The founder of Falcon Physical Therapy, which has grown to eight locations in less than a decade, is working to establish a new, fee-based service that would have more but smaller offices.
Lorne “Mac” MacDonald, 55, has entered into a joint venture with the owners of Phenix Salon Suites to open up to 50 physical therapy offices in several states within the next few years.
MacDonald said his fee-based clinics will bypass insurance companies and will charge $135 for a 1 1/2 hour walk-in office visit or $1,200 for 12 visits.
“I will take no insurance whatsoever,” MacDonald said of the new clinics. “Most people have a deductible of $5,000 to $8,000, so it would be out of pocket any way, and I don’t want to be regulated by Medicare.”
MacDonald has teamed with Jason Rivera, who owns Phenix Salon Suites with his wife, Gina. The business provides upscale private suites functioning as fully equipped mini-salons. Stylists, nail technicians and other salon professionals rent the suites and operate as independent businesses.
The Riveras opened their first location in Colorado Springs in 2007. They began franchising their idea in 2010 and now have 33 locations in 12 states. Jason Rivera said his company expects to open about 50 more locations this year.
Now physical therapists will be in suites alongside beauticians and nail technicians; MacDonald will open his first new office Monday at a Phenix Salon Suites at 5910 Stetson Hills Blvd. on the east side of the Springs. Rivera said he hopes to eventually include physical therapy offices in all locations allowed by various states’ laws.
Because of the demands of a stylist’s job, those already occupying suits could be first in line for the physical therapy services, Rivera said.
“You will see shoulder injuries from holding their hands up so high all day,” he said. “They stand on their feet all day, and lower back trouble is a common problem. It is pretty consistent across the board.”
MacDonald is a former Army staff sergeant who worked in communications with the 10th Special Forces Group. He was familiar with physical therapy as a patient after injuries suffered as a paratrooper, including breaking his shoulder twice. He originally thought of going into nursing, but a friend convinced him otherwise.
“I told her I was going into nursing,” MacDonald said, “and she said, ‘No you are not. You will go into physical therapy. You have done enough of it, and the hours and pay are better.’”
MacDonald got his master’s from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in physical therapy is from Temple University. He is a board-certified orthopedic and sports clinical specialist. He established Falcon Physical Therapy in 2004; its eight clinics are in Falcon, Limon, Calhan, Pueblo and Colorado Springs.
MacDonald said most physical therapists finish school with around $100,000 in debt, which makes it difficult to open a private practice. Following the Phenix Salon model will reduce the costs of opening a practice.
“No one will give them a loan,” he said. “So I am going to give them the chance to open their own practice.”
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.