business matters
Denise Tabacchi has worked as a mobile physical therapist providing house calls over a 20-year period. She runs Health Spectrum Inc. and treats patients within 30 miles of Saxonburg.

Mobile Magic: Physical therapist comes to you

Denise Tabacchi has worked as a mobile physical therapist providing physical therapy house calls over a 20-year period, but one thing never changes: Many people don't know that their health insurance will pay for her services.

She is an approved provider for Original Medicare and Highmark and accepts other insurances as well.

“I offer this amazing service that people don't know about,” said Tabacchi, whose business is Health Spectrum Inc. “There's no extra cost, and I come to you.”

Tabacci is almost always on the go, working with patients anywhere within a 30-mile radius of Saxonburg. She works with teenage patients on up to the 90s, and sometimes sees athletes who are rehabilitating from injuries. Tabacci, who played softball in college, said she can relate to their competitive spirit.

“I understand that they want to rehab and get back in action as quickly as possible,” she said.

Tabacchi said she typically sees patients one to three times a week for a period of four to six weeks.

“I love to help people,” she said. “I've always been that way, even going back to when I was a kid. My goal is to help patients improve; basically, I'm trying to work myself out of a job.”

Right after Tabacchi finished school, she worked in physical therapy outpatient settings, but she soon learned that wasn't the right environment for her.

“I walked into the waiting room one day and there were six patients there, including two brand-new patients who had been scheduled for the exact same time,” she said. “I said to myself, 'This isn't right. This isn't how I want to do things.' “

Tabacchi, who grew up in the North Hills, started down her own path in 1996 and had gone completely mobile by 1998. She's much happier than she was working in that overbooked setting.

“My patients get my undivided attention. They get individualized care,” she said. “I'm not a factory. I give patients the care they need.”

Mary Ann Wenzel, who was a patient of Tabacchi's for about six weeks this summer, can attest to that.

“She's very friendly. She pushed me beyond what I would push myself,” Wenzel said. “She knew what exercises would help me, and then we'd go for a walk and my back wouldn't hurt.

“I've been to a lot of physical therapists, and they didn't do what she did.”

Tabacchi said she used to provide care to some patients on a pro bono basis, but she is required to charge patients now because she accepts insurance.

“Before I go into someone's house, if they tell me what kind of insurance they have, I can help them figure out in advance if they'll just owe a co-pay (if any), a deductible, or what their responsibility is,” she said. “So many people have this benefit and don't know it.”

Most people with Original Medicare and a good supplement don't have to pay anything more than their deductible for the year (if it hasn't already been met).

Not everyone whom Tabacchi works with is rehabilitating after an injury.

“Some patients I work with look and seem really fit, but their balance is off for some reason. I can help them figure out why,” she said.

Mary Jo Hendrickson's mother was having balance problems when Tabacchi began working with her last year. “She comes into your home and does a full assessment and comes up with an exercise plan,” Hendrickson said.

“I was so impressed because you could hear in her voice that she really cares about the people she works with. I highly recommend her.”

As with everyone who works in the medical profession, Tabacchi has had to take extra precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she said she hasn't let that limit her.

“I just want to help people feel better,” she said.

Tabacci said that because she is a mobile therapist, there are times when she can't answer her phone, but anyone who would like to learn more can call 724-360-0011 and leave their name and number; she will return the call within 24 hours.

“There is a lot to gain and nothing to lose when you call,” Tabacci said. “I just want to help as many people as possible.”