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FAQ: What is a MOG Gym?

What is a MOG gym, and how can it help your clinic’s long-term success? We’ve got the answers to the most common questions about medically-oriented gyms.

Mike Willee
5 min read
June 21, 2024
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Modern physical therapists have had to branch out beyond the typical clinic settings in recent years. Not only has thinking evolved on the best ways to help physical therapy patients in their recovery, but patients themselves are looking for services beyond what’s traditionally been offered in a plan of care. That evolution has led PTs and other rehab therapists to diversify their offerings—including the addition of medically oriented gyms (MOGs), in some instances. But what is a MOG gym exactly, and how are they helping patients beyond just the care they’d get in an office setting? I’m tackling those and many other of the most asked questions about medically oriented gyms. 

What is a medically oriented gym?

Perhaps the best answer to “What is a MOG gym?” is to say what it’s not: a replacement for any part of physical therapy or rehab therapy treatment. Instead, think of it as a valuable add-on for clinicians and patients alike. MOGs offer patients a space to exercise similar to the local gym but with the added benefit of movement experts to help supervise and support their activities. Patients can work with their physical therapist or an exercise physiologist to come up with an exercise plan that helps them achieve their fitness goals and also takes into account their current condition and/or injuries and their progress in recovery.     

What are the benefits of adding a medically oriented gym to my practice? 

Adding a MOG to your existing practice is a win-win for all involved. Practices get to add another billable service at a time when most are looking for alternative revenue streams and have the opportunity to further their patients’ recovery beyond the time spent in a typical treatment session. Offering a MOG with expert help is also a strong selling point with potential patients, and if you open it up to members of your community at large, can be a good referral source should any regular attendees need therapy services in the future. It can also help with referrals from physicians as well; a primary care provider treating a patient with concomitant high blood pressure or diabetes can send a patient to get PT and improve their fitness in the same facility.

More than that, the clinical focus on health and well-being without judgment can offer a welcoming space for those who might otherwise be apprehensive about joining a typical gym to tackle their health issues.     

What’s the difference between a MOG and an ordinary gym?

Some patients may wonder why they should opt for your MOG as opposed to the Planet Fitness they typically frequent. While your facility might not be able to offer the same amount of equipment, you do have that expertise that I previously mentioned—expertise that can help them get fit again while minimizing the risk of aggravating the injury that sent them to PT in the first place. For those less acquainted with fitness routines, that expertise, and personal attention can help them learn about effective exercises and craft a regimen that’s tailored to their unique needs and helps them achieve their optimal level of fitness. 

How would I bill for services provided in a MOG?

The services provided in your MOG would be supplemental to whatever work you’re doing with patients in the clinic. Given that, it’s likely any services performed in your MOG wouldn’t fall under a patient’s POC and thus would be cash-pay offerings—particularly if you’re opening your MOG to a larger audience than just those coming to your clinic for treatment. 

That said, offering cash-pay services isn’t as simple as throwing open your doors and setting up payment options. There’s a lot to consider in terms of compliance, particularly if you plan to offer services that could potentially overlap with what you’re providing during a visit. For example, if you accept assignment from Medicare, you can’t accept cash for Medicare-covered services—so be aware of what you’re offering in your MOG.    

Are there any other services that would pair with my MOG?

Opening a MOG is a good start in helping to promote wellness among your patients and the community at large. If you’re looking beyond that, however, there are other avenues you can pursue that will help improve overall health and boost your bottom line. 

Rehab therapists know the value of nutrition to overall health, and as the APTA outlines in Nutrition and Physical Therapy, “PTs should be concerned with and address nutritional intake and eating patterns of their patients and clients.” With that in mind, it may be possible for a physical therapy practice to add nutrition services to their offerings—if a few conditions are met. As the APTA further explains in Considerations Related to the PT's Role in Nutrition and Diet, each state has its own rules for the scope of practice and who can or can’t offer diet advice; depending on your location, a physical therapist may be able to offer nutritional education as part of a patient’s plan of care.

Offering separate nutritional services, on the other hand, requires either a license as a nutritionist or scope of practice guidelines under which nutrition falls within your license as a PT, or licensure isn’t required at all.  If you're partnered with a nutritionist, though, you can sidestep any licensing issues entirely while still offering a valuable service.  

Does a MOG make sense for my practice?

Of course, it falls to each clinic to determine whether it makes sense to add a MOG to your clinic. While it's inarguably true that exercise is still the best medicine, and that a MOG can help you in your goal to help patients achieve a long-term, lasting recovery, it could be the case that your practice doesn't have the resources or staff members to make a MOG work. But, if you have the time, resources, and personnel to accommodate a MOG, it can boost your clinic's business and the health of your patients.


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