On the Podium
These exceptional practices earned Honorable Mention recognition in our 2012 contest.
December 20, 2012
The judges for ADVANCE's Practice of the Year Contest consistently bemoan the prospect of selecting only one winner from an expansive list of innovative, forward-thinking physical therapy practices that are defining PT private practice in the new millennium. These exceptional physical therapy centers are expanding their offering of services, staying true to the guiding principles of the profession, using new media to promote themselves and the physical therapy profession, and above all, offering superior consumer service through evidence-based care.
But the upside for our judges is being able to evaluate, recognize, and present innovative practices to our readers, such as the four runners up in this year's installment of the contest.
As in the previous 11 years ADVANCE has conducted this popular event, entries poured in from across the country -- and this year, across the globe (read on for more). Practices ranged from small neighborhood operations to large multi-state enterprises, specializing in everything from home care to worker's compensation to scoliosis. The judging panel was made up exclusively of physical therapy private practice owners and previous winners of the contest, who scored anonymous entries on a range of success metrics.
This year, our top scoring practice is Athletico, a 69-location practice headquartered in Chicago. For a full profile of the winner, and what made them stand out from the competition, click here.
ADVANCE congratulates all our entrants, and these exemplary practices in particular. Here are this year's Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:
Quantum Physical Therapy Centers
In the southeast corner of Michigan, Tiziano Marovino, PT, has leveraged partnerships with key area employers to become a successful 4-location practice (soon to be five) providing multiple service lines including a foot orthotic program, smoking cessation services, women's health, sports medicine, core stabilization and in-house aquatic therapy along with traditional physical therapy and cash-based wellness services.
"Our business was built on patient referrals [rather than] the typical physician referral model," said Tiziano Marovino, DPT, whose wide-ranging 27-year career includes stints as a high school physical education teacher, program director for government funded community recreation projects, director of a large retail employee wellness program, athletic director of a large private high school and director of rehab and pain therapy services at Detroit Riverview Hospital. He launched Quantum Physical Therapy Centers in 2004. While he's currently its sole owner, many of his therapists and directors express desire to become partners in the company, and Marovino predicts the solo ownership model may change in the coming years.
The practice offers patient transportation for just $1 each way, therapy pools at two of its locations, and alternative therapies such as spinal decompression, acupuncture, auriculotherapy and licensed massage.
"Our clinic atmosphere is relaxed but professional," said Marovino, adding that he hires for personality, and trains for skill. Quantum charges $265 per course of treatment and its cash-based business is approaching the $100,000-per-year mark, according to Marovino, with minimal marketing and promotion.
But where Quantum really shines is its ongoing relationship with employers in the realm of health and wellness.
"Our wellness initiatives at Quantum became very popular, and a few years ago we created a new company that provided corporate wellness services," explained Marovino. Biogenesis Group has provided services to Google, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. The company also teaches other therapists how to provide cash-based wellness services, a clinical education program culminating in the certified wellness professional (CWP) credential.
Quantum built a Work Recovery Center to provide off-site rehab services and conduct FCEs to their growing list of occupational clients. They expanded services to include sending an OT on site to provide on-the-job work re-integration as a response to employer demand.
Marovino is a tireless researcher, teaching other PTs in areas such as therapeutic ultrasound. "We have published close to 30 reports [in professional journals] in the last 7 years," he said. "This is significant for a non-university based PT organization and we feel it demonstrates our commitment to advancing our profession."
Quantum is a clinical rotation site for the PT programs at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University, along with Washtenaw Community College's PTA program.
Finally, Marovino relates proudly the work his company does overseas.
"We have been in Togo, West Africa, the last two years to develop physical therapy programs at two hospitals in this country," he said. "We self-fund and equip these sites where there are existing hospitals but no rehab services. We've now been invited to develop rehab centers in the Congo and in Kosovo."
Accelerated Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
"Accelerated" is the best word to describe the fast rise to prominence for Accelerated Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, now with two locations in Edison and Woodbridge, NJ. In business for just five years, Accelerated has already treated close to 5,000 patients, estimates owner and founder Amit Gaglani, PT, OCS, CSCS.
In a challenging 2010, APTR increased revenue by over 30 percent compared to 2009. Patient volume has grown at least 100 percent each year, with one year boasting over 270 percent. Revenues increase an average of 127 percent each year.
How did they do it?
First, immersing itself into a large insurance pool from the outset grew the practice's referral base rapidly, so area physicians don't have to worry whether Accelerated accepts a patient's insurance. Accelerated boasts over 100 referring physicians. Also, the practice keeps all billing and collections operations in-house, speeding up collection rates.
APTR presents itself as the go-to destination for physical rehab needs, no matter the diagnosis or treatment choice. MicroVAS for neuropathy. Graston Technique for adhesion restrictions. Nintendo Wii for balance rehab. "Promoting our specialty services to targeted referral sources makes us a trusted and dependable practice for specialized care," said Accelerated therapist Steven Kaszcyki, PT.
Strict attention to reducing no-shows and cancellations keeps the operation efficient and maximizes staff productivity. Rather than striving to keep every patient that walks in the door, APTR will "qualify" each admission to ensure the patient's commitment to therapy and willingness to participate. If not, Accelerated will suggest alternatives.
"From the moment a patient walks through our doors, they can see and feel the difference of our practice in comparison to others," Kaszycki said. A fresh fruit and beverage bar, complimentary pedometers, patient advocates to provide emotional support and answer insurance questions, free books on posture and healthy living, and monthly prizes and contests create a palpable atmosphere of caring.
"We turn what could be a mundane experience into a fun activity that patients enjoy attending," said Kaszycki. "Our patients walk away from our offices with greater value for what we do, and are encouraged to stay on course with their treatment."
The community has responded. Excellence awards have come pouring in -- "Outstanding Business" by the Edison Chamber of Commerce, "Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center of the Year" by business publication NJBIZ, and an excellence award by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, among others. Charity work and community involvement keep the Accelerated name at the forefront of the marketplace. In collaboration with Edison Township, APTR is launching the Mayor's Wellness Campaign to equip state townships with the tools to implement active-living initiatives with the aim of creating healthier communities and reducing health costs.
Finally, APTR is committed to drawing attention to physical therapy and raising the image of the profession, through seminars with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, talks at senior centers, and a multitude of community events and health fairs. Monthly newsletters, a "refer a friend" program, and other initiatives keep patients coming in to what Kaszycki calls the "Accelerated Difference."
Conshohocken Physical Therapy
From the moment they walk into this one-location practice about 20 minutes from Philadelphia, patients are home. Free coffee, free T-shirts and water bottles, a welcome card with the owners' personal contact information, and a complimentary book of health articles are just the beginning.
The team at CPT defines itself by going the extra mile. When Molly, an older patient at the practice, lamented that she was having trouble making ends meet, the staff cleared space on their shelves and allowed her to display and sell her homemade pillows.
"The spirit in their facility is a wonderful amalgam of hospitality, good humor and extraordinary professional competence," another patient remarked. "They far exceeded my expectations by every measure. I cannot more heartily recommend the CPT team to anyone in need of physical therapy. I look forward to the three days a week of PT!"
But don't mistake the clinic's old-fashioned service for being out of step with the times. CPT recognizes that today's therapy consumer is informed, discerning and connected. In December 2010, CPT released a breakthrough physical therapy iPad application aimed at injury and pain prevention. "Motion Doctor" contains over 60 high-quality videos that serve as a reference of exercises categorized by body part, activity, sport and occupation that will help people of all ages maintain a healthy and pain free body. The app can also be used by PTs as a reference tool, showing patients how to properly perform exercises at home.
"It was important that we promote physical therapy while providing a quality product to consumers," said CPT co-owner Desirea Caucci, DPT. The app includes a "Find a PT" section with a list of private PT practices by state.
To date, the app has had thousands of downloads in the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Korea, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and others.
Conshohocken Physical Therapy was born in 2005 as a 10-foot by 15-foot space in the back of an athletic training facility owned by a friend of Caucci's husband Robert. Word of mouth referrals, an aggressive advertising campaign and supreme customer service resulted in an average 41 percent revenue growth in the last 5 years. The practice moved to a larger space in the center of town, is currently planning a 3,000 square foot addition, and offers an array of specialty services including golf assessments from certified "Titleist TPI" therapists, workplace ergonomic assessments, Nintendo Wii, and aquatic therapy in an endless pool.
For a relatively small operation, CPT offers a generous compensation plan and clinical ladder for its clinical staff (currently four DPTs and growing). They offer $1,500 in continuing education reimbursement per year, competitive salaries, a two-tiered incentive model consisting of a percentage bonus based on total revenue generated and a practice growth bonus, and a promotional system that elevates a PT to senior level after four years of service.
"When patients are discharged from our care, they basically leave as a friend," Caucci said. "They have a considerable amount of knowledge about their condition, empowering them with more self-confidence to tackle what life brings after discharge."
Olivia's Place Pediatric Therapy Center
Beijing and Shanghai, China
On the other side of the globe, a full-service pediatric therapy service founded in 2010 by Quynh and Nelson Chow to treat their daughter Olivia has quickly grown to staff more than 20 PTs, OTs and speech therapists at two locations in Beijing and Shanghai. Over 800 local and expatriate children have been treated by the international team of specialists.
"Our mission is to change the way therapy is done in China," said clinic director Elisabeth Ringrose, PT, a graduate of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. "We are cooperating and partnering with many local organizations including the government, foundations, hospitals, universities, and local clinics, schools, and orphanages to drive this change."
Olivia's Place provides outreach through presentations to local officials, medical providers, teachers, and school and orphanage administrators. Staff is encouraged to volunteer in local orphanages, hospitals, clinics, and schools on a pro-bono therapy basis and through providing professional workshops and lectures.
Courses at the welcoming center range from baby massage and tummy time workshops from their physical therapists, to Parenting the Picky Eater conducted by an occupational therapist, to multidisciplinary developmental playgroups and social skills classes.
Therapists at the company enjoy ongoing education through a technical advisory board, company stock upon employment, and regular employment reviews with objective goals for the coming year.
According to Ringrose, pediatric therapy in this unique environment meets a real community need.
"In Shanghai, there are very few pediatric therapy providers," Ringrose said. "And in Beijing, we opened to answer a true need for services as none were being provided in a pediatric, multi-disciplinary, clinical setting."