Corey Rasmussen is the owner of Physical Therapy Specialists of Idaho and Athletic Performance Specialists of Idaho, both based out of Pocatello at 675 Yellowstone Ave., Suite 1. Recently, PTSI moved into the bigger building to better accommodate its patients, and APSI, a gym for both former patients and other community members, opened right next door. PTSI previously had two smaller locations.
In 2017, Rasmussen won the Journal’s 20 Under 40 award and his business won the Readers’ Choice Award for Best Therapy Clinic. He’s a 39-year-old Burley native who moved to Pocatello to attend Idaho State University in 1997.
Given the successes of Rasmussen and his businesses recently, the Journal recently interviewed Rasmussen. The following is that interview.
Idaho State Journal: Can you talk to me a bit about what PTSI does for its patients?
Corey Rasmussen: We specialize in treatment of orthopedic injuries, disorders of pathology, so anything to do with muscular or skeletal systems. We treat post-surgery and people trying to avoid surgery to regular injuries, and we kind of see it all: back, shoulders, knees, anything that might require some conservative physical therapy to address those injuries.
ISJ: What do you feel the new PTSI building offers that your previous two locations could not?
CR: A lot of physical therapy clinics are confined to smaller spaces because they do a lot of hands-on stuff and you can do a lot of exercises in a small location. But sometimes with those higher level of patients, whether they’re a railroad worker who has to get back to some more laborious activity or if they’re a high school athlete, you need more available space for the variety of machines and equipment that are going to challenge the individual enough that when they return to work they’re not just going to end up hurting themselves again.
With the additional space, we were able to build what we call our power ramp. A lot of people that like hiking around here can simulate going uphill and downhill. It creates those forces that people are going through when they’re doing those activities. But it also allows athletes to create more speed and acceleration because you really have to drive as you accelerate up the ramp.
The increased space has made it so people aren’t tripping on top of each other. It’s just a lot more open. People don’t feel as restricted. We can get a lot more space for dynamic movement. We’ve been able to purchase additional equipment that we previously didn’t have the space for that allows us to increase our capabilities with some of the new modern technology that comes out. For example, we just got the newest AlterG. Alter G is an anti gravity treadmill. We’re currently the only one that has this new model in the state of Idaho.
ISJ: It sounds like the increased space has been hugely beneficial for your business.
CR: Patients just love coming here. They can’t say enough good things. Every time a patient comes in here who’s been in any of our old facilities, they can’t get over how amazing the new facility is. It’s been a big beneficial factor in attracting new therapists. We’ve had lots more students come through that we’re educating from other universities, and hiring has not been a problem. Some people will look for a clinic and they kind of see themselves there or not and that goes into their decision-making process and so now we have this ultimate clinic. When people come here, the first impression goes a long way. They get wowed by that first impression. They definitely are seeking us out for employment instead of us having to seek them out.
ISJ: APSI is your other business. What does that facility offer members of the community that’s different from the PTSI building?
CR: The great thing about this gym is it’s a public gym that anybody can join. Our patients can join when they’re done with therapy so they can continue their success and get even better. In this day and age when Insurances are getting more restrictive, sometimes we might want 12 visits to treat them but we might only get six, so now we have this gym where we say, “Look. Sign up for gym membership. You don’t get the one-on-one supervision but we’ll print you a program, you go execute that because it has similar machines and then some. And then if you have any questions, someone should be able to help you.” That’s a great offer for our patients.
As far as other people, it has the rehab equipment and above that is has a lot of athletic training, your typical free weights that are in gyms: squat racks, the latest in the machinery there, the dumbbells, all that good stuff. In addition, it’s got 40 yards of artificial turf. We can do a variety of athletic training year-round indoors.
We wanted to fill memberships that would suit all walks of life.
ISJ: It seems like you’re more niche than any of the other gyms in town. Do people seem to like that?
CR: This is a real niche that people need filled, not only from the patient aspects. We’re hearing from health care professionals, saying, “We want to get involved. We want to send our patients down there because we like the idea of them continuing their wellness well beyond regular therapy that they’re getting.” We were getting a lot of young athletes that we’re training because we have specific certified trainers for athletic performance that have gone through some rigorous training and have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in addition to that. That allows us to train these individuals in the safest environment that they can. What’s happening is there’s so much more demand on these young athletes to be bigger, faster, stronger so you can get a scholarship that we’re seeing a lot of injuries on the therapy side. But now we’ve got this training facility that we’re trying to prevent that kind of stuff.
ISJ: How long have your businesses been open?
CR: PTSI, the physical therapy side, has been open for five years. The gym didn’t open until just a month ago.
ISJ: What are a few habits you have that help your businesses succeed?
CR: The biggest habit I think for me is getting started early. I get started at 5 a.m. I go work out and then I’m doing work by 6. I’m getting a couple hours in before people even get their days started.
Another habit is eating healthy. Since I’ve made a commitment to that in this last year, I’m able to sleep less and still have energy throughout the day because I’m eating better.
Be genuine. You have to be genuine with your colleagues, you have to be genuine with your patients. I don’t like to hide anything. I’m an open book, very honest, trustworthy.
ISJ: Everyone has good days and bad days at work. What do you do to weather those ups and downs?
CR: My go to is really just looking back at the successes I’ve had for that day, for that week, for that month. When things aren’t going as well as I would like them to, it’s important for me to step back and look at the things that have gone well, shifting my focus from either negative things or failures into positive things and successes.
ISJ: What is the best part of your job?
CR: For sure it is watching people progress from a very low state of function, with pain, and then watching them on the last day, walking really well, smile on their face, talking about things that they’ve either done with their grandkids or they’ve got back to golfing because of the experience that they’ve had here.
ISJ: What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
CR: I think the best one is you can’t be afraid of failure. You have to be willing to go all in and learn from your mistakes but you can’t go into anything afraid that you’re gonna fail. The other thing is you need to be wiling whatever it takes — you have to be willing to do what the other guy is not willing to do in order to achieve something you never have before.
ISJ: What is unique about doing business in Southeast Idaho?
CR: Because of the low cost for housing and things in this area, it’s a very business-friendly area. I would not be able to have a clinic even remotely the size in any kind of big city, possibly even Boise. We’re still a small clinic, but our clinic is probably two to three times the size of your average PT clinic. We’re blessed to have the ability to pay for something like this and be able to offer it to patients.
In Idaho in general, the state law in very pro-therapy. We have a lot more freedoms in what we can practice and what we can do and offer our patients so they’re able to get the best treatment that’s available.
ISJ: You won the Idaho State Journal’s 20 Under 40 award in 2017 and PTSI also won our Readers’ Choice Award for Best Therapy Clinic. What does it mean to you that the people of the Gate City think so highly of you and your business?
CR: That means a lot to me. I have always valued certifications and awards. People respect people who have made good achievements. For a business to receive those kinds of accolades, that’s really exciting. Word of mouth is good, but when it comes together as a group and you’re able to win some of these awards, I think that’s special. I thought it was a big deal (to win the Readers’ Choice Award). I was proud of the team for achieving that award, so like you see in the basketball arenas and the football arenas where they hang the banners up in the rafters for their championships, we had a big 5-foot by 3-foot banner made to hang from our rafters that has the emblem on there “Readers’ Choice Award 2017.” I’m hoping we get it every year, I’m banking on it, so that we have a whole row of them or multiple rows of them. I am proud of that award. It gives me a lot of pleasure.
ISJ: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
CR: I like hanging out with my family. I do have three girls, they’re 12, 8 and 6, and then I have twin boys that are 3. So they give me a lot of enjoyment and keep me busy when I’m not at work. I like to go camping, fishing, hunting. I like to golf. I like to play basketball and I like to exercise as well.
ISJ: Do you expect your businesses to continue to grow and prosper?
CR: Ever since we’ve opened in 2013, we’ve experienced 30 percent growth every year consistently. Our staff has growth by at least 30 percent each year. It’s all been very good, and I expect that moving forward.
One of the steps was the gym. We wanted to create this gym that also created this opportunity to offer something that no one else can offer people, an extension of their therapy and another place where they can go.
The other thing we want to do is continue to attract top talent of physical therapists. We want to attract the type of person that we want, not just the smartest person, but the person with strong character and is able to build relationships with patients, that has roots in the community so they’re going to be here for a while. We want that person. I feel like if we can get the right people in here, the business will come.
We do want to be able to offers our services in some of these other communities. We do want to expand into a four-clinic company and work our way into some of these neighboring communities, just to lessen the drive for people and make it more convenient for people to make it to more appointments and have more success.
ISJ: Is there anything else do you want people to know about either your businesses or yourself?
CR: I would like people to know is what is summed up best in our business statement: “We will be the most sought after rehabilitation facility in Southeast Idaho, known for its quality expertise, passion and the character of the people that work here.” And that carries over into the athletic side. It gives people the opportunity to take their fitness to the next level, whether they’re in competitive sports or not and really give themselves the best opportunity to succeed in whatever they’re training for.
For myself, I really enjoy Pocatello, and I really like helping people. We truly believe in our product and we want people to come here knowing that they’re going to get the best available health care that they can receive.