Today we're sharing Part I of our interview on starting a medically oriented gym with Jonathan Di Lauri, MPT, CMP, TPI CGFI. Jon is the Owner of JointCare Physical Therapy, a Head Therapist, and Golf Performance Expert. Thanks to Jon for enthusiastically sharing his experience and advise with our readers!

Why did you decide to start a medically oriented gym?

It’s been 12 years in the making starting in an outpatient facility. I made several startling discoveries:

  • Even into adulthood, no one ever really teaches you how to work out the RIGHT way.
  • People were too focused on using exercise to change how they look and not their joint health.
  • Our patients were returning to exercise environments with under qualified professionals, only to return injured.

Armed with that knowledge, I not only produced and created an instructional DVD, but I also created a medically oriented gym for those people who had transcended disease and who had finished physical therapy. We wanted them to get the RIGHT training and results. I also used to go to gyms with my patients and they were not being correctly oriented to the gym equipment. Additionally, the patients were being sold personal training that was far beyond their physical abilities. With all of this coming painfully clear to me, the stage was set to launch our gym.

How did you get started? What are the first steps?

It’s been a long road. I’ve found that there are many ways to do it right and do it wrong. To get started, there’s a space requirement. No specific square footage required, but I’d say 1,000 to 2,000 square feet would be good to start. Your square footage depends on the intensity of the program you intend to offer.

There is also an equipment component. We decided to lease equipment up-front to keep costs low. We leased a 12 piece circuit of weight machines and cardio equipment from a re-manufacturer.

It’s critical to develop your business model and what you will be offering as your underlying message or product. We created a model based on my DVD. The goal is to allow people the opportunity to learn how to exercise the RIGHT way and continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle after therapy.  The difference is that as therapists, we are the fitness experts and we needed to be the ones to help people understand the correct foundational techniques to avoid injury and get results while keeping them within our office setting. Patients leaving therapy must learn how to use their body correctly and apply that knowledge to an exercise lifestyle as recommended by the The American College of Sports Medicine and The National Heart Association for example.The truth is, the majority of people are not getting that basic levels of fitness education and how posture plays a crucial role in preventing injuries.

What are the legalities of owning both a PT Clinic and a medically oriented gym?

There are a lot of ways to do it. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to give you this information. In some ways, it breaks my heart but I view it as giving back to the profession.

We created a separate limited liability company not owned by me, the physical therapist. We needed to create space, or legal barriers, between my license as a physical therapist and the fitness side of things. Anyone considering starting a medically oriented gym needs to look at the practice act in their state. In New Jersey, we are allowed to educate people on exercise and it’s not considered physical therapy.  It’s considered Physical Therapy Instruction (for more info read the New Jersey Practice Act).

This separate company is registered as a gym. In New Jersey, there are certain requirements to do this. Normally, a gym has to post a bond. As long as you don’t offer a membership over 3 months, posting a bond is not required. Much like anything else, there is a lot of paperwork. I would advise that you consult with a legal team before doing anything else. It’s important that the newly formed company coordinates with the Practice Act and satisfies the requirements for a gym. Basically, Healthy Lifestyle Management, our medically oriented gym was required to register with the state as a health club/gym.

Ready for Part II of our interview with Jon? Click here for more information about the location and business model needed for a medically oriented gym.

Cashing In on Private Pay: The PT's Guide to Going Out-of-Network - Regular BannerCashing In on Private Pay: The PT's Guide to Going Out-of-Network - Small Banner
  • Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans Image

    webinarFeb 23, 2017

    Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans

    Copayments, coinsurances, unresolved balances—oh my! Any one of these can cause headaches for healthcare providers, but as healthcare reform efforts shift more and more financial burden to insurance beneficiaries, today’s practitioners are increasingly facing all three. And these challenges are not only hurting their patient acquisition and retention rates, but also their bottom lines. Tired of spending time verifying benefits only to lose those patients to copay sticker shock? Stuck in a constant cycle of pursuing past-due …

  • articleApr 18, 2012 | 4 min. read

    An Additional Source of Income for Private Practices: Nutrition Supplement Products

    Steve Messineo, PT, DPT and Owner of All-Access Physical Therapy Inc . contributed this blog post today. Steve (a WebPT Member) started this discussion about nutritional supplements in a Linkedin Group and we asked him to dive deeper in a blog post for the rest of us!  Steve has been practicing in an outpatient orthopedic setting since 1998. Thanks Steve for sharing your perspective.  Three years ago, my business partner and I decided it would be a …

  • Direct Access in Action: Jennifer Gamboa of Body Dynamics, Inc. Image

    articleOct 27, 2014 | 5 min. read

    Direct Access in Action: Jennifer Gamboa of Body Dynamics, Inc.

    In many cases, the old retail axiom “you get what you pay for” holds true within the healthcare market as well—and that is precisely why Jennifer Gamboa, DPT, OCS, MTC, and president of Body Dynamics, Inc. , believes that more physical therapy practices should be looking beyond the third-party payer game as they develop their business models. The way Jennifer sees it, declining reimbursement rates not only threaten the survival of private practice physical therapy clinics, but …

  • The Role of the Front Office in Patient Retention Image

    articleJun 28, 2017 | 5 min. read

    The Role of the Front Office in Patient Retention

    In the words of the great William Shakespeare, “All the world's a stage; and all the men and women merely players.” Whether we’re talking about the world’s stage or an actual stage, the success of every great performance hinges on each actor’s ability to fully embrace his or her role. In the case of a rehab therapy ensemble, each role is instrumental to ensuring the success of the entire practice. And when it comes to measuring that …

  • How to Equip Your Clinic for Cash-Pay Services Image

    articleOct 6, 2014 | 6 min. read

    How to Equip Your Clinic for Cash-Pay Services

    A few weeks ago, I was making the rounds at a party, sampling—okay, more like scarfing—all of the hors d'oeuvres and stopping along the way to chit-chat with fellow partygoers. Among our topics of conversation: cheese, football, cheese, running, and physical therapy. So, how did we get from provolone to PT? Well, in between mouthfuls of smoked gouda and crackers, I asked a new acquaintance—we’ll call him Ted—about his hobbies. “Actually, I’ve gotten into those Spartan adventure …

  • How do I Expand Into Cash-Based Services? Image

    articleJan 14, 2015 | 4 min. read

    How do I Expand Into Cash-Based Services?

    As a physical therapist, you have to jump through commercial insurance hoops and keep up with Medicare’s ever-changing regulations—all while dealing with the pain of falling reimbursement rates. But what if you could expand your practice offerings to generate more cash in the present and potentially ditch commercial insurances in the future? The rise of cash-based care appears to be inevitable; it’s flexible, comprehensive, and tailored to the patient’s wants and needs—with no insurance strings attached. According …

  • Fee for All: How to Set a Rate Schedule for Your Rehab Therapy Practice Image

    articleMay 3, 2017 | 6 min. read

    Fee for All: How to Set a Rate Schedule for Your Rehab Therapy Practice

    I’m going to be frank here: setting the right fee schedule for your clinic is important—like, really, really important. Why is it such a big deal? The answer might seem obvious, but it’s actually a bit more nuanced. When new patients step into your office, you’re not just improving their day-to-day function—you’re showing them the value of their health and well-being. By seeking out movement-based therapy, patients are making an investment in their physical welfare. So, as …

  • Common Questions from Our Cash-Based Physical Therapy Webinar Image

    articleAug 30, 2017 | 19 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Cash-Based Physical Therapy Webinar

    Earlier this week, WebPT’s president and co-founder, Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, teamed up with cash-based physical therapy guru Dr. Jarod Carter, PT, DPT, MTC, to host a webinar covering all things cash pay —from insurance contracting considerations and Medicare rules to self-referral marketing and service pricing. Thousands of rehab therapy professionals registered to attend, which means we received a ton of questions—so many, in fact, that there was no way we could answer all of …

  • Get Wellness: How to Boost Your Therapy Practice’s Revenue with Cash-Based Services Image

    articleJun 14, 2017 | 5 min. read

    Get Wellness: How to Boost Your Therapy Practice’s Revenue with Cash-Based Services

    There’s a pesky rumor flying around the healthcare industry: the more successful your treatment plans, the less business you receive from your existing patients. When you get down to it, the prime directive for most rehab therapists is to improve the health of the patient until he or she no longer requires therapy. And from the patient’s perspective, the quicker his or her health improves, the happier he or she will be with your service—and that often …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.