Children’s Therapy Clinic, Inc. (CTC) was chartered as the Kanawha Society for Crippled Children and Adults in 1935 and was incorporated in 1951. In 1969 it was renamed the Cerebral Palsy Clinic. Finally, in 1986 its name was changed to the Children’s Therapy Clinic, Inc., to reflect an expansion of therapy services to all children regardless of disability. During this time, CTC served children from twelve counties with the majority of the clients from Kanawha and Putnam counties. CTC treated all children regardless of ability to pay. However, the Clinic billed Medicaid and other third party payors for those children having insurance coverage.
In 1996, CTC began to experience extreme financial difficulties when Medicaid and other third party payors implemented dramatic changes in the reimbursement structure for children with chronic disabling conditions. CTC was not able to absorb the financial impact of these changes. As a result of this situation, a majority of the clients CTC served were being seen with little or no reimbursement to cover the cost of providing the service.
In January 1998, CTC, facing a deficit of more than $20,000 a month, was within days of announcing its closure. Recognizing the importance of the Clinic’s services to the community, the Kanawha Coalition for Community Health Improvement arranged for special funding to keep the Clinic open so that a plan could be developed to preserve children’s therapy services. The Coalition put together a committee made up of representatives from Children’s Therapy Clinic, United Way, State of West Virginia, CAMC, CAMCARE, Thomas Memorial Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, and Shawnee Hills to develop this plan.
In June 1998, CTC and Shawnee Hills entered into an agreement under which Shawnee Hills agreed to provide therapy and other services similar to those previously provided by CTC. Children’s Therapy Clinic maintained its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status and became a fund-raising and advocacy organization for the children it previously served. Unfortunately, Shawnee Hills faced the same financial difficulties in serving this population as CTC and ceased providing service in April 2000.
The clinic’s board of directors worked diligently throughout much of 2000 with the Kanawha Coalition for Community Health Improvement and United Way to find a way to reestablish children’s therapy services in our region. This group determined that children having the means to pay and/or having adequate health insurance coverage could purchase services through private therapists/groups. However, a formal needs assessment conducted by Ryan, McGinn, Samples Research Group for CTC identified a large segment of economically disadvantaged children that did not have any place to go for treatment. This group was chosen as the target population for the resurrected Children’s Therapy Clinic. In addition, it was decided that a free clinic model would be the most cost-effective way to provide services.
Knowing that the Clinic would have to raise 100% of its budget through general fundraising, private contributions and grants, several changes and cuts were made to bring the operating budget within a reasonable range. Children’s Therapy Clinic reopened on April 30, 2001 as a free clinic for children with developmental disabilities. Since reopening, the Clinic has been inundated with calls from parents and other providers seeking services for more children than the Clinic has the funding to provide.
After 9 years as a free clinic, CTC began billing insurance for those clients who have some coverage and established a sliding fee scale in 2010. Clients whose income is over 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) pay a fee ranging from $5-$50/session. Therapy services remain free for almost 75% of the clinic’s clients whose families’ incomes are below 200% of the FPL. With this change, we hope to continue to grow and be able to lessen the wait time for services.