Staying healthy JAG Physical Therapy’s Gallucci sees himself as clinician first, but his business model is thriving, too

Brett Johnson//July 17, 2017//

Staying healthy JAG Physical Therapy’s Gallucci sees himself as clinician first, but his business model is thriving, too

Brett Johnson//July 17, 2017//

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Five years ago, in NJBIZ’s last checkup with physical therapist and entrepreneur John Gallucci Jr., he was determined to convey that he preferred the title of “clinician” to “businessman.”

Gallucci saw his approach to operating JAG Physical Therapy as being more in line with the former.

Since then, the business of being a clinician in New Jersey has changed a lot.

He never changed his tune.

“We went through a period in which corporate physical therapy attacked the area and ultimately everything was predicated on insurance,” Gallucci said. “We predicated it on outcomes for our patients, regardless. Insurance reimburses based on outcomes now — the point we’ve always been at.”

But it takes at least a bit of a businessman to double your firm’s size in those five years, as Gallucci did.

In its 13th year of operation, JAG Physical Therapy has about 200 employees and almost 17 locations (with two coming soon, to Wayne and Brick). Only 13 of those locations are in New Jersey, which itself is symptomatic of the health care industry’s evolution and Gallucci’s plan for survival in it.

“For us to have more sustainability in today’s health care market, we wanted to be larger and more regional, so we grew into New York, too,” he said. “In building (JAG Physical Therapy) into more of a platform, we’re looking at opportunities in adjoining states now.”

For the former medical coordinator for the New York Knicks, continuing to thrive as a business allows him to deliver on the promise of the entrepreneurial-type environment he gives employees.

“Being able to sustain is important,” Gallucci said, “because we’re building a business with a culture of employees that are offered long-term growth, a way to take on managerial positions after starting anywhere. If we don’t truly offer growth for employees, we’re not doing a good service for them.”

The creation of opportunities to grow within the company was a feature noted by EY in the accounting firm’s selection of Gallucci as one of its regional Entrepreneur of the Year winners.

“Ultimately, it was a mission that the judges of that contest were enamored with, (as well as them being) impressed we were able to sustain in the health care market we’ve seen in past decade,” he said.

Gallucci’s JAG Physical Therapy truly has been a success story in the most mutable time for the health care market.

And, less comfortable than some entrepreneurs can be after achieving success, he’s watching anxiously watching for what’s next for the health care market — and calculating at every step how it will affect his company.

Whatever is to come from Capitol Hill, he hopes people like him are the main stakeholders. People who prefer to be clinicians, that is — not businessmen.

“Hopefully, we see true providers of health care engaged in making the community healthier,” he said. “As long as they get to do their jobs instead of worrying about rules changing every day because of attorneys and businessmen, the nation will be a much healthier community overall.”

Jersey vision

Ernst & Young selected John Gallucci Jr. as one of a number of New Jersey entrepreneurs that will go on to compete for additional recognition in the organization’s annual nationwide Entrepreneur of the Year contest, which is decided in November, ahead of a global honor that is bestowed the following year.

The accounting firm already has given out a special recognition — what EY calls a Visionary award — to a local as part of the contest. Ralph Zucker, president of real estate firm Somerset Development, was the recipient of that accolade for his firm’s work on the former Bell Labs headquarters in Holmdel.

In a project that Zucker refers to as Somerset Development’s “crown jewel,” a facility that functioned for decades as a research and development base was re-engineered as the multi-use space it is today.

“We thought of it as an entirely new class of real estate — what we call a metroburb,” Zucker said. “(The real estate) industry is particularly a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ sort of business. We wanted to think outside the box with this one, take some risks.”

After nearly a decade of getting financiers and everyone else to take the same leap of faith they were making, the metroburb called Bell Works is welcoming its first tenants.

“I think it raises the bar on what space like this can be,” he said. “And we’ve already demonstrated that if you envision a great place, people will come.”