CHAS Group hits sweet spot

‘We look at every aspect of their life’
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Friday, September 22, 2017

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – CHAS Group, a physical and occupational therapy practice specializing in wheeled mobility and complex seating evaluations, has nearly all of Florida covered and is in the process of entering the Georgia market.

In Florida, the company is still trying to fill gaps in coverage in the Naples area and in Citrus County, but it has the rest of the state covered with 20 contract PTs and OTs. In Georgia, it’s waiting for licensure approval.

“For several years, I’ve been asked by providers in Georgia to expand into that area, especially southern Georgia,” said Cindi Petito, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS. “There’s a huge need from what I see and hear from them.”

Helping CHAS Group grow in Florida: The company secured contracts this year with a number of managed care companies in the state for Medicare and Medicaid, including Simply Healthcare Plans and Amerigroup.

Not helping the company grow: the lack of therapists experienced in seating and mobility. Petito’s seven most recent hires are new to the industry, she says.

“The biggest challenge we have had in growing is the therapists who want to learn this skill but they have little experience,” she said. “We’re training them the best we can, traveling across all of Florida and getting them feeling comfortable doing evaluations.”

Petito advises her therapists to soak in online education from RESNA and NRRTS, but she knows that doesn’t take the place of hands-on learning. That’s why she tries to work them up from less to more complex evaluations.

“Where they really learn is on the delivery of the equipment,” she said. “That’s where they see the puzzle pieces come together.”

Petito says she also leans on DME providers and manufacturers to take the therapists under their wings.

“We ask for their help when they’re out in the field with our therapists,” she said.

The challenges are worth tackling, Petito says, to fulfill CHAS Group’s mission of taking a holistic approach to people with disabilities—one that includes not only their seating and mobility needs, but also their home accessibility and modification needs.

“Even though we have a referral for a mobility evaluation, we look at every aspect of their daily life,” she said.