After graduation in 1962, a young man by the name of Clem Eischen entered the world of physical therapy. The profession would never be the same!
Clem spent his first year practicing with a friend, splitting his time between clinics located in the Lloyd District and at the Oregon City Hospital. He branched away from his partner the following year, and entered East Multnomah County.
Being one of only two physical therapy clinics, SportsCare did very well, and began to grow exponentially. Within a number of years, Clem had turned SportsCare from a building with two therapists into a business with six clinics and nearly 30 employees.
Providing quality care for all individuals was Clem’s objective, but that was not always possible. The inability to reach all patients caused Clem to be very active on the legislative level. During his 10 year stint as a board member for the American Physical Therapy Association, Clem spent many hours away from the clinic traveling between Oregon and Washington DC.
The purpose of his travel was to promote and fight for the rights of private practice Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists. His initial goal was to tackle the issue of Medicare, and give therapists the ability to treat and bill individuals who carried this insurance. After several appearances before an abundance of important figures, Clem won the battle for himself and all he represented. For all his exceptional contributions on both the national and sectional levels, Clem was presented with the Robert G. Dicus Award, which is the highest honor granted by the committee each year.
Clem also spent a great deal of time working with the youth. He had a close relationship with Grant High School, along with many others in the area. He implemented the backdoor policy at his clinic, allowing young athletes to receive treatment without an appointment, and at a reduced or no cost rate. Clem spent 20 years working at both the Oregon high school state basketball tournament and the annual Shriner’s Football Camp.
Physical therapy clinics were not always full of the fancy, state of the art equipment we see today. Early in his career, Clem was limited on instruments and supplies. Available at SportsCare on a day to day basis were ultra sound, electrical stimulation (very painful until HiVolt was established), whirpool, heat and ice. This left Clem to rely on his two most important tools for treatment, his hands. With the help of one assistant, Clem would regularly treat 30-35 patients every day. Many of these patients had the benefit of being treated daily, at a rate of five dollars, which was billed to insurance if one was provided. This daily treatment was encouraged because it allowed patients to get better faster.
SportsCare has grown drastically over the years and now consists of well over 40 employees, including Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapy Aids, Athletic Trainers, Massage Therapists, Hand Therapists, and office, billing, marketing and accounting personnel. In 1995 Clem handed the business over to his son and current co-owner, George Eischen, PT. Clem claims he is “retired,” but continues to enjoy treating patients from home, and volunteering at local high schools with the track and field programs.