Hard times can harden people’s hearts, making them feel surly and stingy. Or they can inspire individuals and businesses to really see the needs in their community.
Ben Wobker, co-owner of Redmond Physical Therapy, has three friends who’ve recently lost their jobs.
So this holiday season, Redmond PT is offering somewhat of a pardon to patients who miss appointments without calling to cancel them. If they bring in four items of non-perishable food for Hopelink’s food bank, the usual No-Call/No-Show fee of $20 will be waived.
This policy took effect on Nov. 22 and continues through Jan. 1.
“We don’t have a huge cancellation rate,” said Wobker, “and the $20 fee is more like a slap on the wrist. Many doctors and therapists will charge patients the full fee (for an office visit) if they don’t show. But we’ve had a good response, so far. It’s not like a punishment for missing appointments — it’s more like an opportunity to help others.”
Patients have asked, “Do the four items I bring in have to add up to $20?” No, said Wobker, but many patients are voluntarily bringing in more than four items.
Wobker grew up in Redmond, attending Horace Mann Elementary, Redmond Junior High and Redmond High. Then he “bucked the trend” and went to University of Montana instead of University of Washington, he joked. His parents still live on Education Hill and “I rarely see patients that don’t have some connection to someone I know. People come in and say, ‘Oh, I’m your mom’s friend!’”
Referring to Redmond, Wobker said, “It’s a big community but has a small-town feel.” Choosing Hopelink as an agency to benefit from the practice’s food collection seemed completely logical. “I wanted to keep it very local,” he said.
With a staff of six physical therapists, Redmond PT serves about 40-50 patients each day. They treat all orthopedic conditions, sports/recreation and spinal injuries and were one of the first clinics on the West Coast to get an aquatic treadmill system to speed recovery. Wobker called that a big investment which has been very helpful in rehabilitation.
He added that a unique thing about working in Redmond, aside from his hometown loyalty, is that “we have a very educated clientele.”
When they come in for therapy, they’ve likely done some research about their medical problems and they ask very intelligent questions.
“It keeps it challenging,” Wobker said with a smile.
The Hopelink food drive isn’t the first philanthropic venture at Redmond PT.
Their Web site lists many charities in which they’ve been involved. Wobker said he might reinstate the option of food donations in lieu of missed appointment fees again sometime in the spring — because there will be hungry people in Redmond then, too.