This case study examines the only physical therapy practice in the country to be structured as a worker cooperative. Founded in 2010 by 12 coworkers who left their previous employer to start their own practice together, PT360 has grown to become the largest independent physical therapy practice in the state of Vermont. It now has 36 employees.
This case study shows, first, that cooperative ownership can support business profitability and growth. Director Deborah Harris says: “We prove that worker cooperatives can make money.”
Second, it illustrates how a cooperative’s democratic governance structure gives worker owners the opportunity to organize for and vote through improvements to a parental leave policy to benefit working families.
Third, the case study suggests that its cooperative structure may help the physical therapy practice address challenges, such as patient retention and management issues, that are common across the physical therapy sector.
The physical therapy industry in the United States is worth $40 billion and is expected to grow in the coming decade as the baby boomers age. By combining effective management with democratic governance and shared ownership, PT360 is pioneering an innovative organizational structure that benefits staff and patients alike. Its pioneering path may point the way for others in the field.