One of Concord’s few independent physiotherapy providers, Foothills Physical Therapy, will soon close after more than two decades.
The firm’s three partners, Julie Dewdney, Maggie Donohue and Brigitte Cook, will each retire in June.
Foothills will refer its patients, sell its assets and lease its brick building across from Horseshoe Pone to another independent physical therapy provider called The Center for Physical Therapy and Exercise. CPTE already has several sites in Manchester, Nashua, Hudson and Merrimack.
Dewdney said Patricia Wolber, CPTE’s director of operations, has a similar health care philosophy.
“She has pretty compatible values and sees the physical therapy world the same way we do,” she said. “It’s just a good game.”
CPTE was founded in 1989 and has since grown into one of the largest independent physiotherapy practices in the region.
Prior to CPTE, several major law firms expressed interest in taking over Foothills.
“We investigated these and decided that wasn’t the direction we wanted to go because it just didn’t fit our model of care,” Dewdney said.
The two providers ironed out the details of their deal last week, Dewdney said. She said CPTE intended to provide care for the same number of patients as Foothills. Dewdney said she hopes most Foothills employees will continue to work at the site under new ownership.
When Foothills opened in 2000, the partners made the decision to operate independently of large healthcare corporations, giving them ample time and flexibility to care for each patient as they saw fit.
“If you’re at another big company, there are often outside parameters or metrics that control how you practice,” she said. “If we have an idea of how we want to do something, we can do it. We don’t have to go through several other levels within an agency.
This model of care has created a large base of loyal patients – from Olympic athletes to elderly people with Parkinson’s disease – who have returned to Foothills again and again over the decades. Dewdney said the practice developed almost exclusively by word of mouth. She estimates that the firm has cared for thousands of granite staters over the years.
They were also careful to treat each other with the same respect they showed their customers.
“We all have to come to a place where we feel good about this decision,” she said. “It’s a way to bring the best of all your thoughts and come to a real consensus.”
Months ago, the three physiotherapists all came to a consensus that they didn’t want to sell the Foothills name and brand – they wanted the firm’s brand to end naturally. So the green and gold Foothills sign will be retired when Dewdney, Donohue and Cook retire.
“It’s been a real relationship with these people and with this whole community,” Dewdney said. “When I look back at what we’ve created…it’s really all about personalized patient care.”