Bob Worden, PTA, ATC, MBA, MS, CAGS
Bob Worden, PTA, ATC, MBA, MS, CAGS, is the Senior Partner of Pinnacle Physical Therapy in Plaistow, NH, and is a Partner in the Pinnacle Rehabiliation Network. He can be reached at Bob@Pinnaclerehab.net.
Practice Location: Pinnacle Physical Therapy, Plaistow, New Hampshire
Who is the most influential person that enhanced your professional career? My high school athletic trainer, George Jessup, took me under his wing from 1969 to 71 as his student athletic trainer. He inspired me into my lifelong career in sports medicine. He taught me the balance of intellectual curiosity, family, friendship, fun, and hard work. Foremost, never being afraid to admit what you do not know and to research the answer.
What is your favorite book? How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Demonstrating honest and sincere appreciation and being genuinely interested in other people are lessons entrenched in my daily life.
What is the average flow of your day? Every day, I prepare for and treat a full patient load. Managing the business within the style of the one-minute manager rules and managing by walking through the practice allows me to keep up with the daily clinic tasks, community activities, and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) involvement. Every day ends with a call to my wife and three adult children to help keep the train running on the tracks.
What is your business philosophy? First, we market our practice through each and every patient by providing evidence-based individual physical therapy. Paying attention to the patients’ physical, psychological, and social needs is critical to that end. Marketing our physicians through our patients has given us an incredible growth and retention rate. Developing strong intrapersonal relationships with our patients and stressing our role as their primary care musculoskeletal specialist for life is our mantra. We always want to be the first call to service any orthopedic needs.
Second, we believe you cannot keep what you have unless you give away what you have! We spend considerable resources to support community programs. Sponsoring school activities, sports programs, the Lions Clubs, Knights of Columbus, the senior center, the local food pantry, Wounded Warriors, Coupons for Military Families, the Chamber of Commerce, and The New Hampshire Lions Camp Pride for special needs children with diabetes are our focal community organizations. This has graced our reputation as a socially responsible member of the business community.
What is your business motto? The harder you work, the luckier you get! If you have fun at work, you never work.
What have been your best learning experiences since the inception of your practice? Being an active member of the New Hampshire American Physical Therapy Association (NHAPTA) Board of Directors, Legislative Committee, and New Hampshire Physical Therapy (NHPT) Political Action Committee cofounder has given me great insight into APTA, knowing resources and furthering my belief that change is possible through involvement. New Hampshire is a state that proves the adage that all politics are local. My three years of service on the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Models of Service Delivery Task Force was an incredible experience. Sitting at the table with the best in our profession was instructive and powerfully inspiring.
What are the benefits of being a Private Practice Section (PPS) member? Having incredible resources and educational opportunities has helped guide our practice through the ever-changing health care environment.
How do you motivate employees? Each practice owner is truly a human resources director. You need to keep every employee’s life balance as a priority. Family should always come first. Reward measurable positive performance generously and lead by example. Patient care should be fun. When it is not, then it is time to reassess. Often the easiest solution is time off to recharge.
What have been some of your best and most difficult decisions? Joining the Pinnacle Rehabilitation Network as an affiliate LLC member was my best career move. It allowed me to focus less on management and dedicate our team energy to patient care. Choosing my clinical partners Barbara St. Jean, PT, DPT, and Eric Combs, PT, MSPT, who manage the clinical practice, provides balance to management. We added Zac Blais, physical therapy assistant, to our staff allowing us to implement many of the models of service delivery task force recommendations, and this has given us a seamless team approach to patient care.
The toughest decision was removing a failing employee. In spite of the painful nature of this process, learning that addition by subtraction was a valuable lesson.
What worries you about the future of private practice? The triple aim philosophy of delivering the lowest cost physical therapy services, positive outcomes, and high patient satisfaction may not pay the dividends in patient market share it should. We are seeing take it or leave it unfair contracts without negotiation. Intermediaries skimming off clinical reimbursement by discouraging care with unnecessary burdensome administrative work and unfair denials. Hospitals and insurers teaming to collect patient insurance premiums in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) arrangement may preclude private practice referrals. It is troubling when our cost for services is often one-third of that arrangement.
I am hopeful evidence-based manual therapy performed cost effectively will prevail. Educating the public and legislating consumer protection laws will allow us to compete on a level playing field.
What are new opportunities planned for this year? We will continue to generate new relationships with our expanding patient base, extend a new relationship with a new Young Men’s Christian Association YMCA (or Y) in our town while continuing to focus on developing further manual therapeutic interventions.