Sioux City chiropractor offers honor fee payment system
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
Since his clinic opened four years ago, Dr. Rhett Ruehle offers a different approach to chiropractic care with an honor fee payment system, which means each client pays according to their means for care.
“Not a penny less, but not a penny more than they can afford,” said the chiropractor. “Each and every person sets their own fee for care. This way I keep care affordable for everyone because I believe everyone in Siouxland deserves to be able to receive chiropractic care on a regular basis.”
Dr. Rhett received his doctorate in chiropractic in April 2009 from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minn.
The honor fee system was presented to him while he was in chiropractic school, but he said it was presented “in a laughable way. The professors didn’t think it was a viable system.”
“There was something about it that intrigued me,” said Dr. Rhett. “I spent quite a bit of time researching it and looking into the model. I also spent countless weeks on the road visiting other offices that were set up this way and seeing how they ran.”
This was during the down turn of the economy in 2008 and 2009, he noted. Many offices he was seeing were struggling because of loss of jobs or insurance benefits were cut.
“I was seeing many of those offices decline in the people they could help,” said the chiropractor. “Whereas all the honor fee offices I visited, they were actually expanding. They were seeing a lot more people and helping a lot more people.”
For Mike Prather, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Sioux City, the number one reason for going to Dr. Rhett is the cost and that he doesn’t have to make an appointment.
“You come when it is convenient for you,” said the office member, who has been seeing Dr. Rhett since shortly after he opened. “No call, no nothing. Just stop in and get adjusted.”
Prather said he was a skeptic in the beginning. His wife was coming in for care and he wasn’t.
“With the way his pay is we could both come,” he said. “I started coming and I now come three days a week.”
The chiropractor offers care to anyone from the age of two-days old to over 90 years old. He is not only the doctor, but Dr. Rhett is the person who answers the phones, keeps the records, does the marketing and even cleans the office.
“I do everything here. I am the only employee in the office,” he said. “Many people, when they call in for their first visit, they are surprised to hear the doctor answer the phone because they are expecting a secretary. People tend to like it because what you see is what you get.”
Approach to care
When an office member, as he calls them, walks into the office they will be greeted in a friendly manor and have their spine checked and adjusted where necessary, explained Dr. Rhett, who is confident in the way he adjusts.
“I do know that some common experiences here, after they get adjusted for the first time here when they have been to other chiropractors, is literally ‘holy cow,’” he said. “They can’t believe what the adjustment was like. I would say that is because of how much time I have spent with my adjustment technique and how I analyze the spine to find out where it needs to be adjusted.”
The office is set up so no one has to make an appointment to be adjusted.
“It is set up for efficiency,” said Dr. Rhett. “It doesn’t take any more time than what is necessary for someone to receive care. You are not going to spend minutes up to hours on end in a waiting room waiting to see the doctor. You are going to come in and be greeted by the doctor. You will be adjusted in an efficient manner and then be out the door, so it takes as little time as possible.”
For more information about Ruehle Family Chiropractic, Dr. Rhett Ruehle can be contacted at (712) 224-3949 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is located at 4242 Gordon Drive in Sioux City and the clinic’s website is www.ruehlechiro.com. The office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.
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