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How to start a rehab center

Updated April 17, 2017

A Rehab (short for rehabilitation) Center exists to help people better able to function. A rehab centre involves physical and occupational therapists to help patients relearn how to function, even with a variety of disabilities. A rehab centre can be a positive addition to the community. as well as a viable business.

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  1. Do market research. Check your city and area for rehabilitation facilities. Before deciding whether you will specialise, see what else is offered. Decide what you can offer that may plug a hole in rehab services. Maybe you wish to specialise in water therapy, which would mean having one or more pools. You may wish to specialise in back problems or in helping those with arthritis. Occupational therapy helps patents learn through crafts, work activities, self-care and other methods. With the right focus, starting a rehab centre can be a good business decision.

  2. Know what role you wish to hold as you start a rehab centre. You may be a physical or occupational therapist with a desire to start your own rehab centre, so your business will reflect not only the best practices of your profession, but also your vision for therapy. You may be a business person who wishes to start a rehab centre because some experience in your own life has led you to the desire to offer therapy in your area. If you are involved only on the business side, be sure to hire therapists with good reputations from their last job. If possible, check them out at their job to make sure their people skills match their professional credentials. If you are a therapist and plan to start a rehab centre with others, make sure anyone you hire shares your vision for the business.

  3. Find an accessible building. While most buildings need to be accessible in some fashion, a rehab centre needs to make sure that steps, stairs and curbs are provided for therapy sessions only and are not barriers that keep potential customers from becoming patients. The building rented or purchased may need remodelling to the latest Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Take one or more potential patients through the building and ask for their advice on accessibility. What you might not recognise as a barrier, they will. The same goes for furnishings, rugs, bathroom facilities and water fountains.

  4. See an attorney. Starting a rehab centre means facing a myriad of city, state and federal regulations to follow. While official websites can assist you in understanding what steps you need to take to procure the proper permits, licenses and certifications, it is best to talk with an attorney. An attorney will help guide you through the mine field of requirements and make sure the paperwork to set up your business is in order.

  5. Contact hospitals, clinics and doctors' office to let them know you have started a rehab centre and what you offer patients. Show your credentials. Ask for referrals. Contract services with health insurance agencies. Let family, friends and business associates know about your business and offer discounts for first customers. Of course, always have business cards and brochures on hand and ready to hand out. The business will grow as your rehabilitation centre becomes known for positive benefits to patients.

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About the Author

Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.

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