Healing Hands Portsmouth Closure
Five years ago Brian and I sat across from a financial advisor who asked us the ever elusive question, “Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?” At the time I was about 6 months pregnant. Brian and I already had an insurance-based chiropractic wellness center in Greater Manchester for about 6 years that was doing fairly well. But, we were being called to offer something different. Something where we could bring affordable care to everyone regardless of their insurance status.
Inspired by POCA’s community acupuncture movement, we set out to create a sliding scale fee chiropractic office here in New Hampshire. We knew of only 2 other offices in the country who were doing something similar (Asheville and San Francisco). It was a big risk to start a new business being 6 months pregnant. But, we both knew this was something we needed to bring to New Hampshire. And, if we waited until our child was born, we may get caught up in the vacuum of parenthood and never bring this model of chiropractic practice to fruition.
We left the financial advisor’s office; got in our car and drove an hour out to Portsmouth to find a space to rent. We walked downtown; saw a For Lease sign on the Custom House at the corner of State and Pleasant. We walked in, took the elevator to the 3rd floor- doors opened and we both didn’t even step off the elevator. We knew in our guts this was not the space. We hit the 2nd floor button, the doors opened and we were welcomed by a big beautiful staircase. This was more like it. To our surprise the door to suite 206 was unlocked. We entered. And, both immediately knew this would be the future space of Healing Hands Community Chiropractic. We called the realtor, made arrangements for a lease to be signed, and security deposit to be made. Done.
People close to us thought we were nuts! Perhaps, we were.
A few weeks later with a new associate in our other practice being trained for my maternity leave, we took a much needed vacation to Sedona, Arizona to relieve some stress. I was 34 weeks pregnant. While on our “Babymoon” we …had a baby! For that story, click here for Part I and here for Part II.
With a preemie baby who had severe colic, a shortened maternity leave, and splitting my time between two locations- the struggle was real. But, with the Portsmouth location’s sliding scale model being well received; the struggle was worth it because we both knew deep in our core that this is how we could serve people best.
When our son, Jackson was about 17 months old I was diagnosed and started treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease. Our entire world imploded. We thought we had just got through the toughest year of our lives. We were wrong.
Our coverage associate doctor was no longer with us. And, I was now the only doctor at both locations. This was certainly never what we had intended. But, with hundreds of dollars a month in medical bills, and a new mortgage (we had to move out of our 3rd floor walk up because I no longer could make it up the stairs), we couldn’t afford to bring on a new doctor at either location.
We felt like our dream of bringing sliding scale chiropractic to more communities was dying. Some days I felt like I was dying. We were scared. But, we continued on- with hopes that I would conquer this illness in the near future. Four years later I am still struggling with Lyme. It has really kicked my butt.
We then tried to raise funds through Kiva to help grow the practice to become sustainable for us and the community. But we ultimately fell short of the goal, to which we received nothing.
About 6 months ago we brought on an administrative assistant to replace the box on the wall self-pay station. Our plan was to have staff that could support a new doctor to take my place at the Portsmouth location. After 4 years of Lyme-related ups and downs, I knew lightening my workload, removing the strenuous commute and spending more quality time with my family was the best chance for me to heal from this once and for all. We interviewed several possible candidates for the associate position with no
luck. Then, our administrative assistant gave her notice.
With one last valiant effort – we were in talks with a doctor about potentially buying the practice so that HHCC’s sliding scale model could live on in Portsmouth. Unfortunately, that did not work out.
Both Brian and I have lost much sleep over the last few weeks. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Seacoast for the last 5 years. It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you, we have decided that closing the Portsmouth location is what we need to do for the health of our family.
Thursday, September 28, 2017 will be our last shift ever at HHCC Portsmouth.
Each of you are always welcome for care in our Manchester location. I do hope that you all continue chiropractic care. To find another wellness based chiropractor in your area that belongs to the same chiropractic association as me, please click here.
I have shared all this with you, because I want you to know that we really wanted this to work.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving you over the next 6 weeks.
For any questions regarding your account please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am sure you can understand what an emotional time this is for me. I feel like I have let everyone down. When you are in the office for care, my main focus is on you, and your health needs. So, I ask that you please refrain from asking me questions regarding this matter when you are in for your care.