Wendy Coombs is a co-owner of Momentum Health in Calgary.
Calgary’s Business: Can you explain the history of Momentum? And how many locations exist today?
Coombs: Our goal was to offer all rehabilitation services along the full spectrum of rehabilitation from acute injuries to complex chronic injuries and to be accessible to all communities throughout Calgary. We also wanted to be able to provide services to patient populations that have very physical jobs and the potential for a high number of injuries.
Momentum Health is a collection of Calgary-based clinics comprised of Momentum Health Creekside (2008), Momentum Health Ogden (2013) and Momentum Health West Springs (2014), Evidence Sport and Spinal Therapy (2015), Momentum Health Mission (2015), and Momentum Health Westbrook (2015), Momentum Health Mahogany and Evidence Sport and Spine South (2017), Innovative Sport Medicine Seton (2017) and Innovative Sport Medicine Mayfair (2017). In 2016, clinical sites were added at the School of Alberta Ballet, the Alberta Ballet Company and Calgary City Police headquarters. So that totals 12 sites in all.
CB: What does Momentum offer in terms of services?
Coombs: Momentum Health and Evidence Sport and Spine (Evidence), and Innovative Sport Medicine (Innovative) are a group of leading-edge corporations focused on providing integrated health care to the greater Calgary area.
Momentum Health currently provides a range of rehabilitation services including physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, psychology, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and kinesiology services. We sell orthotics, custom braces, nutraceuticals, and exercise equipment.
Evidence has medical doctors providing physiatry, sport and spinal medicine in the form of image guided intervention pain procedures such as prolotherapy and PRP, and physiotherapists working in an advance practice model.
To complete the rehabilitation circle, we have a third group of clinics called Innovative Sport Medicine that provides sport medicine, athletic therapy, and many of the services above. Innovative offers the Rapid Access Sport Injury Clinic providing access to specialized care for sports-related injuries within 72 hours. This service is unprecedented. Never before have Albertans been able to see sport medicine physicians without a referral and at no additional cost.
At Innovative, patients have access to the same doctors who provided care for the Calgary Flames, Calgary Stampeders, Calgary Roughnecks and Calgary Hitmen. In all clinics, we treat musculoskeletal and neurological injuries sustained in sport, work, active lifestyles, motor vehicle accidents, post-operative recovery, and chronic degenerative or repetitive strain injuries.
The level of expertise of our doctors, practitioners and therapists and quality of our equipment is the best available in the current market.
Our unique partnership with researchers at the University of Calgary for dance science and concussion research allows for the knowledge translation of current evidence-based practice in our injury prevention screening programs, and educational workshops which results in our clinical teams providing the most up-to-date care available.
CB:What are the company’s plans for the future?
Coombs: We opened up all three health-care models in the south last year. Our plans are to help as many injured Calgarians get back to work, sport and life as quickly as possible so we really want to grow those clinics in Seton and Mahogany and bring all of our programs there.
CB: Are there any particular areas of health care that you see growth in the future?
Coombs: We have had success in really understanding the specific physical demands and common injuries found in specific sports and careers. We would like to be more involved in prevention. Often with elite or competitive athletes we are treating just so we can keep them actively performing in the sport. We would like to expand our pre-sport and pre-employment assessments to identify areas that are prone for injury and prevent the injury from happening in the first place. We have the ability to decrease WCB claims and increase performance when given the opportunity to assess and train early.
CB: As an entrepreneur, what has been your biggest challenge?
Coombs: Startup costs and the resulting financing requirements is the biggest challenge. The cost to build out a clinic has only been increasing year over year, as has the rent in new buildings, business tax, and minimum wage is driving up all staffing costs. At the same time, employers in Alberta are cutting medical benefits for their employees, or people are unemployed without benefits and we haven’t seen any significant increase in the legislated rates for WCB or motor vehicle accident rehabilitation. So the net effect is decreased revenue and increase expenses. The same challenge that industries outside of health care also face right now in this city.
Our business continues to grow because people can plan a staycation or delay getting a new car, but when quality of life is impacted by illness or injury, they need to seek treatment. We have to work even harder to make sure they can afford our services and get quick access to cut down the time they are off work and sport. Having all the disciplines working collaboratively helps to accomplish this for our patients.
– Mario Toneguzzi