Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Catherine Valen began her chiropractic practice in the upper bay of the Nederland Shopping Center where Dot’s Diner is located and after a circuitous journey, she has now returned to work full time next door to her original office. She feels like she is back home, armed with 25 years of experience and up to date technology.
She is in the process of moving into the Columbine Family Health Center where her husband Mike Camarata has his office. No more commute to Kaiser.
On September 15, 1988, Cathy opened her doors to patients needing chiropractic help. About a year later, she moved to the old blue building on the corner of Second Street where she renovated it to fit her needs. When she was asked to work part time at Kaiser Permanente to cover for a maternity leave, she left the blue building and worked at Kaiser as well as serving mountain patients out of her home and the office behind Doc Joe’s.
“At this time, my son Devon wanted to go to Christian School, wanted to learn more about the Bible so he enrolled at Bellevue Christian which meant driving him to school.”
Devon graduated this past May and has received an academic scholarship to attend Western State in Gunnison, studying computer science. This coincides with the end of Cathy’s contract with Kaiser and not having to take Devon to school anymore as well as not wanting to work full time at Kaiser, she quit, bringing her practice full time, full circle back to Nederland.
During her time at Kaiser she invested in a traction/compression table, a Class 3 and Class 4 Laser and a whole body vibration machine that helps increase bone density.
Adding her chiropractic to the other natural healing clinics in the center, the massage therapists, the acupuncturist, the reflexology and nutritional counseling, she will expand the services offered at Columbine.
Now that she is her own boss, she is determined to inject some of her own ideas about how to help patients deal with insurance problems.
“In the last couple of years, I have seen people who have insurance, but are not really covered. Sometimes their co-pay is more expensive that what I charge for a visit and that breaks my heart. I want to offer a low-cost visit, stop people from going down the hill. I want to find the cause of a patient’s issues and treat the whole problem, working with the practitioners here and do an affordable bundle.”
Cathy’s vision is to come up with a wellness, plan, for example, of massages and adjustments for an auto debit per month, including discounts, a flexible, affordable menu approach. She says this would involve a set fee per month, which allow people to follow through, to financially see a way through the treatments. She says the plan would work for maintenance, not for intense cases after an injury. A patient could buy blocks of care for multiple therapies.
“We would work together to figure out prepaid blocks, we would be creative. We would figure out how to get people well and not go broke.”
On August 24, Cathy left her job at Kaiser amidst tears and hugs. She had gotten attached to many of her patients after years of treating them, but she knows this was the right move. She can already feel the decompression happening. “I had to squish my practices into the corners left in my life,” she says. “I always wanted my practice here to be the best of my abilities, instead of having to rush down and then rush up to see my patients here. I was exhausted.”
Before Cathy signed on with Kaiser she was seeing 40-50 patients a week and her hope is to build back up to that. She says she loves chiropractic in the mountains, loves coming to work in her jeans. She loves having her traction table up here, enabling her to work on the back, the neck and on carpal tunnel distress.
Her hours will coincide with that of Columbine’s and on weekends by appointment. For appointments or more information call 303-258-7730.