RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center: Five Years and Going Strong

This year we celebrate the five year anniversary of the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, a bright, airy 2100-square foot space occupying the lower level of the RVNAhealth headquarters building in Ridgefield. “A lot has changed in the last half decade,” smiles Gigi Weiss, MSPT, Director of RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services, who has been with the organization since 2009.

“We launched our outpatient Rehab Center in 2016 with a single part-time physical therapist and just over 100 appointment visits per month.  Today, we have five full time therapists and serve close to 500 visits per month. And that’s even with the pandemic interruption.”  When asked what has driven the 500% growth, Weiss responds without hesitation, “Our exceptional therapists and our client experience.”

Top Quality Therapists  

Onward and Upward! The RVNAhealth Rehab Center Team. (Front row: Elaine Hriston-Zech, Sarah Triano, Gigi Weiss, Casey Sarmiere; Back row: Peggy Marlin, Lesa Ciofalo, Jeff Panepento, Kate Campbell; Missing from photo: Susan DiGregorio, ST, Kristine Greco, PT)

Our therapists are at the core of our success. They are the reason people choose RVNAhealth, and the reason they recommend us to others. Since 2016, we have grown the Rehab Center team to include physical, occupational, and speech therapy – and within these domains we’ve developed specialties in joint replacement, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and other neurological conditions, and vestibular therapies.

We are now also focusing on sports physical therapy, where we have expertise in both treatment and prevention. The breadth of our team enables us to deliver a top-notch, personalized rehabilitation experience.  We are committed to giving each client who walks though our doors the attention they need to get better.”

“Many of our Center therapists have also had experience in home health,” elaborates Weiss, “where they are trained to look at clients as a whole, not just on their specific rehabilitative need. They bring this perspective to outpatient as well and that makes a difference in the level of treatment we offer.”

Consistency, Familiarity, Fun

A Team that Plays Together, Stays Together, The Thera-Band in action, Halloween 2019

Since 2016, the RVNAhealth Rehab center staff has grown and evolved, yet the core team has remained intact. “A consistent, committed team allows you to grow and improve,” says Weiss, “plus build synergies that contribute to the overall experience.”

Casey Sarmiere, PT, Outpatient Clinical Manager, agrees, “As a team, we have fun together, of course, and we support each other, and we also value RVNAhealth for the commitment to education and forward progress — both for us as individuals and as an organization. We are encouraged, and expected, to expand our capabilities and knowledge through ongoing clinical education and in return, we are loyal to the mission and the organization.”

Beyond the Therapeutic

Over 95% of RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Center clients say they would highly recommend RVNAhealth for outpatient rehabilitation. And that’s no surprise. “People seeking rehabilitation have a choice in therapy providers,” says Lesa Ciofalo, Outpatient Office Manager. “Those who come to us, choose to come to us. We appreciate that, and aim to deliver not only exceptional rehabilitative service, but also an exceptional overall experience.  We want clients who leave our facility to be delighted by their choice in selecting RVNAhealth.”

Lesa Ciofalo and Gigi Weiss

As Gigi Weiss sees it, the client experience starts and ends with the front desk. “Lesa (at right) and Peggy (above, rocking the orange headband) from our front office are critical.  They manage a full load with the daily operation, but when someone walks in the door, they drop everything they are doing.”

Lesa, who has 30 years of physical therapy experience on both the clinical and office management side, understands every nuance and detail of the operation. From the everyday complexities of office management and insurance reconciliation to the softer side of assisting clients out of cars, holding umbrellas in the rain, or simply offering a compassionate ear – the RVNAhealth front office staff is that first point of contact in a client’s rehabilitation experience and Lesa and Peggy take the role seriously — and personally. Says Lesa, “I treat every client the way I would want my own family treated. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are just another number. Here, in our office, no one is just a number.”

Onward and Upward

As RVNAhealth looks to the next five years of its Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, Weiss is excited by the future.  “The team we are building continues to expand the diversity of our capabilities and specialties.  While we started working primarily with the elder population, who knew us through our in-home services, we have so much to offer to clients of all ages … from the young sports injury to the traditional rehabilitation needs as we age.”



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