‘We’re just a very blessed clinic’
08/26/2013 - The Exponent Telegram. By Erin Beck.
Even as the business has continued to grow and take on more patients, the owners of Bridgeport Physical Therapy pride themselves on taking care of each patient, one at a time.
Helping each customer — from high school athletes suffering sports injuries to elderly patients with arthritis — improve their quality of life requires getting to know the person and their needs.
“We really take pride in doing the best we can for every patient that comes through our door,” co-owner Mike Martin said.
Martin is co-owner of Bridgeport Physical Therapy, along with Jack Spatafore.
Martin founded the business in 1984 with another business partner.
Spatafore worked at the company as a physical therapist and then became co-owner in 2005.
“The business has grown a lot over the years,” Spatafore said. “I think we’re just a very blessed clinic.”
The owners believe the business has been successful because of continual efforts to improve.
Working with a patient without seeing progress is just not acceptable, according to them.
A team of eight physical therapists, one occupational therapist and office staff work together to assist patients.
“I think we have a really great team approach,” Spatafore said. “It’s not just one physical therapist trying to get a patient better. It’s a team of people. You have so many different eyes looking at a patient.”
The clinic is also able to hire top-quality therapists.
“We are very fortunate in that we serve as a center for clinical education for WVU’s physical therapy program, “ Martin said.
Other schools also send students there for internships.
“It’s like a six-week interview,” he said.
Martin and Spatafore look for two core characteristics in interns.
The first is compassion, or the “genuine desire to see people get better,” according to Martin.
The second is work ethic.
“If people don’t like to work hard and be busy all day, they probably won’t fit in very well,” Martin said. “On a busy day, it’s not unusual for us to see 120 patients.”
The two owners keep an eye on the latest research and best practices.
Treatment effectiveness is especially important as insurance companies continue to strengthen guidelines.
“One of the biggest changes that we see year after year is just the greater demands of insurance companies,” Spatafore said. “It’s something we deal with every day.”
For instance, some insurance companies are reducing the number of visits covered by insurance.
“That is rapidly dwindling,” Martin said. ““It’s really important that if somebody says I’m only allowed eight visits, we’ve got to do the best we can.”
As they deal with the demands of insurance companies and other stressors, the owners remember the reasons they pursued physical therapy.
Watching patients improve makes it all worthwhile.
“I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Spatafore said.
Martin said that in high school, he was interested in football, but his coach thought his size made him a better fit as the team’s athletic trainer.
“I’ll do what you want me to do, (but) when I get up to 140 pounds, I’m going to play,” Martin told the coach.
“I never made it,” Martin said.
But Martin did find his future career. He worked at Joe Manchin’s physical therapy clinic in Clarksburg. (The owner was not the current U.S. senator.)
“He kind of took me under his wing,” Martin said. “Being around Joe and seeing how he helped so many folks is really how I got into physical therapy.”
Martin said the field combines his interest in science with a desire to help people.
While other health care providers are helping people as well, Martin appreciates the relationships built with regular patients.
“We get to spend time getting to know patients because they have to come in for a series of treatments,” he said. “It’s very, very rewarding.”