Tassie Cantrell, PT

Tassie Cantrell, PT, is the owner of Cantrell Center for Physical Therapy & Wellness.

Practice, Location: Warner Robins, Georgia

Practice specifics: One location; 45 Employees; Opened 1992

What was the most influential event that enhanced your professional career and why? The event that enhanced my professional career the most was being able to open a practice with my husband, Mike Cantrell. Having our practice has given me the liberty to practice physical therapy the way I knew it needed to be done. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to enhance and change people’s lives. I am blessed to get to do this every single day with a team of unique, like-minded individuals.

Do you treat patients and how many hours a day/week? Currently (and unfortunately), I am not seeing patients except on an “as-needed” basis. Our one facility has eight physical therapists and five physical therapist assistants. I am here 40 plus hours per week. My primary focus as chief executive officer is overseeing the internal operations of our facility to make sure that the practice stays pure to the original mission and vision Mike and I had when we opened the practice. The internal operations include clinical practice and wellness, administration, insurance, legal, financial, and marketing.

How would you describe your essential business philosophy? Be the best you can be. Give people more than they think they will get. Never stop learning and developing ways to do more and be better.

What have been your best, worst, and toughest decisions? The best was opening the practice. The toughest decision was whether or not to build our new facility. We rented a space for the first 12 years of our practice and expanded four times. We couldn’t expand any more and had to decide to build or purchase an existing location. We took the plunge and built the Cantrell Center in 2004.

How do you motivate your employees? We try to do fun things with our employees from time to time, but I think Zig Ziglar said it best: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” I hope motivation comes from employees knowing that we care about them. Our employees are the best thing about our practice. They are extensions of Mike and I and how we want this practice run. We are extremely fortunate to have wonderful, talented, ethical people work with us. I think (hope) they know how important they are to us and that we care about them. I try to live that daily.

How did you get your start in private practice? I worked at Emory University right out of graduate school, and it was a teaching hospitals. You could really take the time you needed with patients. This model really dovetailed with my education, and I wanted to be able to have a patient walk in off the street and be able to see them and treat them for what they needed. I didn’t know if I could do that in a private practice, but that was what we set out to do together. You certainly do have to pay your bills and have a certain level of productivity, but there is a balance, and we strive to find that and give our patients the very best care we can.

How do you stay ahead of the competition? I’ve never really wanted to compete with others—just against myself. I love the idea of developing niches that are unique to us. By doing this, we distinguish ourselves from other practices. We set our own bar to achieve and surpass. Once this is accomplished, we set a new bar to achieve and we are off to the races again.

What were your best learning experience/s (mistakes) since the inception of your practice? I used to want to micromanage everything. I wanted perfection 100 percent of the time. What I have learned is that I am not perfect, and I have a lot of smart people who work for me!

What are the benefits of PPS membership to your practice? I have utilized PPS as a resource for information and have been able to connect with colleagues regarding questions on billing/documentation software. I also appreciate any representation we have on political issues that impacts the profession and the patients we serve.

What is your life motto? The journey is the reward.

What worries you about the future of private practice/what are you optimistic about? I am both concerned and optimistic about the continued reduction in payment for physical therapy and other services. As our current model of payment continues to change, we must figure out how to survive and how to continue to make physical therapy services accessible to those who need and want it!

What are new opportunities you plan to pursue in the next year? Further development of Postural Restoration programs within our practice. We are currently the only facility certified in Postural Restoration in Georgia!

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