Thanks to a new clinic now open in Roseburg, Douglas County children and families have the option to have their pediatric therapy sessions much closer to home.

Lee and Stephanie Wagers of Eugene have opened a Roseburg office for their Connect the Dots Pediatric Therapy Clinic for kids under 18. The office is located in the former home of Court Appointed Special Advocates on Southeast Stephens Street.

The Wagers, who own the Connect the Dots Pediatric Therapy Clinic in Eugene, found that a lot of patients were coming from Douglas County, so they looked for a site to set up a clinic in the Roseburg area. Based on the number of requests from Douglas County, the Wagers could see there was a big need for the services.

“We’re a pediatric therapy clinic that includes speech and in the near future, physical therapy, as well,” Stephanie Wagers said.

Finding staff for the facility was an issue, and last spring, they actually hired a pair of employees from the Roseburg area, to work in the Eugene clinic. Now they will be staffing the Roseburg facility part of the week, and the plan is that those two will eventually be in Roseburg full-time. That's making it a lot easier to staff the Roseburg clinic.

“It’s hard to find therapists in Eugene, let alone Roseburg, and now they won’t have to commute to Eugene either, so it’s a win-win for the therapists and the patients,” said Stephanie Wagers, who is a licensed and registered therapist herself.

The therapists will still spend some time in the Eugene facility until the client list has built up in Roseburg. They have a partial case load for occupational therapy already, but expect it to grow rapidly when they have completed refurbishing the building and have it fully staffed.

Speech therapist Andrea Botwinick once operated an Oregon Scottish Rite clinic in downtown Roseburg before leaving to work in Salem. When she got a chance to come back to Roseburg and work for Connect the Dots, she was thrilled.

“My first true love is working with kids, and working in a clinic setting is awesome, partly because you get to work with the parents to transition the skills into the home,” Botwinick said. “And the other thing is, in the clinic I get to work with other therapists, and being able to work on therapy plans together to help the kids grow, is a great experience having that team approach to treatment.”

For kids, occupational therapy means learning everyday things that children need to do.

“They’re more related to play, school, dressing, and bathing, so when either the child is delayed or has a diagnosis that impacts those areas, we come in to specifically build those areas up, like getting them to walk or crawl,” Stephanie Wagers said.

The clinic, open in Roseburg since earlier this month, expects to expand with a full-time occupational therapist by the second week of December.

The Wagers say the caseload at the clinic will depend on how well they are able to staff it.

Mercy’s pediatric rehab at CHI AIM Therapies changed its focus, going back to just doing pediatric assessments so it left a gap in service for many Douglas County patients.

“They still service pediatric patients, it’s just that they provide different services now,” said Kathleen Nickel, from Mercy Communications. “We continue to see pediatric patients for acute medical conditions and they do more long term therapy.”

So the Wagers are trying to fill that need.

“The goal short term is to try to get to about 45 to 50 occupational therapy appointments a week,” said Lee Wagers.

He said it’s important for people to check with their insurance company to see what they cover. Most patients need to be referred by a physician for insurance purposes and people can call the Connect the Dots office to find out if a referral is needed.

Stephanie Wagers said they’re excited to offer the service for the community. She said they take their job seriously and if parents have concerns about their child, it’s best to have them checked.

“If it’s a developmental concern, we’ll be able to either rest their mind at ease, or provide some help,” she said.

Connect the Dots Pediatric Therapy Clinic is located at 1000 S.E. Stephens St., Roseburg. Information: 541-900-1418.

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Reporter

Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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