Medical-Referral Program Successes. Part 4

MedWell is a small post-rehab training clinic in Aurora, Colo., that specializes in working with chiropractic and medical referrals. Anthony Palmieri, owner of MedWell, founded the facility in 1996, and worked closely with Eric Prager, owner of Train to Attain, before developing his own medical-referral program in 2000.

One of Palmieri’s goals is to bring a higher professionalism to the medical-fitness industry. Like Prager, Palmieri found that the medical community has a negative view of the fitness industry, and is wary of the credibility and quality of its certifying agencies. Palmieri found that his efforts to boost his facility’s professionalism and expertise in the field of medical fitness helped him to establish marketing relationships with the medical community. While he admits that building relationships with the medical community can be time-consuming, he found that being active within his community and using a personalized approach to marketing has helped him to gain referrals. “I don’t do a lot with mass media,” he says. “I do health fairs, speeches, presentations and I get interactive with the community…. Print ads will follow as a natural result of my personalized efforts.”

MedWell offers various personal training packages to clients, including one-on-one training and supervised group training, and clients receive personalized training based on the recommendations of their physicians. Palmieri believes that his physical therapy clients receive the perfect adjunct to therapy, because his program provides them with post-injury care. The facility also welcomes healthy individuals, recreational athletes and other clients who do not have medical conditions but who are seeking a higher level of training. MedWell provides supervised training to all clients, whether they have medical conditions or not, to help break bad exercise habits and to educate them on how to exercise properly. “We can deal with people who already have clinically diagnosed conditions,” says Palmieri. “But, in particular, we want referrals who may not have major clinical conditions to prevent those conditions from developing.”

Before clients begin working out at MedWell, they must provide medical histories, medical clearance forms and referrals from their physicians. Clients then receive fitness assessments, evaluations and daily progress reports, which are used to keep their physicians and insurance carriers informed of their progress.

Clients may purchase memberships to MedWell, but workouts are by appointment only, which allows up to five clients to work out at the facility at a time per hour, with a staff person supervising the group training. To provide his clients with quality services, Palmieri insists that his staff members have the highest possible credentials available in the business, including accreditation from the certifying agencies recognized by NFTA, two to five years of experience in the field, a degree in a physiologically-related field, and a general understanding of medical terminology and concepts.

While the facility is not large enough to deal with a high volume of clients (currently at 1,500 square feet), Palmieri admits that his goal is to educate clients on how to exercise properly, then help them to become independent of supervised trainings and move them into a traditional health club to continue their exercise program on their own. Palmieri believes that his program helps to create a win-win situation for the medical community, the fitness industry and his own facility, because the program improves the level of care provided by the medical community, increases the number of referrals to his facility and provides a steady stream of new members to other health clubs.

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