Secret Sauce Nuggets — An Interview with a Practice Owner

By Eileen Rodri Carter, PT, DPT, MBA

Lisa Mackell, MPT, and a member of the Impact Editorial Board, posed some questions to Eileen Rodri Carter, PT, DPT, MBA, owner and president of Comprehensive Rehab in North Carolina. Successful practices often have a “secret sauce” that makes their company stand out, gives them an edge, and is the reason patients and clients choose their practice over others.

Mackell: Eileen, if you had to pick one nugget of knowledge that you feel made a big difference in your success as a practice owner, what would that be?

Rodri Carter: LISTEN and COMMUNICATE with your work family members. You do not necessarily need to act immediately on the suggestions or requests offered by the work family member. Do your homework and provide transparency with your communication. I believe in the good of all and hope that is shown in my actions of listening and communication. If you provide the climate that the work family member is comfortable to discuss patient care, issues/interactions with another staff member, communication with referral sources, positive feedback about their interventions and POC, you already have success. I believe in taking care of our work family members and hope that I have always provided the climate to allow for listening and communicating to allow for success.

Mackell: How have you been able to help your team work together, in times when you have been faced with challenges in your practice?

Rodri Carter: We were recently faced with the effects of the pandemic and we held numerous meetings virtually and in person to ensure that we provided a safe environment for our work family and clients. We collaborated and worked together as a team both in the clinic and the home health environment especially if the visits were low or someone was out sick with COVID-19. We had continuous and healthy communications about updates and issues or changes.

Mackell: What business financial information, your success secrets, have you decided to share with your staff, and what do you keep confidential?

Rodri Carter: We have a very confidential rule about hourly, per visit rates and salaries. We provide a summary of the financial stability of the company, or instability, if necessary. We have a mixture of diverse reimbursements for our work family: hourly, per visit, and salary. We have a minimal visit standard that was voted on by the work family that is both fair to the company and the work family member. We have a mixture of contract visits, clinic and virtual visits as allowed by third party or federal guidelines. We also ensure efficiency with fair scheduling. We are consistent with monthly meetings and full staff meetings every other month with a generous sprinkle of fun with paid celebrations. We attempt to demonstrate the grateful attitude that is in our special sauce.

Mackell: What do you think is the special sauce that attracts new staff to your practice?

Rodri Carter: A comprehensive mixture of kindness, healthy boundaries, consistency in communication, a healthy dose of healthy support for the work family and clients, a grateful attitude for all clients internal & external and a welcoming spirit to all.

Do you think your practice has a “secret sauce,” or multiple sauces? How often do you think about what makes your practice stand out to clients, physicians, or your community? We challenge you to spend a few minutes each week or month thinking about this and perfecting your company’s “secret sauce.”

Eileen Rodri Carter, PT, DPT, MBA is the owner and President of Comprehensive Rehab in North Carolina and a very actively involved PPS member.

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