FOSTORIA - As health care costs rise and reimbursement shrinks, many health care providers are trying to diversify to make up the difference. Such is the case at Independence House in Fostoria. The care center updated its therapy unit a few years ago for inpatient therapy, and now it is opening it to outpatients.
An open house took place Thursday to introduce the therapy team and let the public see new equipment in the department. Physical therapist Steve Volpe was hired to launch the new community outpatient therapy program for all ages, treating a variety of injuries and disorders. He has been living and practicing in the Fostoria area for 20 years.
"I came onboard in May to assist them in opening the outpatient program," Volpe said. "We are a full-service therapy center. We offer physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy."
Justin David, a physical therapy assistant, has worked at Independence House for about three years. He is pleased to be teaming up with the experienced Volpe, who is board certified in strength and conditioning, hand therapy and orthopedics.
"A lot of people know him. ... We feel pretty lucky to get him," David said. "Now more than ever, we're pushing for all the specialized services that can be hard to find."
Bridgett Mundy, who oversees the department, said outpatient therapy had been offered previously but on a limited basis. Now it is to be available on a full-time basis. Specialty services include aquatics, custom hand splints, custom foot orthotics, custom knee braces, over-the-counter braces and post-op orthopedic rehabilitation. Industrial rehabilitation programs also are available, including functional capacity evaluations, job site analyses and work reconditioning.
"We've added quite a bit of new exercise equipment down here and the manipulation tables," Mundy said. "We also have our staff credentialed and certified to provide some of the specialized therapy."
Speech therapist Megan Burwell has been on the job for more than a week. She is to provide therapy for inpatients and outpatients of all ages. Occupational therapist Seth Buckman has been in the department full time for about a year and is to extend his services to outpatients.
"The intent is to get people back to full functioning," Volpe said.
Independence House is located at 1000 Independence Road, Fostoria. For more information, visit www.indepencence-house.com or call (419) 435-8505.