Partner Feature: Get to Know Rich Kidwell

What was your journey prior to joining ARC Physical Therapy+?

I grew up in Sabetha, Kansas and, from an early age, learned the value of hard work and customer service. My family owned and operated the local Dairy Queen, so I was exposed early on to how impactful hard work and making sure people are getting what they want can impact success.

After graduating high school, I went to Kansas State University and graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and decided to go to Physical Therapy school at the University of Kansas. I was intrigued by the Physical Therapy profession due to my interest in the human body, how the body functioned, and how it could heal. After getting my Physical Therapy degree, I worked in a rural healthcare setting for 4 years which gave me great exposure to the world of Physical Therapy and taught me how to listen to patients to meet their needs. I had a desire to focus on the orthopedic side of Physical Therapy and was recruited to ARC Physical Therapy+ by a former school classmate. 

When did you join the ARC Physical Therapy+ team and what roles have you held at the company?

I started with ARC Physical Therapy+ in 2012 as a staff Physical Therapist at the North Kansas City clinic and remained in that position for 4 years until 2016 when I was promoted to Lead Therapist at the Liberty clinic. I spent 2 years in Liberty until 2018 when I returned to North Kansas City as the Director of that clinic. In 2019, I was promoted to Regional Director and in 2020 became a Partner for the company.

What are your top goals in your current role as Partner?

First and foremost, I want ARC Physical Therapy+ to continue to provide excellent care for all of our patients through getting great outcomes as well as a great customer service experience.

One of the foundational points to achieving that is to create a workplace environment and culture that attracts and retains the best people in every position within the company. This will help ARC Physical Therapy+ to maintain its longstanding reputation for “Redefining Excellence in Healthcare”.  

What is your vision for ARC Physical Therapy+?

Over the next several years, I see ARC Physical Therapy+ continuing to be the regional leader in what being a great Physical/Occupational Therapy company should mean. Our patient outcomes will continue to be the best and patients will have great customer service experiences when they come to us. This will allow us to grow our geographic footprint and continue to be the catalyst of change for other marketplaces, just like we have been for the marketplaces we are currently in.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned in your time at ARC Physical Therapy?

  • Communication is the key to navigating difficult situations
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. It’s not a sign of weakness. Rather, it can be a strength if you are willing to work and use your resources to find the answer.
  • Work is so much easier when you have a team of people that you can trust in, believe in and count on.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

  • Personally-having a family that I love dearly and can’t wait to get home to every night.
  • Professionally-making choices along the way that has led me to be a part of a company that I believe is something special and fully aligns with my viewpoints on how Physical and Occupational Therapy should be delivered.

What three traits define you?

  1. Hardworking
  2. Resourceful
  3. Thorough

What is your personal philosophy?

If you focus on controlling the things that you can control, work hard, and are honest, at the end of the day, good things will happen.

Who opened doors for you?

I feel like I have been very lucky in my life. My parents gave me the foundation to be successful and my wife Abby has supported me along the way. 

What does true leadership mean to you?

Leaders come in all forms and aren’t always in the position of management. Leaders are people who inspire you and make you understand the “why” behind what you are doing and are able to take a group of people and rally them to work towards a common cause.   

What are the top leadership principles that have led to your success?

  1. Never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do.
  2. Set clear expectations and create a culture of accountability.
  3. Ask for opinions and be open to listening to those opinions.
  4. Understand that I am flawed and be willing to adapt and change to situations.
  5. Create a fun and interactive environment.

What do you find most exciting about the PT space now?

I think Physical Therapy is vastly under-utilized in healthcare and has the ability to be a major part of developing a more proactive and preventative healthcare system.

Physical Therapist’s and Occupational Therapist’s are highly trained and should be much more utilized in the early management of musculoskeletal disorders. I think we are starting to see other disciplines and insurances recognize that, which will mean great things for the profession in the future. 

What do you find most exciting about the PT/workers’ comp space?

Workers Compensation is a passion of mine, and practicing in a work comp setting has made me feel at home in the Physical Therapy world. I appreciate the objectivity of the system, through functional training/testing and utilizing job analysis to help guide the decision making process.

Communication and collaboration with patients and the work comp team are vital to successful outcomes. I think there is a trend towards creating healthier workforces, and utilizing things like pre-employment testing, work conditioning, and injury prevention, which is exciting and good for all parties involved. 

What do you do to take care of your team?

I think that it is important that every member of the team is heard and feels like they have the opportunity to give opinions, feedback and ideas. It is also important to recognize the successes of those who exemplify the practices that ARC Physical Therapy+ values.

We have created a system and culture that promotes and rewards those who are working towards the mission of ARC Physical Therapy+. In addition to these things, I also think that it’s important that we never take ourselves too serious and make sure that we take time to laugh, have fun and engage with each other while at work. 

What are the keys to developing the next round of leaders?

We have to recognize that leaders aren’t boxed into 1 construct. Anyone can be a leader, and we have to identify the qualities that each individual brings to the table and how those can be fostered into growth within the company. 

How do you want to impact physical therapy in the Midwest and beyond?

I want ARC Physical Therapy+ to be viewed as a company whose focus is on the quality components of care by creating a therapeutic alliance with our patients to ensure that we are meeting their expectations and goals.

Physical Therapy has become more about numbers and trying to see the highest volume possible and gotten too far away from the 1 thing that matters most: patient care. I think through ARC Physical Therapy+’s influence in the region, we will start to see the pendulum swing back to outcomes based quality care vs volume base care.

How are you involved in the community?

I am active in my church and have been on various committees and been in several different roles within the church. I have volunteered in the past for the YMCA Challenger program and through ARC Physical Therapy+’s Give-Back Day program, have volunteered for Harvesters Community Food Network, Phoenix Family, and United Way.

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