less prone to health problems (and costs) down the road.

Three cheers for Dr. Garda for showing the truly "radical" idea of putting patients first can, and does work.
Some politician should recognize him and encourage others to give this system a serious look.


At 4/11/2005 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Kiro!

At 4/12/2005 12:12 AM, Anonymous Blue State said...

We need more QC-area dentists, like the late great Dr. Donald McNeil, and QC-area doctors, who might decide to do some charity health care work for the low-income citizens of this area.

At 4/12/2005 3:04 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

While I can't be sure, it seems to me that there was a lot more charitible care by health professionals in the past.

With healthcare a crisis situation for so many, it would certainly be a good time for the professions to adopt a more socially responsible attitude to providing care for those who otherwise couldn't afford it.


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