Brandi Kirk, PT, PRPC, CVTP
Brandi Kirk, PT, PRPC, CVTP, is the owner of Kirk Center for Healthy Living in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and Lockport, Illinois; and Kirk Integrative Physical Therapy in Lockport, Illinois. She can be reached at Brandi@KC4HL.com or www.KC4HL.com.
Practice Name: Kirk Center for Healthy Living and Kirk Integrative Physical Therapy
Practice, Location: Oak Lawn, Illinois, and Lockport, Illinois
Size of practice (# of locations, employees): 2 locations, 15 employees
Years in practice: 21 years total in physical therapy, 10 years in private practice
How did your practice start? I started Kirk Center for Healthy Living 10 years ago for the treatment of women’s and men’s health and pelvic conditions. At that time I was frustrated with the lack of quality of care that I saw in our industry and felt that physical therapists were not getting the specialized training they deserved. I felt like the emphasis was all on numbers instead of people. While my center addressed these concerns, in the last two years another problem surfaced. Due to my role as the owner and my growing reputation as an instructor for Herman and Wallace, and Barral Institute, most of our referrals came directly to me. I consistently had waiting lists for patients on my full schedule while my staff sat idle. To address this, at the start of 2017 I created Kirk Integrative Physical Therapy, a fee-for-service company, with myself as the only practitioner. Patients are now able to choose if they want to continue using their insurance and see another therapist within Kirk Center for Healthy Living, or switch to private pay and see me through Kirk Integrative Physical Therapy. Patients do not feel abandoned because they have a choice for care. This has allowed the waiting list to be manageable, and schedules are full.
What’s the physical layout? The Oak Lawn site has one room that we rent out of Women’s Health Institute of Illinois. We see patients from all referral sources in that office. Billing and scheduling goes through my Lockport office.
The Lockport site has a waiting room, reception space, four treatment rooms, a massage room, one reflexology room, one crystal bed room, and two treatment rooms for rent and a multipurpose space. The multipurpose space is utilized for Integrative Somatic Psychotherapy, public talks, continuing education classes, dream-board classes, yoga, meditation, and support groups. Anyone can use this space for free if they are just doing a support group or public talk with no charge for attendees. It’s a win-win situation since my clinic gets more visibility, patients get access to services, and people using the room get a free space. If the presenter charges an admission fee, an hourly rental fee is imposed.
How did you start as a specialty center and how have you evolved? I was told years ago that I couldn’t make a practice out of only treating pelvic dysfunction. My advisors felt that I could not produce sufficient revenue as this type of treatment is time consuming and referral sources are scarce. I believe in always following your heart! I ignored everyone and 10 years later am successfully in an expanded practice. I started as a solo practitioner renting one room, and now there are four therapists, in addition to me, in a large specialty practice. We treat approximately 90-100 patients a week. We spend one hour with our patients one-on-one in a private treatment room, so our ability to generate revenue is definitely more limited than a typical clinic. But quality overtakes quantity as both our patients and therapists express satisfaction.
We treat men, women, and children for pelvic/gastrointestinal dysfunctions. Lately, we’ve started expanding our scope to include patients with failures in “traditional” therapy. We are considered “nontraditional” as we focus on internal vaginal/internal rectal techniques, visceral manipulation, neuromanipulation, vascular manipulation, manual articular, and functional exercises. Basically, we are a manual therapy–based clinic. I’ve found the following works with our patients: internal work from Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, manual therapy from Barral Institute, and functional exercises from the Institute of Physical Art.
How do you believe a private practitioner can compete with corporate companies?You can’t! There’s no way for an individual with limited resources to outmarket a corporate company. You can focus on your company: Make it the best it can be! I can’t offer my staff the salaries that corporations are offering. What I can do is offer them something more valuable in giving directed mentorship and support. They each get one hour per week training with me. It’s unpaid, but the clinic sacrifices two patient treatments for every training hour, so it’s a mutual sacrifice for therapists and the clinic. I believe that it is well worth it! Therapists are appreciative and their skill set improves, which in turn helps the clinic’s reputation. Two therapists are teaching assistants for Herman and Wallace; one therapist is a teaching assistant for Barral Institute. This is proof of the high skill set that is being developed. We also rely on patients’ satisfaction for word-of-mouth. We need to remember why we opened our private practices . . . to make the world a better place!