Discovery Why This Was Our Biggest Year Yet of Expansion and Impact
When Diana Fongheiser and I started Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) 20 years ago, we both realized the region didn’t need just another therapy staffing agency.
If we were going to do the hard work and make the sacrifices required to start a new company, we needed to make it really different. We needed to redesign pediatric related services delivery. It was time to turn the old “treat-and-bill treadmill” model upside down and look at meeting students’, teachers’, and program administrators’ needs from a broader perspective.
Little did we know where this journey would lead!
As I’ll explain, this year, our twenty-first, has been a landmark one for so many reasons.
Acquiring a Highly Respected Delaware Pediatric Therapy Provider
We completed our first company acquisition, merging with the Therapy Services of Delaware (TSD) team to bring PTS’ model to all districts north of the C & D Canal.
The acquisition has helped PTS grow more than just financially. In addition to an outstanding group of managers, nearly one hundred new therapists joined PTS. The TSD team includes some of the region’s top pediatric therapy specialists who’ve already begun contributing to PTS’ extensive library of resources for therapists and teachers.
Combining the Delaware therapists’ strong clinical skills with PTS’ innovative approach to delivering pediatric therapy services will help bring the state’s related services to a whole new level.
Expanding Across Eastern Pennsylvania in Exciting Ways
PTS also grew organically across eastern Pennsylvania in 2019.
We began working with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU) for the first time, serving their preschool program. The MCIU leadership tasked PTS with eliminating a long backlog of students their current therapy staffing agencies had been unable to serve. We leveraged our recruitment skills and BudgetWatch™ technology to streamline staffing patterns and account for any services previously missed. Within a few months, we’d virtually eliminated the waitlist!
We’re currently focused on:
- Equipping our team to meet even the most involved students’ needs.
- Adding trainings on Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Neurodevelopmental Treatment Strategies.
- Providing on-site clinical support for complex cases.
- Adding an additional Speech Clinical Director.
PTS added six new clients in addition to the MCIU this year:
- Camp Hill School District
- Fairworld Academy
- Abington School District
- Chester Community Charter School
- Southeast Delco School District
- Antietam School District
Increasing PTS Behavioral Health Services’ Presence and Capability
This year, PTS’ Behavioral Health Division really took off.
From its inception, we’ve kept the division focused on quality over quantity, hiring only individuals with a strong background and interest in behavioral health.
Districts came to PTS because they weren’t happy with the quality of support professionals, particularly Registered Behavior Technicians® (RBTs®), other pediatric therapy staffing agencies were sending them. We quickly realized their RBTs needed mandated supervision requirements and ongoing coaching to help them expand their understanding and build a toolkit of strategies, so we worked extensively to meet these needs.
A number of the area’s top Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) also joined the PTS team, providing strong leadership and training for our RBTs as well as for teachers and paraprofessionals in the districts we support.
The addition of Behavioral Health Services has also brought an added dimension to PTS’ programming around self-regulation and sensory processing. Our therapists are currently field testing a new Tier 2 intervention that merges the best of our Super Self Sensory Program with behavioral principles. The goal is to make sure pediatric therapists deploy self-regulatory strategies at the appropriate time instead of using them inappropriately to reinforce problem behaviors.
Investing in Our BudgetWatch™ Technology
This year we took advantage of a unique opportunity to incorporate technical staff members from our chief software development company into the PTS team.
Having the lead developer on staff has opened the door to making our system an even more powerful tool. Therapists can now do their billing from mobile devices.
A client portal, which administrators will be able to use to access a suite of reports, is already in the works.
Continuing PTS’ Mission in Developing Countries
PTS is also continuing our focus on serving students with special needs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We share our wealth of clinical resources with teachers across 17 countries and four continents. In recent years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel to personally train teachers in India, the Dominican Republic, Belize, and this January, Guatemala.
The company has impacted thousands of students by training teachers in basic assessment and therapeutic strategies in countries where “pediatric related services” simply don’t exist. Many of our clients have participated, consulting with some of our schools and helping develop training modules around alternative instructional strategies. We look forward to seeing these efforts continue to grow and expand across the globe.
Diana and I both believe in the saying, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Our shared commitment to supporting the greater special education community has helped make PTS the company it is today.
We could not be more grateful for the amazing team of PTS staff, clients, therapists, and friends who’ve shared our passion for this good work over the last two decades!
And if PTS sounds like the kind of pediatric related service provider you’d like to work with, please let us know! Peruse our currently open positions or call us at 610-941-7020.