Medical-Referral Program Successes. Part 3

Train to Attain offers two types of memberships for clients: personal training and personal cardio. Before training begins, all clients must provide medical clearance and referral forms from their physicians, and Prager consults with their physicians about their medical histories. Clients receive supervised training with an exercise physiologist, regardless of their current fitness abilities, to teach them the proper techniques of training, and they receive partial fitness assessments when training begins. While not all of his clients have existing medical conditions, Prager believes in providing fitness assessments and other types of testing to his clients throughout their training so the trainers are always aware of their clients’ functional abilities.

To provide clients with the highest-quality services, Prager hires staff members with high credentials so that his program looks more professional to clients and the physicians who make the referrals. He requires staff members to have appropriate fitness certifications, accreditation with the National Physical Therapy Association (NFTA), upper-level degrees and extensive work experience. Prager believes that the success of his program can be credited to the professionalism and qualifications of his staff. While his staff is fairly small, with eight full-time employees, he had no employee turn-over last year, and expects to add one new full-time employee every other month this year.

Train to Attain has experienced considerable growth since it started offering medical-fitness services to clients. The facility’s business has grown at a rate of 31 percent per year in the last four years, and Prager expects to double his business this year from last year. The facility will expand another 6,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, and Prager has plans to expand the facility to 21,000 square feet by 2005. While retention rates are strong, Prager admits to not being concerned about retention, because his goal is to educate members about fitness, not to keep them coming back to Train to Attain. “The main goal of the facility is to educate patients to live a healthy life,” says Prager. And to “educate the people [who] I work with [and] people in the industry, and [to] inspire other fitness facilities to develop their own medical referral programs.”

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