Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rehab Clinic Sees Big Potential in Clay

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rehab Clinic Sees Big Potential in Clay

Article excerpt

Mark Taylor earned a degree in political science at the University of North Florida in 1990. But the Orange Park man has made a career out of helping people overcome severe injuries, strokes and other debilitating ailments.

Today, as regional director for 16 clinics in North Florida owned by Heartland Rehabilitation Services Inc., Taylor runs programs that help thousands of patients improve the quality of their lives through exercise.

"I did this part-time while working my way through school," Taylor said Tuesday. "I realized there was a great deal of potential for this type of business. Looking at the demographics, it was clear to me that there were pockets of underserved areas in Jacksonville and Clay County."

He set out to fill the void in 1989 by opening a rehab clinic in Middleburg, later joined by a second clinic in Orange Park and two others in Jacksonville, all of which were bought by Heartland in 1997.

"By strategically placing our facilities in Clay and Duval counties, we knew that we would be able to succeed," Taylor said.

The company started with the Middleburg Rehabilitation Clinic in the Middleburg Family Medical Center near the Ravines Golf and Country Club. After branching out into Orange Park and Jacksonville the name was changed to MRC Rehabilitation Services.

But after five years in the Enterprise Park office complex on U.S. 17, the Orange Park clinic moved last weekend and reopened Monday morning a few blocks away at the Village Mall shopping center on Kingsley Avenue.

"We simply outgrew our existing space," Taylor said. "When we opened in 1995 we only had about 600 patients a month. Now, we have between 1,100 and 1,200 per month."

Virtually overnight the clinic more than doubled in size -- jumping from 4,000 square feet at Enterprise Park to 8,500 square feet in Village Mall in space once filled by a fitness center.

In addition to larger offices and a bigger lobby, the new clinic now offers a fully equipped gymnasium.

And use of the facility is not limited to patients in need of physical, occupational or speech therapy. Memberships are available to anyone.

The swimming pool is expected to get a lot of use by patients and non-patients alike in water aerobics and special classes for people with arthritis.

"We had 23 people signed up for the program before we even moved over here," Taylor said.

Two of the clinic's four physical therapists have undergone a 12-hour training program certified by the American Arthritis Foundation to conduct the classes, including Kenneth K. Lisicki.

"We'll be holding classes primarily for people 55 and older in six-week bouts, two to three times a week," Lisicki said. "They'll be in the water about an hour each time doing basic range of motion movements to improve general mobility. …

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