How to Diversify Your Clinic Services with Claire Stowell, PT

At MEG, we’re always talking about ways to diversify your physical therapy services and income verticals, but there is one particular hot-topic item that demands our attention today.

For this, we interviewed a friend and colleague Claire Stowell on the topic of cash-based health coaching services.

A little about Claire: 

She went to Physical Therapy school at Texas Woman’s University where she got her MSPT. She worked in settings of pediatric, acute, skilled nursing facility, home health, and outpatient physical therapy clinic for 10 years. When she moved to CA with her family, she founded Lifetime Physical Therapy – a concierge practice where she and a team of physical therapists provide outpatient therapy in each patients’ home. She earned the certification for the APTA of CEEAA (Cert Exercise Expert for Aging Adults). 

In 2014, Claire met Brian and MEG at an APTA meeting and hired him to consult and grow their practice. Upon his recommendation, she sought out a cash-based wellness program, which is what she discusses with us in the interview. 

Claire: We grew so quickly that we had to bring on a team of physical therapists. One of the major things I took away from him (Brian) is to diversify. I wanted to look beyond the borders of Mobile PT and identified some major problems in society. 

Brian reminds the audience the importance of setting your specific goals – “If you can see it you can do it.” You must find a need and fill it. 

This mindset inspired Claire to explore the field of health & wellness and become a certified health coach. Through trusted physician referral sources, she was able to get trained in nutrition to implement this wellness program into her clinic.

Claire defines: What exactly is health coaching?

It starts with a conversation of the problems, needs and goals of the client. First, Claire conducts a free evaluation to make sure their services are a match. 

She then has the conversation with her patients, both in-state and nationwide, on what they feel is lacking in their life. She even connects on their personal visions and goals. 

Her program includes: 

  1. The coaching element 
  2. The education to fuel the patients’ mind while their body is healing 
  3. A positive and like-minded community to uplift the members of the group.
  4. A customized nutrition plan

During this pandemic, this support has come from a virtual community through the likes of Facebooks groups, Zoom calls, etc. This brings the community right into their home, which is incredibly important as people are feeling more isolated than ever during this difficult year. 

Claire’s customized nutritional plan is based on the goals that the patient voices in the initial Zoom call. They then adapt the diet plan as they relate to these goals.

She gives this visual to demonstrate: a strong table has four legs.

In her program, her clients are supported by the four foundational legs of the coach, the education/mindset, the community and the nutrition. Without these 4 legs of support in harmony, it’s just another diet. And diets don’t work, Claire says.

Claire saw a dire need for these services, and the stats speak for themself: 

In her research she has found that with 4 million nurses, 1 million doctors and 310 million American people, there is an obesity rate of 74% in this nation. Doctors and nurses can hardly keep up. 

 Director of John Hopkins weight Management Center (quoted by Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin): 

  • 1-300,000 deaths a year are attributed to obesity and inactivity 
  • 2-7/10 Americans are overweight or obese and as a result, for the first time in history, children are not expected to outlive their parents 

Estimates for 2020 state that depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world (first is heart disease) and that estimate was pre-pandemic! 

In addition to this, health coaching at its core is aimed at solving 3 major problems:

  1. Healthy Body – (sleep, weight, inflammation or of our patients and employees) 74% of the nation is overweight or obese. More than 100 million U.S. adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a new release today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4% of the U.S. population – have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. 
  2. Healthy Mind – (stress, fulfillment, healthy surroundings and environment) 3/4 of Americans report experiencing at least one stress symptom in the last month. 45% report lying awake at night, 36% report feeling nervous or anxious, 35% report irritability or anger, and 34% report fatigue due to stress (American Psychological Association). 
  3. Healthy Finance – (declining reimbursement, declining savings, paying overhead for our practice and life) 62% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in their savings account. That includes our patients and the employees that we have working for us who may need to take on extra PRN, home health or work as physical therapists just to provide for their families. 

Then, we have the challenge of our therapists that work in our clinics. They are facing challenges of needing to see more patients per hour due to declining reimbursements. They face increased stress, increased paperwork and their own health challenges due to lack of sleep, nutrition, etc. 

So these three problems are not only affecting our patients, but the staff and therapists that we employ. 

Thankfully, others often notice when someone changes not only their physical being, but their attitude and mindset. The results are palpable and the return on investment is real for those that institute this type of cash-based program. Your community is your market. 

Multiple players in your office could go through this training to get certified in how to implement these services into your private practice. Make sure you consult your individual state’s regulations to move forward with this model. 

And you don’t have to sacrifice an arm and a leg upfront to implement this either. It is “pay as you grow” so you can take on less risk, and more reward. 

Claire’s Solutions: 

  1. Healthy body – Claire implements a transformational system that is a science-based, physician led, field-proven approach for reaching a healthy weight and unlocking the habits that make health vibrant and sustainable. 
  2. Healthy Mind – uses structure and systems that can be implemented into your practice and community with no boundaries on what is possible in this market of people who desperately need it.
  3. Healthy finances – adds a health coaching practice to your physical therapy practice to diversify income, improve outcomes, expand reach nationwide, not just to your local community.  

We know the world of healthcare is becoming more and more challenging, especially amidst this pandemic. 

Our patients are becoming more unhealthy, gaining weight, becoming less active, and are increasingly more complicated to treat due to comorbidities. Not only is weight an issue, but inflammation, declined sleep, decreased fulfillment, and general complacency towards health for many people in our communities.

But there are solutions that you can implement into your physical therapy practice that are not only financially viable, but which create a targeted and true impact on your patients, staff and community – permanently changing their lives. Learn how you or your staff can become a certified health coach! 


Interested in finding out more? Connect with Claire on a Zoom/call to discuss what your needs are and see if the wellness program is a fit for your practice.


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