Take us back to the beginning. How did your business start? When was it? How did you get involved and/or start it?
I grew up as an avid baseball fan and athlete in the Midwest, and I wanted to be connected to baseball in my career. I quickly realized that I would not play at the professional level, though after receiving a full-ride scholarship to the University of Missouri, I walked-on to the Missouri baseball team, and was able to make several rounds of trials. Yet, I was ultimately cut from the team – a favor that I could never repay because it gave me the opportunity to pursue physical therapy (PT) at local clinics and hospitals. As I learned more about the profession, I became more fascinated with the brain, and recognized that my own grandfather, who had a stroke when I was 15, could have been helped by PT. I have not veered from this career since my baseball days ended and remain passionate in helping all people attain a greater quality of life, through my knowledge, skills and great team at Northwest Rehabilitation Associates.
After moving to Salem at the insistence of my great friend, Dennie Brooks, who led Salem Hospital's rehabilitation program. I worked at Salem Health for 11 years until 2004, when it was time for me to move on and advance my vision of physical therapy practice, opening Northwest Rehabilitation Associates in 2004, with patient care starting in March 2005.
What is something, a saying or quote, that you live by, and how has it impacted your business?
I am full of neologisms (created words), phrases, and mottos because I am always thinking and creating. One thing that has persisted is the mantra that my children and associates have heard thousands of times, "Do the Right Thing." I strive to set an example to do the right thing, no matter how difficult, for my employees, patients, caregivers and medical colleagues.
Another phrase that I state aloud, is a self-challenge, to "exceed expectations." I often hear from patients that I am the best therapist in town. While that is an incredible compliment, my first reaction is to say something along the lines of, "I am going to take your high expectations of me and will challenge myself to exceed these expectations." I can always try harder and do better.
What are some of your passions? How do they fuel you every day?
1. Exceeding expectations of others.
2. Timely, transparent communication.
3. Changing someone's brain: in recovery, in new learning (athletics or otherwise), and in self-esteem.
What are some difficulties that you face in your industry?
Some of the most burdensome challenges that we face are the costs of providing excellent healthcare that meets or exceeds our standards. The cost of doing business continues to go up, and the rates that we are paid largely stay level. The cost of time to obtain authorization, enter data, submit a bill, work with insurance and collect on that bill with a complex payer system – all of these accumulate and are daily business challenges for NWRA.
What are some of your company's exciting updates or news that you'd like to share with Salem Area Chamber members?
We are proud to bring another "first of its kind" program to Salem – our regionally-recognized Heathy Aging and Neurology center that is modeled throughout the nation. In July, we expect to open the doors to our new sport performance, injury prevention, and multidisciplinary program known as The Re__Building. The program will be aptly named as a place where "Re__Building" happens, for each person, as their needs and goals demand.
What are your goals for Chamber membership?
NWRA is among the best kept secrets in town. We advertise with word of mouth through excellent service. The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce can really only serve us as well as we serve Chamber members.
If you could say one thing to the Salem community about your business, what would it be?
We are a very different healthcare experience. Most people still do not know what physical therapists can do for movement analysis, injury recovery, fitness, balance, vertigo, neuroplasticity (stroke, Parkinson's disease, brain injury, spinal cord injury, concussion), and/or dizziness. We surprise people every day by the comprehensive services we offer. Many patients come back to see us for a different problem years later, asking for the same therapist that they saw, because of these relationships - consistent care at each visit keeps us efficiently using the healthcare dollar - and most importantly - the patient's time.
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