Here's what I'm thinking about in the local PT industry. Asking about. Praying about.

A few of the 5 owners of First Choice Rehab, my bosses, apparently will retire sometime soon. They have decided to sell the company to a large health care provider rather than entertain my (and others?) less than generous offers of buying into the business.

Anyway, it's been fun, working for First Choice. They provided the structure and administrative support that I chose in order to save my nights and weekends. Otherwise I rarely heard from them, which was most of the time. They saw no need to micromanage, I'm sure because my clinic consistently delivered the numbers. My clinic performed within the top three of our 12 offices for almost the entire 6 years that I've been there.

And I didn't kill myself doing this. I got exactly what I wanted out of the deal, 40 or 45 hours of steady work per week, a fair salary, and plenty of time for my wife and kids and goofing off with friends.

Just f.y.i.: that free time was spent achieving feats of fun and awesomeness that I would never trade.

We had fun in the clinic - my small staff and hundreds of patients. We got to know each other. The magic to our physical therapy model was that when you don't have to report to investors and loads of middle management...when you DON'T have a huge facility filled with tons of fancy chrome equipment and rehab gadgets, you can make the financials work without cramming 50 patients in-and-out per day.

This minimalist approach allows a PT to give patients his time, care, and attention. You can listen to each other. You have time for a sore shoulder when the script is for knee pain. Excellent physical therapy does not require much more than a head and hands and some basic gear.


My clinic wasn't owned by any medical doctors or health care networks. It wasn't locked into questionable lease arrangements or other kickbacks that ultimately disservice the patient.

I came into this area with nothing, knowing nobody. I showed up at work and at parties and sporting events and fund raisers, usually dragging along 2 or 4 children, because I like these things. I welcomed local high school and college students who were looking for clinical experience. I made genuine friends, invited them to pick-up basketball and flag football and birthday parties and Bible studies and smashed some of them with brutal weight training in my basement.

I didn't do these things because I wanted to market my business, trying to get get more patients and hire more staff in order to open up new clinics and hire more staff. I wanted to be a solid person rooted in the community. THIS community where I live.

I wanted to do them well and do good business, the kind where I can look my past patients (and current neighbors) in the eye when I see them at the grocery store.

I never tried to fool anyone about my unwillingness to take on the task of running my own office. An additional PT office right around here would be overkill. The business side of health care drains me. Instead of going home to read up on Medicare regulations or getting credentialed with local panels, I prefer to spend plenty of time with family and friends. Instead of staying up late doing payroll and human resources, I gain passion and life from reading and trying to write about our bodies and our minds and the human condition.

And this is exactly what helps me to deliver unique perspective and quality care. 

Moving on to exciting opportunities in other locations may mean losing the local connection that's so important to me. Staying put may mean less pay for more work within a healthcare philosophy that I'm not in tune with. Welcome to the real world, Bob.

Is there any room around here for a physical therapist who would like a little administrative support without the micromanagement and red tape?

Is it even okay to be content with making a living, helping a handful of neighbors without building an empire?

Will Select Medical approve our weekly Brusters Thursday treat for our staff and students? 

Is this asking too much?

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