Ron Masri, PT, DPT, ATC
Ron Masri, PT, DPT, ATC, is the founder and owner of Total Motion Physical Therapy, LLC, in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford, Virginia.
Practice Location: New River Valley: Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford, Virginia
Size of practice (# of locations, employees): 3 locations, 14 employees (7 PTs)
Years in practice: 23 (9 years as a practice owner)
Most influential book: Small Business, Big Life: Five Steps to Creating a Great Life with Your Own Small Business by Louis Barajas. The book is focused on how to have a small business that allows you to live your life and enjoy your family, working on your business not in your business.
Favorite vacation spot: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Favorite movie: The Usual Suspects
How do you like to spend your free time? I like to spend time with my family and I exercise on a regular basis. On vacation, I like to put work aside and just focus on family. I also like playing chess. Recently, I started to try to do 30 minutes of meditation to use that time to regenerate both personally and professionally.
What do you like most about your job? The ability to build a relationship with your patient. It’s rewarding when you are out in the community and run into your patients telling you how great they are doing. You end up making friends with your patients. We have a saying in our office that says “Enter as a stranger, leave as our friends.”
What do you like least about your job? The rhythm and burden of documentation. You try to be the best you can but it is a burden. Finding the best EMR [electronic medical record]is also a challenge. As well as the trials and tribulations of maintaining compliance of documentation. It’s not getting better!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned? Surround yourself with the right mentors, be able to learn from their mistakes, and don’t make the same mistake twice. Build an amazing team around you that shares the same values so that everyone is working toward the same goal and strategic plan. Be sure that everyone is on board with the mission, vision, and values of your company.
Describe your essential business philosophy: At the beginning, I was more of a micromanager. Over time I have realized I need to step back and put people in positions that play to their strengths. Now, I position people to their strengths and fill in the voids where I feel there are weaknesses.
Describe your management style: I’m a “buck stops here” kind of guy. I’ll let you go along and do your due diligence and do the things that are expected of you. At some point I’m going to make the decisions that need to be made for the company. I like to look at everything and collaborate but will ultimately make the decision that is in the best interest of the business.
Best way you keep a competitive edge: The team that I’ve built around me. The culture that we have built in our company. We provide unprecedented customer service with a great staff that believes in a mission and vision. Everyone talks about the Marriott and Disney experience in health care. We want to be above and beyond and you need to have the right people on board who can provide that experience.
How do you measure your success? When our marketer goes out into the community and people come up to her and say, wow, you guys have something special going on there. We have many prominent figures in our community that come to see us based on our brand and word of mouth. I think our success is based, in part, on the retention of our staff and our growth over the past nine years. I’m really happy with the word-of-mouth reputation we have developed in our community.
Goal yet to be achieved: My biggest goal is trying to continually create value in our community. I want to develop more of the preventative population health management side of things and show how physical therapists can be in the forefront or the gatekeeper for musculoskeletal conditions. I hope some time in my lifetime we will receive prescriptions from physicians that say “exercise” instead of “take narcotics.”
Best and worst decisions: Best: Going into business for myself. Being able to to take the good from everything that I learned and make it better for our employees and customers. Worst: Not going into business for myself sooner. God always has a plan for things, but I just wish that I would have looked at doing it earlier in my career. We have been blessed with being able to cash flow each of our new offices so being debt free is definitely a benefit.
Toughest decision: You really have to be diligent with billing and making sure that things are getting paid on time so you can still meet payroll and then go out and spread your wings to offer this unbelievable service to another area. We had some struggles initially when we opened our third office but we did fine and the company is debt free!
How do you motivate your employees? When employees first sign on with us, we communicate that we value you as a physical therapist and the experience and expertise you bring to us. We value lifelong learning. We give our employees different options to develop such as residency, fellowship, and/or board certification. This approach continually drafts clinical excellence. All of this helps us to enhance our outcomes and become the premier physical therapy clinic in our area. We offer employee development opportunities for all of our employees, from clinician to front office.
Describe your marketing strategy and your most successful action: We have a jingle. I have a friend in radio that helped me develop a jingle that we have used in radio ads to promote our practice about 5 years ago. Radio commercials have really helped to increase the visibility of our practice. Being involved and invested in our communities has helped to increase the awareness of our practice.
What are the benefits of PPS membership to your practice? Networking! I appreciate the connections I have made with PPS. I was an early participant in the Peer2Peer program. The friendships and connections I made with my Peer2Peer group are special and have provided me with a lot of resources to help my practice.
What worries you about the future of private practice? We are having an issue establishing what value-based care is in our profession. We need a common message that we can take to insurance companies to establish our value. We all have an understanding of value-based medicine. It is really important for us moving forward to establish ourselves in the health care environment with a common language to best communicate our value.
What are you optimistic about? It’s advantageous to be in outpatient care because there are always new injuries and people recovering from surgeries. Our biggest opportunity lies in getting more involved in health, wellness promotion, and population health management. That is where the greatest impact is going to be in your community in terms of lowering the cost of health care in the future. We are also very well tooled with the resources to tackle patients with chronic pain and helping them to choose interventions other than drugs. I just hope we rise to the occasion when that time comes.
What do private practitioners need to do to thrive in today’s health care environment? We need to continue to build bridges with other health care providers. We have to stop thinking in silos and that we can cure and heal everything. You need to have a team. We have to create communication with our health care team and ensure everyone understands their role on the team. We need to get rid of turf battles and concentrate on the most important thing, the patient!