BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Andy Kerk

    Andy Kerk, physical therapist and president/founder of Body Mechanics LLC
    Address: 1177 Quail Court, Suite 200, Pewaukee
    Website: [HYPERLINK]    
    Industry: Orthopedic and sports physical therapy
    Number of employees: 11
    Family: Wife, Julie, and two great sons, Sam (20) and Jonah (17)

    What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

    “We developed treatment packages priced for clients to pay at the time of service outside of their insurance plans. With rising deductibles and higher co-pays, many patients have lower out-of-pocket costs by paying directly for their physical therapy.”

    What’s new at your company?

    “Our physical therapy staff has incorporated a new treatment modality called trigger point dry needling for more rapid resolution of sports and orthopedic injury. It dovetails nicely with our time-tested hands on manual therapy and exercise approach. In addition, we purchased a special treadmill called the AlterG that allows individuals to walk and run with 10 to 80 percent of their bodyweight removed. It was a big investment for a company our size, but has attracted the attention of runners and triathletes for training with recovery runs without pounding on their joints. It also provides earlier walking and running for healing fractures and post-surgical rehab as well as patients with arthritis, amputations, and neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.”  

    Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
    “We hope to add an additional physical therapist to our team by mid-year if our patient volume supports it.”

    What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

    “Our patients get better, so we always need new ones. We have to prove our effectiveness and results with each and every patient since many of them are paying directly for their care and they hear lots of other advice about where they should go and what they should do. People grow tired of their musculoskeletal injuries and they tend to give up sports and activities that they could possibly continue if they had the right help. Our biggest competitor is people giving up on their bodies and becoming less active.”

    What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

    “Our practice trend has been to promote physical therapy services directly to the public, not just to referring physicians. In Wisconsin, a physical therapist can see a patient directly without a physician’s referral. As a result, we consistently educate and market our services directly to the patient/consumer. The physicians with whom we work like this idea because we become a good source for referring appropriate patients to them. It also becomes a time and cost-saving measure for physicians. By no means does this eliminate the doctor’s involvement; it just focuses their time and attention on patients with issues that really need their services.”

    Do you have a business mantra?

    “We stay interested and vital as practitioners by teaching other physical therapists and by learning new skills and concepts to improve our effectiveness. Manual physical therapy is an art that you can improve upon forever. Finding new ways to help our patients is very rewarding.”

    From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

    “From the physical therapy world, my mentors are Gregg and Vicky Johnson, founders of the Institute of Physical Art, and a host of instructor colleagues that I teach with in continuing education courses all over the United States. I also admire my father, who supported his family with a sole proprietor barber shop in Chappell, Neb. At 82 years of age, he is still at it.”

    What was the best advice you ever received?

    “Remain grateful for every patient that comes through our door and strive to exceed their expectations.”

    What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

    “During my first several years as a practicing PT, I must have looked younger than my age. I had several nice people ask me when I was going to graduate. It sort of bothered me a little then, and I would love to hear it now.”  

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    “I like to run and take part in the occasional race. I also enjoy hunting, watching my boys play sports and spending time with my wife.”

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