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Meet April Oury of Body Gears Physical Therapy

Today we’d like to introduce you to April Oury.

April, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2004, I decided to start my own PT company so that I could create the changes that I knew were “inside” the patient. Many of my physical therapy clients didn’t realize their potential because I was trying to treat 4 at a time!

High-level customer service and insurance reimbursements are often at odds with one another and I didn’t want to have to treat a new patient every 15 minutes to make ends meet. I talked with my boss, went outside of my non-compete radius, and started going door to door with my treatment table providing one-on-one care. Growing up, I had always thought I would own my own business since that concept was a very common topic of dinner conversation. Both of my parents had full-time jobs as well as 2 other businesses…as a kid, I loved helping out and feeling connected to them in that way.

Just like every business, there were extremely long hours and treating at all times of the day. My businessmen and women clients wanted 5:30 am appointments. My mom’s/athlete clients wanted later evenings after kids were in bed and practice was over…and my reputation for providing excellent care and results grew.

I then decided that a brick and mortar clinic was the next step to help clients achieve their dreams and physical goals. So, I found a 1000sf space I could afford and saw clients there. Staff who were excited to foster untapped potential in clients and were disenfranchised with their current situations came on board and really brought an incredible energy to the clinic.

Our particular brand of physical therapy grew so much that we now have 8 clinics in 3 states. Our goal is to create highly demanding consumers who don’t put up with poor health services; we treat them to their highest potential physically. Often times, this leads to big life changes for them. Things like positively affecting their marriage, allowing them to go have fun with their kids, allowing them to get a promotion because they can focus on their work tasks and complete them with a higher degree of performance.

Has it been a smooth road?
What a roller coaster of mistakes and learning! Some of the big struggles along the way were in my own leadership style. I tend to be a really direct person and I drove a lot of good staff away with my high expectations without portraying a simultaneous sense of appreciation and belonging. I also didn’t realize that staff really likes structure. I thought that most people were like me and wanted more free reign and creativity. I quickly learned that without really good guidelines, it is hard to praise people for a job well done, because there’s no way to track their performance. It was just based on feelings instead of data.

As a very young looking female, I also ran into problems with the business community taking me seriously. During face to face meetings, people would forget that I was the decision maker: “Let’s schedule some time with the owner so that he can make these decisions”. That was really frustrating, but I just kept going and politely answered their repeated questions. I made the decisions that I knew I had the authority to make even if it wasn’t recognized.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Most healthcare consumers think they already know what Body Gears PT’s do, and most MD’s/nurses don’t think there is a difference in PT services. But, we like to explain it in terms of food: there are steaks and there are burgers. It’s still beef, but there is a huge difference in the taste, the atmosphere, and the customer service in PT services just like there is an enormous difference between a Chicago Cut filet mignon and a double stack at McDonald’s. Both serve a purpose but are worlds apart.

We specialize in changing clients’ health story. You may have been told, “There’s nothing more that we can do for you.” or “You have to live with this.” We often change that narrative and achieve goals that haven’t been accomplished before. We think this success has to do with the amount of time we spend with each client and the intense level of training our therapists to get in movement dysfunction. We also think it has to do with our ability to connect the dots of your physical blueprint. Most PT is “impairment based” or “pathology based”. Our physical therapy care isn’t bound and limited by the fact you have a labral tear or a herniated disc. That physical fact on an MRI does not necessarily affect our ability to facilitate your return to all the things you want to do.

We are really proud of creating consumers who get what they want from their healthcare team. And we are proud to be the catalyst for directing those life changes.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Chicago is a hotbed right now for PT. Reimbursements are fairly strong in comparison to other states, and there are millions of potential consumers who need PT. It’s a great place for PT businesses like ours where consumers don’t want to settle for run of the mill care. There are lots of choices out there and we serve our clients well.

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