Health Care and Small Business & Startups

Multi-disciplinary approach sets therapy center apart

Apogee also strives to be part of the community.

May 2, 2014
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Apogee
Jeff Carter offers nutritional, speech and physical therapy at Apogee Therapy Center in Grandville. Photo by Rachel Weick

A comprehensive outpatient treatment center aims to provide the pinnacle in rehabilitation experience.

Apogee Therapy Center, 3010 Wilson Ave. SW, Grandville, provides comprehensive therapy treatment through its various services while striving to create an inclusive and progressive environment.

Jeff Carter, founder and chief executive officer at Apogee, said the number of services offered at the facility, interacting with local businesses and people, and the community atmosphere sets it apart in a competitive health care industry.

“When someone comes into our facility, they feel like they’ve come into a small community that really cares about them, that they are not just a number,” said Carter. “We also wanted to differentiate ourselves in bringing speech therapy in. There is no outpatient facility in West Michigan that has physical therapy and speech therapy together, other than the hospital-based ones or very specialized places … none of them are coordinated like we are here.”

The outpatient therapy center’s multi-disciplinary approach to wellness encompasses three major areas: physical therapy, speech therapy and nutritional therapy. Apogee also offers yoga classes and a work compensation program designed to provide expert evaluation and treatment for work-related injuries.

Within each of the three areas there are specific services aimed at helping patients reach their peak performance. In terms of nutritional therapy, a registered dietitian provides patients with information about personal nutritional needs, interprets food information and assists in developing behavioral skills to enable achievement, according to the website.

The speech therapist offers evaluation and treatment options best suited for each patient, incorporating a range of communication and swallowing issues, such as language delays in children, voice disorders, aphasia and apraxia. According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia can affect the ability to express and understand verbal and written language and is typically a result of damage within the brain.

Apraxia in adults also is caused by damage to part of the brain resulting from a stroke, injury, illness or tumor, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The speech disorder limits a person’s ability to speak correctly and consistently.

For physical therapy needs, Apogee specializes in men’s health issues, sports medicine, chronic headaches and temporomandibular disorder, which refers to pain in the jaw and surrounding facial muscles. Incorporating the multiple therapeutic areas in one facility allows collaborative and coordinated care among dietitians, physical therapists and speech therapists.

With an extensive background in physical therapy and sports medicine, and a master of business administration degree, Carter decided to open his own practice after feeling stifled in previous work environments.

“I decided I was going to do my own thing,” said Carter. “I really wanted to do things differently than what I had seen at the various places I have worked for. I really am committed to not just treating patients in an isolated environment. I wanted to be able to know the different businesses and wanted to know the different organizations. I wanted to get involved with the community.”

Apogee has participated in seminars on early childhood development for Kent District Library, guest speaking at an annual fundraiser for the local AMBUCS chapter, and connecting with various businesses in the community. AMBUCS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities and also awards scholarships to therapists.

“I want to be able to be very active in the community and help the community in any way I can,” said Carter. “There is more and more pressure being placed on the providers to provide less. We are being reimbursed less so the pressure is to get them in, get them out. I don’t believe that is the way we need to treat patients.”

Carter also has a passion to nurture and teach students interested in pursuing a career in therapy disciplines. Partnering with local academic institutions, including technical schools and colleges, Apogee has had students interested in therapy spend time at the facility job-shadowing.

“The idea is to get them at a younger age, tell them what they need to do, and encourage them to be very diligent in their studies so that they are able to go to physical therapy or speech therapy school,” said Carter.

“We have a passion to see minorities in physical therapy, speech therapy, nutritional therapy. To my knowledge, I am the only black physical therapist in West Michigan. One of my passions is to see them get involved in the medical field and specifically in physical therapy.”

Located in 3,200 square feet of a building leased from a neighboring law firm, Apogee opened in September 2012. According to Carter, his No. 1 goal for the company is to honor God and his faith.

“What we do and how we do it is a reflection on (the fact that) we want to honor God, and part of honoring God is giving to our community and being a part of it, and doing the best we can in helping our patients get better.”

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