How This Acquirer Frees Up Their Partners to Focus on Clinical Excellence
This week, Paul talks with Steve Windwer, CEO of Bay State Physical Therapy, about his philosophy of long-term partnerships
and the strategies they utilize. Listen in as Paul finds out how Bay State’s approach helps their partners
focus on what really matters: clinical excellence.
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**Transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence.**
Good afternoon, and welcome to another episode of Paul Martin's crucial conversations. Today we are so excited to have with us, Steve Wynn, whenever Steve is a physical therapist and a chiropractor and he is currently the CEO of Bay State Physical Therapy.
Baystate is a private equity backed physical therapy company that is based out of Randolph, Massachusetts, and Baystate currently has 90 plus clinics in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Steve, it is great to have you here with us today.
Paul, thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it and great to see you and happy New Year.
Happy New Year to you and I know our audience is always on the edge of their seats wanting to know folks like you and you especially and kind of how you perceive what's going on out there, as well as what you guys are looking to accomplish, you know, in this pretty incredible market that's out there.
Yeah, the markets, it seems to be changing every day with, you know, big announcements. And, you know, I think it just lends to, you know, physical therapy is is really getting the attention it that it deserves.
And it's an exciting time, we’re having a lot of fun up here in New England and, you know we're on a nice growth trajectory and just really, really enjoying it.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, you keep those clinics nice and warm through this winter. How do you know, Steve? Our clients often ask us three. Let's call them big questions when a new acquire enters the market. I know you guys aren't brand new, but you are certainly younger and newer than some of the legacy companies out there.
And the first question that they ask is, is the strategy for Baystate to for becoming to become a successful company in this industry? Is it different from the strategies that the larger legacy companies are following?
Yeah. Well, I think so. You know, first of all, I'm a physical therapist, so I think having a provider led organization is is different. You know, some of the bigger players in the marketplace, they're business people and Europe.
I'm a pretty, you know, the folks we're talking to in your audience they're all PTs. And so I understand what happens in the trenches and I understand health care.
I think the second thing that really differentiates us is our manager, partner model. You know, we have the opportunity for, you know staff that have grown through the company to become partners. And certainly when we're looking to acquire, we're looking for partnerships, we're not looking for acquisitions. And then, you know, kind of displacing people. We're looking to join with people.
So I think that's a real. Differentiator for us and it's been, you know, very welcome.
So these are long term relationships with P.T. Chiropractor too. Maybe chiropractor as well and looking for those long standing relationships where you have a partner going forward and they have a partner going forward, is that is that accurate?
Absolutely, yeah. And so, you know, our model is again very, very unique. We're interested in long term relationships. We're looking for folks that align with us culturally. You know, we're a patient first type company. Meaning, you know, we're not a nine to five outfit. You know, folks who join us have to understand that it's patient first. It's all about access, it's all about their experience and it's all about outcomes. And so if we get alignment with folks that are interested, then things work really, really well.
So Steve, what are some of the characteristics of a company that you believe would thrive by joining your company and becoming a partner?
Yeah. Well, the first one is to make sure our culture is aligned, right? They have that same patient, first attitude. They're aligned in the fact that they believe should be at the top of the funnel, taking care of musculoskeletal injuries, you know, way before patients are sent for MRI's and surgeries and put on opioids. And so if they have a strong philosophy there that those are, you know characteristics that we're looking for and believe that, you know, having access and experience, you know, patient experience and outcomes are, you know, most important.
But, you know, I think, you know, a good candidate for us is, you know, someone who really wants to grow. But is just so bogged down with the day to day aspects of running a small business. And, you know, if we can take things off their plates and. And come with resources and allows them to grow, then it's a it's just a great match.
Steve, So. What are some of those things that you can take off their plate? If you look back over your last couple of partnerships, what are some of the big items that you can kind of pull off the plate of of a former owner?
Yeah. So a lot of the partners that we're talking to are so bogged down in our issues, right? So we have our own H.R. department here. You know, paying bills, you know? You know, accounting, finance, marketing. We just, you know, have a fully built out platform that allows us to scale those things. And now these folks can really focus on patient care, growing their business and expanding their business.
You know, so when we take on a partnership with somebody, if they have one or two offices, our idea is to say, how do we get to office number three and how are we going to get to office number four? And so by, you know, kind of taking away some of the day to day headaches that they have, it really allows them to play offense as opposed to just trying to put out fires. You know that they've got to deal with on a day to day basis. And you know, we have a number of recent partnerships that, you know, it just worked beautifully.
These folks are so happy that they've come on board and and are growing great. So it's it's working.
Yeah, and it's interesting what you said, and it doesn't surprise me being a physical therapist and a chiropractor is that you said, you know, maintaining this the continued level of clinical care kind of the way they do it, but it may be the choice of a better word.
Here might be not this word, but, you know, kind of plug and play on the things that most business owners in private practice really don't like doing. You mentioned H.R., you mentioned billing collections, you mentioned, you know, when you're going through a start up, how you guys can help with leases and those kinds of things.
So yeah, I think that's that's a refreshing look for someone in the future as opposed to I'm selling my business to know I'm going to partner and I'm going to take some of the things that I'm may not be great at and leave it up to those who are really great at it and do what I do best.
Exactly. You know, our preference is to partner with folks. We're not looking to buy somebody's business. And then then what? You know, who's the who's the leader there? We're looking for, you know, folks who want a partner and become leaders in their regions and help us grow. You know, our big vision is to to really build an access network in New England so that we can really make a difference. So. So as we're as we're doing that, you know, the goal really is to talk to, you know, insurance companies and health systems and start to move ourselves up that food chain so that we're, you know, seeing patients a lot sooner because we know as pets, if we see them sooner, the the their results are going to be better. They're going to have less, you know, unnecessary surgeries, less opioids and certainly the court.
The downstream costs for health care are going to go down. So our value prop is amazing. And it's, you know, it's not an easy task to do. And we're just really proud of the accomplishments we've we've made so far. And, you know, certainly looking for folks to join with us and, you know, join our vision.
So the third big question that our clients typically have is for you is your approach to acquiring a company. And we're talking about the nuts and bolts, the structure of the process that they go through to sell the business to you guys.
How would you say that it's different from the approach that's used by some of the larger legacy companies and who would be served best by that approach?
Yeah. Again, I think the our approach is different in that we're looking for partners. We're not just looking to acquire an entire business. We're looking for folks to stay on with us even if it's towards the end of their career so that they have an exit, but not to leave the business.
That's not what we're looking for. So that's, you know, very, very different and certainly you know, we're not just buying anybody. We're looking for acultural fit. They've got to they have to have that kind of patient first attitude. They have to have, you know, they have to be growth orientated. They want to have to want to grow with us personally and professionally. And so you know, I think that makes us different.
And our manager partner model is just different so we can create opportunities for their staff to grow with us. So if we, you know, come to a region, let's say, you know, in New York. And you know, um. You know, acquire a practice there. We want to give their staff an opportunity to become managing partners as well. And so it's I think it's very different in the marketplace. It's it's it's worked really well up in New England and we're looking to expand it.
Yeah. So as you look to some of the former owners that are currently working at Baystate. What do you think their observations would be about the culture of Baystate? How would they describe it?
So I mean, I think our culture is is patient first. I think it's fun. I think it's very growth orientated. And I think they would say we move quickly. I think that's our culture. I know, you know, the folks that we've partnered with particularly would just, you know, kind of say, these guys do what they say, they're going to do that there's a tremendous amount of integrity. And again, you know, we have those folks that are just, you know, had one clinic and now I'm thinking of two or three of our new partners or we're opening their second and third clinics. And it's just it's really exciting because they're growth orientated and they couldn't kind of get out of their own way because they were so busy playing Whac-A-Mole with all the issues that were coming up in in their in their neck of the woods. Exactly. And now we're, you know, we're growing and it's it's just really exciting.
Yeah. You know, two things that you said there struck me. first of all, you were able to do that very poignantly quick, decisive, very decisive. We find that those who really know what their culture is, they're very decisive about it.
But the two things that jumped out to me that you said was having fun and look, studies show that when you're having fun, you learn better. And we find that many of these former owners, they want to become former owners because they want to learn, they want to grow, they're not retiring, they're not hanging it up.
So that was interesting. And in the second was, you do what you say you're going to do. And boy, that goes a long way. Not just physical therapy industry, but any industry.
Absolutely. I mean, it's one of our core values is integrity.
Awesome. Yeah. So how do you think their view of, you know, kind of, you know, every seller has a view of what the future could hold for them? You know, what's this going to look like? How do you think that view has changed since they've actually joined your company?
I mean, I think, you know, I think they're really pleased because everything that we kind of portrayed to them, meaning taking, taking the billing and collecting off their plate and taking the issues off their plate, you know, giving them the ability to grow, those.
Things are happening. So I think they're thrilled. And again, I'm thinking of two or three in mind that that are recent partners that are just, you know, they're static. So, you know. I think, you know, it's also nice to take a little off the table after you've worked.
You know, 15, 20, 30 years to to to put some in the bank and but still maintain a, you know, a real strong income and have an opportunity for for another another payout when when the time is right that they're going to retire. So I thin kfor a lot of folks in that in that range That are, you know, are looking to de-risk a little bit. It's it's it's a great opportunity.
Yeah, awesome, awesome. So, you know, this is a question we also get pretty frequently, which is, you know, how does a company like Bay State and a leadership team like Bay State, how do you determine what geographies you will or will not grow in and whether it's startup or acquisition? How do you determine geography?
Yeah, that's a great question, Paul. I think, you know, there are a lot. Of companies out there that will just Buy anything, anywhere And that we are not that company.
You know, we're concentrated in New England. Certainly, we are Looking at New York And New Jersey and Delaware and Pennsylvania, as you know, extensions We believe having density is important, but you have to start somewhere. So as we enter new markets, our goal is to really create some, some local density. So that's how we look about look at it. You know, the other day something came up and I don't know, Texas or Arizona, like, you know, because we're going to get calls just like anybody about, you know, deals that are coming up. It's like, No, that has no interest us. So we're not out there just trying to, you know, put dots on a map that don't make any sense. We're really trying to build density.
Sure, absolutely. So what advice would you have, Steve, for a business right now and an owner that's preparing for this market? What do you think is most important for their preparation to enter into this market?
That's a great question. Certainly to call you to make sure that you know that haveall of their boxes are checked. But you know, when you go to market, you know what we're looking for beyond, you know, the first thing. We're looking for is the people and to, you know, make sure there's a cultural fit. After that, you know.
They've got their numbers have to make sense, right? So they have to be buttoned up from a, you know, from a reporting standpoint to be able to show, Hey, this is what we've done over the over time. You know, we had a blip with COVID. This is where we're at. This is where we're growing. And you know, so the reporting is really, um, you know, the financial reporting is really important.
So, Steve, do you find that if you're working with a company and there are delays that come up, delays in getting the right financial information or a delay in getting the right operations data delays in the process that you may have to take another company and put them in front of that company in terms of timing. How important is it for these companies to come to a business like yours? Let's call it delay free.
Well, I think it's very important. You know, the more prepared they are, the more buttoned up they are, the easier the process is for everybody. Right. There shouldn't be any surprises for anybody. And so if you know, if they've got their you know, you know, kind of their their boxes checked. It makes their life easier. It makes your life easier. It makes my life easier. And yeah, there's, you know, we're out there. You know, obviously, we want to grow.
But again, for us, the most important thing is cultural fit. And so if we have that, you know, I'm hoping will be, you know, patient. But it's it's dependent. I would say it's it is important, though, if you're going to go to market, you know, have your ducks in line, understand that you know, someone that's looking at you is going to want to know why was there a dip here?
How come things grew here? What were you doing differently and have, you know, reasonable, you know, answers to those types of questions?
Sure. Sure. Well, Steve, look, I really appreciate you spending the time with us today, and I am really confident for our audience that you've provided them with a lot of great information. If they have questions, certainly, and if they're directly for you, Steve, we can certainly pass those along to you.
So feel free to click below and send us an email or give us a call and we can answer questions. And Steve, I really appreciate your time with us today.
Paul, I appreciate you having me on. And for those in the audience, Paul's been someone that I've looked to for advice over the years and has provided great counsel and and it's been a, you know, we've utilized some of his services and is obviously, you know, someone that's, you know, kind of an icon in our field. And I'm just flattered that I was asked to be part of this and I really appreciate the opportunity.
Thank you, Steve. I really appreciate that. There's kind words and we'll be talking to you again soon. And for the audience out there again, click below if you have a question and let's talk. Thank you.
Do You Need an Acquirer
who is a Regional Expert?
Last week, Paul spoke with Steve Windwer, CEO of Bay State Physical Therapy. Watch this episode to learn how an acquirer with a regional focus can improve your business's growth