Christine K. Roper, PT

Christine Roper

Christine K. Roper, PT, is the owner of Roper Physical Therapy and Myofascial Release, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Practice, Location: Roper Physical Therapy and Myofascial Release, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Size of practice (# of locations, employees): one office located in historic Dilworth with 9 employees

Years in practice: 16 years

Most influential book: I am an avid reader: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Who Moved My Cheese?, Lean In, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere I can put my toes in the sand

Favorite movie: Pretty Woman and Sound of Music. Most recently: A Star Is Born

How do you like to spend your free time? Watch my college girls play rugby and basketball with my husband of 22 years and giggle with my middle school son. I spend a lot of time reading and at the YMCA exercising.

What do you like most about your job? Every day I get to think outside the box and listen and learn and lead. I get to plan and implement new strategies for growth of my employees, myself, and my business. There is never a dull moment.

What do you like least about your job? The necessary evil, QuickBooks. I have a Minor in Business Administration and I never realized the correlation but I hated accounting classes back in undergrad. I really don’t like this aspect now; however, an owner needs to know the ins and outs of your P&L.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned? To trust. Trust your gut. Trust your intuition. And to have an open mindset for opportunity.

Describe your essential business philosophy: To take care of each employee and provide excellent care to our clients from the minute we answer the phone, email, or the client walks through our door. We build a rapport with our patients, their family and friends to be their “Go to PT”!

Describe your management style: Team oriented. However, that evolved with Jamey Schrier’s (PT) intervention program and book Practice Freedom. His program changed my leadership and management style.

Best way you keep a competitive edge: Ask your patients what they want. Their suggestions lead me to develop great ideas for our company. Take care of yourself and your employees emotionally, physically, and financially. We ask our therapists to be treated once a month by each other. I feel like it is a way to keep the interaction between therapists alive educationally, and they both feel good physically at the end.

How do you measure your success? “Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day.”— Rory Vaden. Success to me is owning a company that every day strives to be its best, both in the atmosphere we work in and the quality of care we deliver. This company started in 2003 with one woman who sought to provide high-quality myofascial release (John Barnes, PT) therapy in a rented room outside the insurance-based payment model. After 16 years, we have grown to 9 talented employees, purchased space in a building, added medical-based therapy yoga and Pilates and educational workshops to become one of the premier independent PT clinics in the Charlotte area. Our clients are referred to us by word of mouth. Our organic growth, both in number of employees and clients over this time period, speaks to our success and to the product we deliver.

Goal yet to be achieved: To continue to build value in the system we have developed at Roper PT to reach as many clients as possible with me as the owner being further removed from day-to-day operations. We have made a huge transition since 2017 when we implemented more systems and teams. I am also extremely interested in telehealth physical therapy medicine. I want to be part of this movement.

Best decision: Just one? I listened to my best friend and husband 16 years ago who upon me asking him if I should open my own practice, responded: “What do you have to lose?”

Worst decision: Staying too long at my original space. I didn’t listen to what was happening around me. I tried to make a place that was no longer functional, functional. And it didn’t work. I was spinning my wheels and wasting my creative time and energy. I should have listened to my gut and got out a year earlier!

Toughest decision: Closing PYTA (Professional Yoga Therapy Approach), a business Lynne Ray, PT, CSCS, PYT, my now clinic director, and I started in 2012. We tried to make a run at having a quality medical therapy–based yoga company profitable. However, there are a ton of yoga studios in Charlotte and we couldn’t get our consumer to pay for our expertise unless they were injured, to make this company profitable as a stand-alone entity. As physical therapists, we wanted to educate; however, the yoga community did not see the value in the product, in this model. Thus, we shut our doors in 2016. We ended up offering the services under Roper PT’s umbrella to continue with our mission, and we have had success.

How do you motivate your employees? They motivate me! We set personal and work goals to address what they want. I try to listen and help them grow their passions. I encourage them to take time at work to take yoga and Pilates classes if they can. I pay therapists to work on each other once a month to encourage shared education and relaxation. I pay for continuing education outside of the clinic. We bring education courses into the clinic. We engage in the community and I pay them to help young women in Girl Scouts learn about STEM, or go to our community breast cancer outreach center to teach about the effects of radiation; we build teams to walk/run in races that support what our patients are going through. We celebrate birthdays and holidays. I bring in lunch or breakfast for them. And finally, I try not to bother them after hours and on the weekends. I save my emails and notes in a draft box until Monday morning.

If you could start over, what would you do differently? I wouldn’t do anything differently. I really feel that I grew as a businesswoman as my business grew with me.

Describe your competitive advantage: We started a concierge cash business 16 years ago when this was not common practice for the physical therapy field. From the beginning, we needed to think outside the box and provide high-quality care for our clients because they were paying cash. We needed to be the highest trained clinicians in our specialty in the area. We spent time and money to achieve this very early on and continued to invest in our education and our business model.

What unique programs do you offer that set you apart from the competition? We offer specialty classes once a month. Each therapist rotates and chooses a subject to present. We utilize our skills as the muscle-skeletal experts of the medical profession to assist our clients in furthering their wellness path. We use the classes to build our client base and offer anyone new to our clinic a free 30-minute posture screen. Typically, we build trust with this offer and are able to build a relationship with this client. We also offer medical-based yoga in small classes and private sessions taught by a PT. Our yoga therapists are trained by Ginger Garner, PT, DPT, ATC/L, PYT, and have a combined total of more than 1,500 hours of training in medical therapeutic yoga. We also brought Pilates in house about a year ago.

What are the benefits of PPS membership to your practice? To be part of the bigger presence in education, advocacy, and leadership. When you are an owner, it can be a lonely world. PPS gives me the opportunity to explore different ideas, theories on how to run my business through experience shares from other members both online and in the journals, like Impact magazine.

What worries you about the future of private practice? I am part of a group of amazing private practice owners in the NC and SC region called Independent Practicing Physical Therapists (IPPT). As I hear them speak, there is continued fight against large hospital-based systems acquiring contracts with insurance companies at an unfair advantage. The continued interesting part for me is the “nonprofit status of these systems” that allows them to buy property and engulf small medical providers while providing less choice for the consumer on who they can receive PT from. We need to continue to fight for transparency of cost at the centers and quality of health care together regardless of whether we run a cash-based business or accept insurance.

What are you optimistic about? At Roper PT, I love my team, they are innovative and passionate about the care they give. When you have a team that gels and works together you can’t help but be successful. As far as PT as a field, I am hopeful there is more transparency in the cost of health care. I do feel there is NO other consumer service that you don’t know upfront as a consumer what it is going to cost you for care. I am hoping that we end this.

What are your goals for the next year?

  • Implement a prenatal/postpartum medical therapeutic yoga program
  • Implement a dry needling program
  • Explore with potential to implement telehealth physical therapy program with our corporate contracts
  • Support the community with education and volunteer work regarding a healthy lifestyle
  • Develop a program within the Pentagon of Wellness targeting those affected by opioid addiction

What do private practitioners need to do to thrive in today’s health care environment? That is a loaded question. I think we all need to educate the public and deliver on services to our prospective client. I think we continue to give our profession away to personal trainers and life coaches. We need to keep the value in the services that we provide.

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