Dan Lombardi, PT, DPT
Dan Lombardi, PT, DPT, is a PPS member and owner of Somersworth Physical Therapy in Somersworth, New Hampshire. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Practice, Location: Somersworth, New Hampshire. One clinic, three employees, and six years in practice.
What were the most influential events that enhanced your professional career and a brief description of why? One of the most influential events occurred while I was taking a dry-needling continuing education course. The instructors were not just going through the motions, but were also really pushing the attendees to be truly concerned about why we were performing a specific treatment and what the expected outcome for that specific intervention might be. I started to take a look at my overall treatment philosophy and realized that I had started to get into a rut where some of my treatments were becoming more “cookie cutter,” and that I was not always asking myself why and what with regard to treatment selection and desired outcomes. I went to the course to learn dry-needling techniques, but left with a better overall approach to patient care.
Describe the flow of your average day. Do you treat patients and how many hours a day/week? Our clinic books patients in half our blocks. As the managing partner of the clinic, I spend roughly 36 hours a week in direct patient care and then I try to leave one full day per week for marketing, emails, and other management tasks.
How would you describe your essential business philosophy? I drive my team to make sure that every patient leaves our practice healthier, stronger, and knowing that we are here for them any time they have an ache, pain, or even if they are just looking for advice. A happy former patient can be one of your best future referral sources.
How do you motivate your employees? Leading by example is my main goal to keep everyone motivated. If I am working right alongside them, making sure my treatments are top notch, but also staying on top of my documentation it sets a good tone. At the same time, I like to keep a light, entertaining atmosphere. Work is more enjoyable when you deliver top notch care and have some fun at the same time.
How did you get your start in private practice? From the time I started physical therapy school I had a 5-year plan to own my own practice. My first two years out of school I worked for a clinic owner who shared similar private practice philosophies which turned out to be a great mentoring experience. At the end of my second year I learned of an opportunity that would allow me to start my own private practice, so I jumped at the chance . . . and I have not looked back since.
How do you stay ahead of the competition? You always need to be looking forward and evolve with your market. I have a heavy saturation of hospital-based primary care offices in my area. These practices strongly encourage their patients to seek services at their affiliated hospital-based physical therapy practices. To combat this, I have used direct access to my advantage. I regularly spend time doing direct marketing to the public: giving talks to local groups for running, injury prevention, and other topics. I make sure that I convey a strong message about the patient’s right to choose where they receive physical therapy. This has led to many referrals for my practice—referrals that I would probably never have received without the community marketing efforts.
What are your best learning experience/s (mistakes) since inception of your practice? I once had a patient who was referred to me by their podiatrist. After working with the patient for a couple weeks, I made a custom pair of orthotics for them. The next week, I received a call from the referring podiatrist yelling at me that they were the foot specialists and who was I to make their patient custom orthotics. Needless to say, I never saw another patient from that doctor again, and I learned a valuable lesson.
What are the benefits of PPS membership to your practice? Having a resource that I can go to get valuable information related to programming, reimbursement, marketing, and legislation that can affect my practice. I get to access content from all over the country and see how things work—or do not work—in other markets.
What is your life motto? My motto is work hard and play hard. I am either working hard at the office or out having fun with my wife and two children.
What worries you about the future of private practice/what you are optimistic about In my market? My greatest worry is the expansion of hospital ownership of primary care and orthopedic practices that are forced to refer their patients within a network. I have loyal patients who describe how difficult their doctors make it to get a physical therapy referral to a nonhospital physical therapy office.
What new opportunities do you plan to pursue in the next year? I plan on doing more talks to the community in hopes to brand my clinic and physical therapy in general. I think the general public still does not understand the value of a good physical therapist. I want people to realize that we can help them avoid surgery, save on unnecessary health care costs, and help keep them healthy and doing what they love to do.