Growing Demand Spurs New Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinics

Published in Dome - January/February 2019 Dome and Restore - Winter 2019 Restore

Johns Hopkins Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has opened four new outpatient therapy clinics, with more expansions and openings on the way. 

Over the last few years, clinics have opened along Baltimore’s perimeter: in Odenton, White Marsh and within the Coppermine Health & Fitness Center in Timonium, where therapists have access to an indoor aquatic therapy pool. In addition, a specialized clinic for musicians and dancers has opened at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. 

In February 2019, Columbia, Maryland, will get a fully integrated clinic with orthopaedic surgery, physiatry, pain management and rehabilitation therapies. A 24,000-square-foot Johns Hopkins Musculoskeletal Center will also open in 2019 in the new Pavilion III building of Green Spring Station, north of Baltimore, and the existing 6,000-square-foot Pavilion II clinic will be upgraded to focus on oncology, neurology, pelvic health and other specialties. 

The new locations will help grow the Johns Hopkins Rehabilitation Network—a network of PM&R services across the Mid-Atlantic region consisting of three inpatient locations, 10 outpatient locations and specialized pediatric services. “The new clinics will increase community access to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy, where we anticipate patient volumes of 100,000 or more visits per year,” says Ken Johnson, director of outpatient rehabilitation therapy. 

Reasons for increased demand, says Johnson, include an aging population, the strong reputation of Johns Hopkins and recognition that patients benefit when they stay within Johns Hopkins facilities as they transition from inpatient care to outpatient therapy. 

“Our reach and our reputation are bringing patients from farther and farther away,” he says. One such patient is Olivia Kane, a Princeton University soccer midfielder sidelined with chronic Achilles tendinopathy. 

At Green Spring Station, Johnson treats the injury with TECAR (transfer of electricity through capacitive and resistive tissues), MyACT (myofascial acoustic compression therapy) and photobiostimulation with laser. He uses an anti-gravity treadmill to analyze Olivia’s gait. 

Johnson, who is in frequent contact with Olivia’s Princeton trainers, also uses surface sensors and biofeedback to help the 19-year-old strengthen her hips and legs. 

After a year of unsuccessful therapy elsewhere, the Kanes turned to Johns Hopkins, the only clinic with the equipment and expertise they wanted. 

The ambulatory clinic growth is particularly beneficial to patients who require highly trained therapists, says Marlis Gonzalez-Fernandez, vice chair of the department’s clinical operations. In addition to advanced therapy services for sports medicine, it is also important to consider the specialized programs that the network can offer patients with special needs. 

“I tell my patients with amputations not to choose a clinic that only does orthopaedic therapy,” Gonzalez-Fernandez says. “They need to learn how to use the device, what it can and can’t do, and how to put it on. If they get therapy at one of our sites, I know if the intervention is helping or not, and we can manage their care accordingly. 

“The good thing is, as we get more and more sites, my patients will have more options.”