Tom Bates, PT

Tom Bates, PT, is the owner of Therapy Staffing and Outpatient Therapy Clinics in southeast Idaho. He can be reached at

Practice and location: Therapy Staffing and Outpatient Therapy Clinics, southeast Idaho

Practice specifics: Tom Bates has been practicing physical therapy for 17 years and today has seven separate locations varying from outpatient clinics, hospital-based contracts, and school contracts with 50 plus employees.

What or who is the most influential person/book/event? Without a doubt it would be my wife, Theresa. She has been a constant support and her dedication to our family through her role as a mother and spouse has allowed me to succeed many times over. I also am currently reading a book about the leadership philosophy of Bill Walsh. It has fantastic insight into how to be a highly successful leader with easily transferable tips for any business.

What is your average day like? There is no average day. I currently see patients in a couple of our outpatient settings three days a week and work on corporate issues one to two days a week. With as many different locations and types of therapy settings that the company is involved in, each day is somewhat unpredictable.

What is your business philosophy? My business philosophy has continued to transform over the years, but there are some constants that I feel are crucial to my success. I almost never say no. When physicians and patients made requests, our company tried to find a way to get it done. This built trust and reliability. I involve the patient as much as possible. The more invested and involved a patient is in the point of contact the more effort they expend. Have fun! Injuries stink, rehab should not. Uplift and laugh with your patients. I believe it is one of my best tools.

How did you start your practice? My first foray into private practice was with a fellow graduate and a company that invested in us. After a few years we split up assets and ventured out on our own. This has morphed into opportunities to contract with hospitals, schools, and outpatient clinics. Over the years, I feel the most important lessons I have learned are that there are some extremely bright individuals who work hard to be successful. Many of those people are members of the Private Practice Section (PPS) and are really willing to share philosophy, concepts, and tips on building a better business with you. You can read books and go to lots of courses, but if you want to be truly successful in private practice, join PPS and be involved. You are not on an island with unique challenges that no one else experiences. It will transform your practice, guaranteed.

What is your life motto: If you want it, go get it. If you are passionate about something, you most likely enjoy doing it and if you enjoy doing it, you will be better than the next person at that task. Life is simply too short to spend it doing something you do not enjoy.

What worries or excites you about the future of private practice? I do not worry about the future. I just look at contingency plans for every possible event. If you strategically plan for future possibilities and decide now what you will do in the heat of the moment you are going to make better decisions and are far less likely to fail. The things I see on the horizon are outcome-based reimbursement and cash-pay patients due to rising copays and deductibles.

What are new opportunities you see? Aggressively expanding our pediatric footprint. My wife and I want to leave a legacy in the form of a family-centered pediatric facility that gives back to the community, which has supported us in many ways.

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