Good Things Happen to Good Clinics
As reimbursement becomes a challenge and profits are tight, the decision to support community efforts often becomes one of the first budget cuts.
Bob Worden, PTA, ATC, MS, MBA, CAGS
Looking back on our first decade as a clinic, Pinnacle Physical Therapy (a member of the Pinnacle Rehabilitation Network), we can say, “Good things happen to good clinics.” Surviving the infiltration of hospital- and physician-owned clinics in our community has been challenging. Maintaining our patient volume with a volatile physician-referral base has required a steadfast commitment to our guiding principles.
The purpose of all businesses is to make a profit. Without that centerpiece, any underlying philosophy cannot be achieved. Experiencing constant changes in the marketplace further strengthened our position that the two most important areas of focus should be on clinical excellence and our community.
Evidence-based practice and manual skill development have been the mainstays of the course development for our physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. We are fortunate to have a strong APTA chapter in New Hampshire, offering a robust continuing education program. Additionally, our proximity to Boston hospitals gives us the opportunity to participate in the best of offerings in contemporary orthopedic practices. This supports us in achieving the triple aim philosophy of positive outcomes, low-cost care, and high patient satisfaction.
By reinvesting in our community, consistently providing personalized care, and marketing through our patients, we have a return-to-clinic rate of 70 percent. Our philosophy of giving back to our patients maintains our visibility in the community and is based on the mantra, “You can’t keep what you have without giving it away.”
Like most businesses, we are asked to financially support the needs of a wide variety of community activities. These interests run the gamut and include school programs, youth sports, elderly affairs, library programs, historical societies, scholarship drives, and sponsorships for patient walks or runs for charity. We always welcome these opportunities and readily participate.
In order to strengthen our mission of working with the community, we had to determine which organizations to target. As a clinic, we identified working volunteer organizations that effectively utilize funding for those citizens that had the greatest needs. We committed to the Lions Clubs, the Knights of Columbus, the Community Food Pantry, Camp Pride, and the Plaistow Area Commerce Exchange (Chamber of Commerce). Developing a clear focus of organizations has allowed us to maximize our community contributions.
We have several spring and summer activities to start the annual campaign. Brad Thuringer’s APTA Shoes for Kids at the annual House of Delegates is important to us and remains one of our profession’s most remarkable efforts and members of the Pinnacle Rehabilitation Network participate in the drive. We provide sponsorships for three local golf tournaments sponsored by the Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus of Plaistow and Atkinson, New Hampshire, which gives our charities a great launching pad for major fundraising. Many of our physicians and patients participate.
In the fall and winter, we prepare for our annual holiday celebration, which supports all of our core charities. Over 200 guests are invited to Zorvino’s Vineyards, including local elected officials and state representatives (as part of our advocacy efforts). Charity volunteers, as well as providers and patients, especially our elderly patients who benefit from support, are invited to the event. Attendees are asked to bring cash cards or food donations for the food pantry. Donations for our Camp Pride Scholarship are welcomed. Camp Pride is run by the Lions Club of New Hampshire and provides summer experiences for inner city children with diabetes.
During the event, we highlight the accomplishments of the charitable organizations, which are announced by the physicians in our community. Our state representatives present the Pinnacle Physical Therapy Community Service and Patient Achievement Awards. A local band provides music during the function, a breakfast buffet is served, and attendees enjoy a show from some of Boston’s top comedians.
Over the past 10 years, the event has raised more than $175,000 in food and cash contributions to the food pantry and $12,000 in scholarships for Camp Pride. Two days prior to the event, we and the physician sponsors co-host a holiday mixer with the Chamber of Commerce involving 150 business members, who collect food at their places of business. This brings together our entire community.
Physical therapy goes beyond the walls of the clinic. Social responsibility plays an important role in the community, which has enhanced our viability as a health care provider. The community has reciprocated by supporting our services and recognizing our contributions. Several awards have been presented, including my being named Businessman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce, receiving several awards by the Lions of New Hampshire, including being named a Granite State Fellow, and being named an honorary director for the board of Camp Pride. Most recently, the athletic fields at Camp Pride were renamed The Pinnacle Field Complex after Pinnacle Physical Therapy.
Much credit is due to my partners Karen Natario, Barbara St. Jean, Eric Combs, and my former Partner Leigh Boyle. It is important to keep in mind the words Drew Bossen stated during his Discus award acceptance speech, “Things we do for the greater community. Not because we want to be in the spotlight or the recognition. We do it because it is the right thing to do. It turns into our mission. It becomes our passion.”
Our commitment to staff education and giving back to our community has proven that good things happen to good clinics, and we challenge each of our colleagues to follow this path.
Bob Worden, MS, MBA, CAGS, PTA, ATC is a Partner and Administrator at Pinnacle Physical Therapy in Plaistow, New Hampshire and Partner in the Pinnacle Rehabilitation Network. He also serves as a practice management consultant. He is a member of the NH APTA Board of Directors, President of the NHPT PAC and member of the Legislative Committee. For further information he can be reached at Bob@pinnaclerehab.net.