Saint Thomas rebrands part of rehab group

Health system moves offerings out from under Baptist Sports Medicine umbrella

Saint Thomas Health Services is rolling out a new brand to house several of its therapy offerings.

The launch of Life Therapies hives off physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services from Baptist Sports Medicine, the well-known moniker under which they were grouped two years ago. Trent Nessler, managing director of STHS’ Outpatient Rehabilitation Services unit, said the move reflects the idea that the traditional sports therapy environment falls short for patients dealing with dizziness or the effects of cancer treatment.

“It became evident pretty quickly that we do a lot more than traditional sports medicine,” Nessler said. “We knew that, at some point, we would have to split off those services.”

Nessler’s new group has grown considerably in the past year. It launched a women’s health therapy line last summer, has added pediatric therapists in Murfreesboro and recently recruited six therapists from Vanderbilt’s Stallworth specialty hospital. In all, Life Therapies now employs 27 therapists – almost as many as Baptist Sports Medicine – who are seeing about 800 patients per week.

Life Therapies clinics in Midtown, Green Hills, Brentwood, Spring Hill and Murfreesboro quietly opened their doors two weeks ago. Most have the same address as their Sports Medicine siblings, although they are separated and designed with a warm, spa-like vibe than spartan bright lights, creating an atmosphere Nessler said more conducive to dealing with the mental aspects of therapy.

Co-locating with Sports Medicine clinics helps keep down operating costs, but Nessler wouldn’t disclose Saint Thomas’ investment in Life Therapies remodeling work. Going forward, he plans to expand the Life Therapies concept across Saint Thomas’ regional network – and perhaps beyond to parent company Ascension Health’s near-national footprint.   

“Once people get the idea for what this brand is, we could have a huge impact on the system, but also across the country for other providers,” he said.