Dr. Marcia Perretto had been a semi-professional figure skater in Brazil. At the time, she had good days and bad days physically, but didn’t know why. It wasn’t until she had a tear in the connective tissue in her right hip that she began the journey towards a new understanding of her own body, and ultimately a new career.
Dr. Perretto had her right hip repaired in 2010 and her left hip repaired in 2012. Then, just five weeks after her second surgery, her first repair failed, leaving her wheelchair-bound and unable to walk. With that, a cascade of other symptoms was unleashed. “They didn’t know why I was not healing the way I should or why I developed all the other systemic symptoms,” Dr. Perretto says.
Her chances of recovery were poor–not only because she’d had the surgeries so soon after one another, but also because of the other complex symptoms she was experiencing. But her surgeon gave her a clue: he said her connective tissue was very delicate, and it seemed like she had a collagen fiber problem. “And with that, I did my very first Google search,” she says.
Dr. Perretto started reading research studies on collagen fiber problems and came up with a diagnosis for herself–Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS)–as well as a new plan for her recovery.
“Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is still very misunderstood and underdiagnosed, and it’s more common than everyone thinks,” Dr. Perretto says.
She was so successful that even before she was fully back to work, her surgeon asked her to help with two of his other patients. “He was like, ‘Whatever you did to yourself, I need you to do that to these two women because I don’t know what to do with them,’” Dr. Perretto says. “And that’s how the whole thing started.”
In 2013, Dr. Perretto found a small space in an executive suite in Boca Raton, Florida, and started working with patients a couple of times a week–while continuing her own rehab. And so began Actify Physiotherapy and Wellness where Dr. Perretto and her staff help patients with Joint Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes, as well as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) recover through specialized physical therapies and Pilates rehabilitation.
Today, Dr. Perretto still works out of the same building, but has expanded to a 1200-square foot suite.
After about five years in business, Dr. Perretto was introduced to Clover by a former patient. She’d previously used a competitor, but found Clover to be more affordable for her business, based on her transaction volume. “It’s a good thing to be able to do offline transactions as well, because if the system is down, we can still charge patients,” Dr. Perretto says. “And it’s clear, everything we’re paying for in fees and the cost of the transactions, everything is so transparent,” she says.
Medical billing can be complicated. Dr. Perretto says Clover’s POS system helps her offer her patients a fast, simple, and transparent way to pay in the office at the time of visit. That keeps billing simple. What’s more, it offers the ability to easily find past transactions for insurance purposes. She also uses Gusto with her Clover system to help her keep track of payments to both contractors and employees.
Today, Dr. Perretto has a thriving practice, with three therapists working for her, as well as an operations director, PR support, and a research team based in the UK. “I think it’s going to be a little bit of a breakthrough once we actually publish our findings,” she says. She’s also published a book, Unlocking the Secrets to the Hypermobility Puzzle, and she’s working on building out online courses, both live and prerecorded.
“A lot of patients are still in limbo without having a diagnosis,” Dr. Perretto explains. “That’s what I advocate for.”
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