Why is Exercisabilities a 501c3 nonprofit?

Many times a week I get asked, “why did you become a nonprofit?”  I usually say, “because we are here to care for people, and it made sense to do that as a nonprofit.”  Although, admittedly, the answer is quite broader than that.  And, maybe the question is much deeper than that.

What does being a nonprofit business mean?  Well, society usually has many different answers to this.  Factually, a 501c3 public charity is generally defined by the IRS as an organization which receives a substantial portion of its revenue from the general public or from government and has a mission that provides needed services for the good of the public.   One of the most distinct provisions unique to Section 501(c)(3) organizations is the tax deductibility of donations. 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations[2]. Also, many states allow 501(c)(3) organizations to be exempt from sales tax on purchases, as well as exemption from property taxes.  Although the IRS and the state of MN declare that a public charity should receive a substantial amount of revenue from public and government funding, the exact percentage amount is not defined.  In fact, it is strongly encouraged that nonprofit organizations think of themselves as a business with responsible financial management and establish income streams related to their nonprofit mission (income dollars not related to their mission may be taxable according to state and federal law) such as sliding scale fees.  At the end of the day, nonprofit’s have expenses just like any other for profit business.  Payroll, rent, administrative costs, heat, air, snow removal are all expenses that are not always worthy of donation or grant support but a reality for any organization that needs to be paid if they want to keep the doors open.  It is very important to remember that without funds to cover these real operational costs, your favorite nonprofit would not exist.  For more on this, watch this TEd Talks by Dan Pallotta.  It is a very compelling talk that will change your donor mindset forever.

As for Exercisabilities and the decision to become a nonprofit, making money for profit in the medical industry comes with many financial and ethical considerations.  First,  it is true that we seek reimbursement for all of our services.  First and foremost, we must keep the doors open and operationally must collect an income.  This reimbursement comes from many different sources including medical insurance, private payments (especially considering deductibles and co-insurances), or the county and state of MN waiver program. It took nearly $1,000,000 in 2016 just to keep the lights on and the staff paid well enough to be competitive in the work force.   For those of you who know, we did amazing work in 2016.  It would have been impossible to raise $1,000,000 without seeking reimbursement.  However, what does our reimbursement look like?  We run about 60%-70% Medicare/Medicaid casemix.  For those of you in the medical industry, this is very high.  Our Medicare reimbursement is at cost meaning that we get paid exactly what it costs us.  MN medicaid pays us $10 below our cost of providing care.  This means that we hare often receiving just at or below our cost to deliver care.  This = no profit.  But, it is enough to keep our doors open and do what we do well every day.  But, does it allow us enough to do any charity work.  No.

So why do we need donations to support our mission? There is a gap.  There is a huge gap.  There are people like R.J.  She has chronic pain.  It is debilitating and severe.  She has worked to improve it for years.  She is working hard to stay off narcotics and to live a socially fulfilling life, as well as earn a living at a job.  She has tried everything.  But what she has found works best is a great combination of gentle exercise, meditation and relaxation activities, and regular PT visits to work on many aspects of her pain both physically and cognitively.  Jared has helped her considerably to overcome her pain and return to work.  One day, her insurance said that they would no longer pay for her PT or provide any reimbursement for exercise classes – what has worked.  Without PT and access to affordable exercise instruction or equipment, she regressed.  She could no longer go to work, and no longer make a livable wage.  This is the gap that we see time and time again.  How can we help one person at a time return to a life without pain, with better mobility, with the ability to walk again. The stories could go on for days.  BW had a stroke in his cervical (neck) spinal cord at age of 58.  He was preparing to retire from a life of laboring hard at work, successful at both work and family.  He was single and his kids are all grown and moved away.  He was left as a 6 foot 8 inch tall quadriplegic.  He had some ability to move his legs, but not enough to stand or walk given his tall frame.  His arms were left unusable.  He had to move to a care home, get a power wheelchair that he could propel with his chin, and just sit there.  He became stiff and pain filled his body as the staff were unable to provide enough physical or social outlets for him to move.  He no longer qualified for Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy as he was now on Medicaid and all his savings depleted to zero.  There were no reimbursement for him, he was stuck.  One day, he found EA!  We worked to get BW out of his house and into an environment that he could move and exercise.  His pain went away and he could work on activities out of his wheelchair that made him move.  He loved it!  He got stronger and was better able to tolerate sitting all day.  He wanted to come to EA everyday.  We have been able to shift him to the Forever strong program now and he atleast comes 2 days a week.  With our fundraising efforts, we hope to get him to us more.  We got him out of the gap and feeling a part of his community again. He is healthier and happier.

What do we need to keep filling the gap?  Our Forever Strong Program is the answer.  Once our participants are done with what their insurance or therapists say is the end of their skilled, reimbursed PT/OT, they need another step.  A next phase where they keep coming and getting stronger, more socially interactive, and can learn to maintain their high physical level that was gained in PT or OT.  If they stop, they will certainly lose everything that they gained.  If they continue, our results show that they are healthier, happier, and better able to participate in their community without falls and hospitalizations.  This can save our local medical system millions of dollars in health care costs.  The Forever Strong Program can potentially partially funded by the county waiver program through the state of Minnesota.  In 2016, we became a 245D licensed facility so that we could help our participants access these funds. Thanks to this, we have started serving 31 individuals through this partially funded program, and the rest of our cost has been supported through our generous donors and grants.  In 2017 Q1-Q3, we served 31 individuals multiple times per week. However, we were only able to provide a portion of their recommended frequency due to needing to manage inadequate donation amounts to fully support the program.  The great news is that we provided 32 hours per week and provided $260/week of donated funding which equaled $14,000!  This is a great start for our first year!  Unfortunately, we currently have a huge list and are not fully providing the amounts that are recommended by the physician and therapist due to not reaching our fundraising goals yet.  Our goal is to provide for 100 clients in our forever strong program who fall into this gap of no reimbursement and poverty level financial status.  This will require nearly $300,000 per year in fundraising efforts in order to meet our goal.  How can you help?  Become a friend, attend our fundraiser, share the word about the great work that we are doing.

Attend our November Fundraiser or donate today!  We look forward to seeing you on November 10, 2017 at Somerby Golf Course at 6PM for Rock for Recovery.  Also, look for our online silent auction and participate even if you cannot attend the gala!

Mayo Clinic gives a grant to support our Forever Strong Program

June 30, 2017 – Rochester, Minn. — Melanie Brennan announced today that Exercisabilities received an important grant from Mayo Clinic for the support of their Forever Strong Medical Fitness and Rehabilitation Program.

“Without donations from the community such as this, many of our clients with difficult physical abilities and medical conditions would not be able to afford access to this level of assistance with their ongoing rehabilitation and wellness.  The assistance that we provide is no longer covered by insurance but is greatly needed by all of our clients on a regular, lifelong, and long term basis”,  said Dr. Melanie Brennan, CEO/Founder.

About Exercisabilities, Inc

Exercisabilities is a 501c3 nonprofit company.  Our staff of 13 skilled Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, and Exercise Specialists strive to inspire individuals of all ability levels and ages to reach their full potential.  This important work reaches more than 1,000 community members and is growing at a new space at 2530 Broadway Ave N.  Keeping our community healthy and active, Exercisabilities programs improve our participants ability to interact more fully with the community and significantly reduces health care costs related to the potential side effects of illness caused by immobility.


About Mayo Clinic


Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,000 physicians and scientists and 46,600 allied staff work at Mayo which has sites in Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Mayo Clinic also serves more than 70 communities through the Mayo Clinic Health System. Collectively, these locations treat more than half a million people each year.


For more information, visit: www.mayoclinic.org

Exercisabilities is hiring!

Job Description: Physical Therapist/PT Assistant May 25, 2017

Exercisabilities, Inc is a progressive, young, and growing nonprofit practice in Rochester, MN.
Exercisabilites, Inc is a physical therapy and medical fitness facility with a unique model of
blending physical therapy with medical fitness to service special populations including
neurologic disorders, geriatrics, and chronic pain management for all ages. We also offer
aquatic therapy, group exercise and specialized personal training, NRN based neurologic recovery for SCI and brain injury, PWR! parkinson’s exercise, and a falls prevention program.

We are looking for a PT or PTA for a temporary position part-time 15-20 hours per week to cover a 12 – week maternity leave starting in July, 2017. This position could have future potential for permanent employment following the temporary assignment.

As a team member at Exercisabilities, Inc, you will:

– Work as a team with the exercise staff in transitioning patients to our exercise programs.
– Be a participating member of the physical therapy team
– Accurately and thoroughly document patient care findings
– Maintain high level of professional conduct maintaining confidentiality and excellent patient care.
– Demonstrate continuous improvement seeking new knowledge to both advance your career
goals as well as your quality of professional interventions and interactions through many
avenues of learning with journal readings, education sessions, and asking questions of peers
both in and out of work time.

– Degree from an accredited Physical Therapy or PTA School with active MN License
– Previous 2 years experience with geriatrics, neurologic, outpatient orthopedic, and/or aquatic therapy desired or internship at Exercisabilities
– Strong interest in working with many different diagnoses in a community based setting.
– Good organizational skills
– Ability to work as a team
– Communication skills that include receiving feedback well, being open to direction and advice
to change treatment plan, and active listening skills
– motivation to improve current skills and learn new skills that may not be current mainstream
physical therapy approaches but are research and evidence based
– Ability to be motivating and positive to all clients of all ages and abilities
– Confidence in clinical skills and independence

Please apply at Exercisabilities, Inc

info@exercisabilitiespt.org or melanie@exercisabilitiespt.org

A Trainer’s Perspective on Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

By Zach Curry, CPT

I have been working with clients who are living with Parkinson Disease for the past three years now. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go or how I was going to feel about it. All I had ever heard when it came to Parkinson’s was that it was a neurological disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia and that researchers were trying to find a causation and a cure.


ExercisAbilities Parkinson Wellness Recovery Moves 2 class                       

Exercise and Parkinson

When I first started with my clients I was a bit timid, I mean after all these people had this disease that affected their motor skills and I didn’t want somebody getting hurt during one of my classes. However, the more I got into the class the more I realized that people living with Parkinson Disease are not looking to be coddled. They want to be pushed, they want to be challenged because they know that’s how they will improve. The more we worked out of our comfort zone (always thinking safety first) the more we improved. Not only were they working hard but they were consistent. They came to class at least three days a week; and when they left for vacation they would exercise on their own. Intensity and consistency seem to be the formula for success when it comes to exercise and  Parkinson’s.


Benefits of Socializing

ExercisAbilities PWR! Moves 2 Class

Exercise without a doubt is one of the most important factors for those living with PD who are seeking some relief. However, in addition to exercise one of the biggest factors I noticed for improving mood and overall well-being was camaraderie. Every time we get together I hear them asking each other about different symptoms someone may be dealing with, asking about each other’s family, discussing different research they may have read. They build each other up, they encourage each other to work hard, to put in a big effort and they even tease each other a little bit (only when they aren’t teasing their instructors though).

They aren’t just workout partners to each other, they are someone else they can depend on, someone they can go to when it feels like no one else truly understands what they are going through. It becomes so much more than just a fitness class, it becomes a place of relief. They are there for each other through the highs and the lows and for now, that’s what beating this disease is about. It’s about standing side by side and fighting it as one.

Medical Fitness for Parkinson Disease

If you have a loved one living with Parkinson Disease I highly suggest enrolling them into a fitness class, especially a class that is specific to Parkinson’s. It may not be a cure but it will improve their quality of life.

ExercisAbilities offers Parkinson Wellness Recovery Moves courses, PWR! Moves. These include a gentle chair-based PWR! Moves 1 class, a high-level PWR! Moves 2 class and PWR! Boxing. Classes are Monday through Friday. See Exercisabilitiespt.org for schedule and call 507-259-7570 to schedule your free fitness assessment to get started.


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

Yoga Comes to Exercisabilities!

Exercisabilities is excited to add Yoga to our class offerings in May!  Sara Atkinson, formally of Breath Yoga Studios, will begin to offer classes in our mind body studio on May 16th.  She brings more than 10 years of yoga teaching experience in the Rochester area.   Classes will include many different types of yoga with a focus on breath and movement awareness.  Sara has worked in consultation with Dr. Melanie Brennan, DPT, to develop themed classes around specific areas of the mind and body that may need addressed for decreased pain, improved movement, and emotional balance.  Her classes often have a combination of Pranayama (breath work), Vinyasa (move with breath), Yin and Restorative Yoga.  See the attached schedule for May and June for class listing.  Classes include Integral Yoga, Breathwork and Yoga for Pain Management, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Neck, Shoulders, and Back, Yoga for Emotional Balance, Yoga for Better Balance, and Back Care and Core Strength.

Classes are just $10.00 per class or $45 unlimited class 1 month pass.  Take advantage of our Mind Body Intro Offer of 50% off your first session OR your first unlimited class 1 month pass!  To see the full schedule online and register/pay,  go to get.mndbdy.ly/s1ud/3x8jQZJZBr to get the Mind Body Mobile App or  or click here  to view the schedule online.  You can also call our office at 507-259-7570 to register.  Drop in’s welcome if space allows.

We will see you on the mat!