Apple Physical Therapy keeps bodies in motion

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NORTH BEND - If your body is ever in a pinch, strain or pull, Joe McVein wants to see you.

As the clinic manager of Apple Physical Therapy in North Bend, McVein specializes in getting bodies back to their normal, healthy states.

Pain may bring people to McVein, but ingenuity got Apple Physical Therapy to North Bend. McVein was working out of a physical therapy practice in Seattle that once treated the Seattle Supersonics when he moved to North Bend eight years ago. At the time, there was only one other physical therapy practice in the Valley, and it was located in Snoqualmie. McVein saw the need for another clinic and contacted Apple Physical Therapy, a practice based in Puyallup. He brought representatives from Apple out to North Bend for a look and even showed them a possible location on Main Avenue. The representatives agreed with McVein and in July of 2000, helped open Apple Physical Therapy, the only location Apple co-owns with anyone else.

One of the main reasons McVein approached Apple was a principle he shared with them about one-on-one care. As opposed to a practice that squeezes the largest possible number of patients into a single day to see an assortment of aides and assistants, McVein said he wanted to give each patient individual attention.

"When I was working downtown [Seattle], I would see 35 patients a day," he said. "Here, it's just me and the patient for 45 minutes."

McVein says he also doesn't want to milk anyone for more visits than are necessary. He said the average number of visits a patient will make to his clinic is 9.1, which is lower than the national average.

"We try to get you healthy and out the door," he said.

McVein is eager to get people off treatment, but he sends each patient out with exercises so they can continue to work on their health at home.

The clinic specializes in outpatient care for people who suffer from pathologic problems or are recovering from an injury or surgery. The treatments increase the range, motion and function of the body. In addition to injuries, the clinic also treats stroke and cardiac patients.

If people are unclear as to what physical therapy can do for them, McVein works with medical providers to keep doctors up to date on what treatments he offers, and what progress his patients make.

Apple also does the leg work in dealing with insurance companies. Part of the upside of being part of a larger company has been the ability to send all insurance information to a verification center that can figure out what care is covered by what plans before a patient arrives for their first treatment.

"I know exactly what they have and they know exactly what they have," said front office coordinator Chris Grina.

McVein's appreciation for a sound body came from being a life-long "jock" who played college basketball and 135 international games while on the U.S. National Handball Team, which included trips to the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. There is a picture in the Apple office of McVein at the 1984 Olympics standing next to a young Carl Lewis and a freshmen basketball player from the University of North Carolina named Michael Jordan.

McVein and his wife, Kelli, both coach youth sports and McVein has started to offer basketball jumping clinics at Apple, as well as a program to help golfers improve their swing.

Whether it's improving a basketball player's vertical or the range of motion of a patient's shoulder, whatever keeps someone's body in good shape will continue to be McVein's business.

* Apple Physical Therapy is located at 249 Main Ave. S., Suite E, in North Bend. Call them at (425) 888-8862.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at

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