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Just over five years ago, three physical therapists in Woodinville, Washington, came together under the umbrella of a single concept: patient-centered PT.

Full, hour-long appointments. No aids or assistants. No concern with patient volume. No rush. Just three physical therapists—MaryBeth Ackerman, Andy Lodato and Bret Swigard—providing one-on-one patient care in a clinic built around client empowerment.

That vision took the leap into reality in July of 2007 with the opening of PhysioCare Physical Therapy. And the concept worked.

Now seven PTs strong, PhysioCare’s reputation for excellence in the Woodinville area (northwest of Seattle) led to a tremendous expansion in their referral sources—including word-of-mouth among patients—resulting in the recent expansion of its facility.

I recently asked co-founder Andy Lodato (MPT, CMPT, c.MDT)  a few questions about PhysioCare, its people and successes, and he was kind enough to share the following interview with The Healthcare Entrepreneur readers. Enjoy!

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Ben, Vantage Clinical Solutions (VCS): Looks like PhysioCare’s going to celebrate its five-year anniversary this summer. Tell us about how the practice transitioned from the vision of the three original founders to one that boasts a staff of seven physical therapists.

Andy Lodato (AL): We bought the clinic from a single PT who was ready to retire from practice. The area was ripe for growth as patients were looking for a clinic providing quality care in Woodinville. We wanted our clinic to focus on quality and less on volume. We focused on one-hour appointments with a PT only, which was something not currently being done in Woodinville.

VCS: What do you attribute to the demand that led to your growth from three to seven PTs?

AL: No doubt our growth came from the passion of the owners and about physical therapy and their patients’ well-being—our one-on-one, client-centered approach. Patients could feel our sincere passion for their success, and we were rewarded when they spread the word to their providers. We had a referral base around a neighboring hospital, and they fed us quite a few patients. The big jump in our growth came from word-of-mouth to local family practice physicians.

VCS: Describe how the partnership of MaryBeth, Bret and yourself formed prior to 2007. Why did you click back then and do you continue to do so today?

AL: Bret and I met going through the McKenzie System. Bret and MaryBeth had worked together for years prior to the conception of PhysioCare. All of us were committed to making a fun work environment where we enjoyed treating patients and enjoyed being at work. That philosophy rubbed off on our patients, referral sources and employees.

VCS: Part of your mission statement reads, “Develop and maintain programs that contribute to local community needs in a non-profit format.” Describe some of the ways PhysioCare has fulfilled this part of your mission.

AL: PhysioCare volunteers sideline coverage at the local high school. We also provide injury screening at local running stores, and we provide lectures/screenings to a local dance company. We have supported local sports teams, high schools and running events with PT support and sponsorship.

VCS: What will the next five years hold for PhysioCare?

AL: In September, we moved into a bigger space to manage the growth we have experienced. The next five years should be interesting for us. We are unsure of where our next opportunity will come since there is so much uncertainty on the health care horizon. As long as we continue to keep our patients, referral sources and employees happy, then the future looks bright.

To learn more about PhysioCare, visit their website at http://physiocarept.com/. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Andy!