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Popular clinic bursting at the seams.

Popular clinic bursting at the seams

Intercity Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic in Thunder Bay has been called an example of quality healthcare delivery in Ontario.

The clinic is also the winner of this year's Northern Ontario Business Award for Company of the Year (26 to 50 employees), sponsored by Canadian Partner.

"I was very surprised. We never expected it (to win the award) and it feels fabulous," says Fred Stoot, company physiotherapist and co-owner.

Intercity Orthopaedic was conceived from the ashes of the 1981 Canada Summer Games which were held in Thunder Bay.

After joining the Summer Games medical team, Dr. John Porter, an orthopaedic surgen specializing in athletic injuries and knee surgery, and Stoot met for the first time and discussed their common desire to improve physiotherapy services in the area.

In November 1984 the pair opened Intercity Orthopaedic, the first full-time private clinic of its type in Thunder Bay.

According to Stoot, there are currently three additional clinics in the same market. He insists that Intercity maintains steady growth due mainly to a "strong and wide referral pattern that has been established throughout the city."

With the needs of patients in mind, the designers of the clinic abandoned the traditional institutional atmosphere of the hospital in favor of a brighter and more cheerful environment, one that encourages recovery.

Stoot cites the clinic's "excellent patient care" as a major contributing factor to its success.

"If the patients receive excellent care then everything works out. It has been the key to (our) success," he says.

When the clinic was first opened its staff consisted of Porter, Stoot and a secretary. Two additional physiotherapists and a general practitioner were added just a month later, due to an unexpected flood of clients.

The response to the clinic during the first few months of its inception also warranted an expansion of the physical plant to more than twice the size, approximately 3,000 square feet.

In April 1987 the clinic moved to a new 10,000-square-foot facility.

While the increased space was expected to accommodate more staff and new, state-of-the-art equipment, the clinic has again outgrown its space.

Stoot reported that plans are currently being drawn up to add another 10,000 square feet to the facility to accommodate more staff.

The clinic presently has a staff of 31 and it is planning to hire two additional physicians.

The staff includes 17 full-time medical personnel, five part-time medical personnel, two massage therapists who rent space within the office, an office manager, two full- and five part-time receptionists, one full- and one part-time typists and a retail manager.

The owners believe in complementing the services of the physiotherapy staff with full-time medical specialists and an in-house X-ray department.

In addition, patients are able to utilize facilities provided by other institutions located in Thunder Bay. For example, through an agreement with the Canada Games Complex, the clinic makes available the complex's fitness instructors, exercise facilities and swimming pool.

The clinic has maintained strong ties with the local community.

It supports Lakehead University's school of athletics through the endowment of two scholarships and also provides medical coverage for many sporting events in the Thunder Bay area, including Skate Canada, the Canadian National Ski Championships and World Cup ski jumping.

Clinic specialists regularly conduct sports medicine seminars for secondary school coaches, and the clinic accepts placement students from Confederation College's workforce re-entry program for women.

Patients are referred to the clinic by their personal physicians. Fees are charged according to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) schedule and revenue is received primarily from OHIP and the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB).

Stoot reports that the clinic receives 80 per cent of its revenue from OHIP, 15 per cent from WCB and five per cent from private insurance companies.

Stoot and Porter ignored early warnings from peers within the health-care industry that a private venture was unfeasible. Stoot says the partners believed the clinic would survive if it offered quality care health care and was run as a business.

Stoot says their greatest success has been "establishing a reputable clinic and surviving in a private setting without being tied to a hospital."
COPYRIGHT 1990 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Northern Ontario Business Awards Thunder Bay 1990; Company of the Year 26-50 employees; Intercity Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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