CARLSBAD — For those who suffer from a neurodegenerative disease or acute injuries, more progressive health care options are limited.
While there are several facilities throughout San Diego County catering to those populations, a more personalized touch and insurance assistance are focal points for Adapt Functional Movement Center San Diego, located at 2732 Loker Avenue in Carlsbad.
John and Melanie Monteith opened the nonprofit in November 2017 and have since provided an avenue for clients with severe conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS and spinal and traumatic brain injuries with a focus on long-term care and functionality.
“We were always experimenting with different types of things,” John Monteith recalled. “We’re going to look at how your body is responding day after day every time you’re here and try to tailor what we’re doing in the moment.”
Melanie Monteith, 40, was diagnosed with MS in 2004 and kept it a secret for 10 years. But she has steadily become more comfortable openly discussing her disease, which has limited her ability to walk, while also suffering from dizziness, fatigue and weakness.
She and her husband visited countless doctors and tried all forms of therapy, from holistic to traditional methods, until the two stumbled on Project Walk, a now defunct therapy center.
Melanie Monteith said the therapies brought a different level of care and emphasized more movement to prevent atrophy and strengthen muscles, among other benefits.
She had grown tired of the cookie-cutter approach and methods insurance cover. Those processes did not have the same affects as Project Walk, and she noticed a difference with the new approach.
“It was just fantastic and different,” she said. “I went to so many different therapies and hospitals. It was a different kind of caring. They know how to activate things. I actually don’t have any pain because I’ve been working with them for so long.”
So when Project Walk closed its doors in August 2017, John Monteith, 34, said he knew he wanted to continue the mission, with some tweaks. For example, paralysis patients do work out of the chair, while other methods include adaptive surfing, yoga, horseback riding, support groups, meditation, mental health, resistance and treadmill work, to name a few.
They retained much of the staff, who the Monteiths credit for delivering a personal touch and bond with their clients. As for the clients, many had pre-paid with Project Walk, so the Cardiff couple honored those payments to keep them on.
“We did everything we could to make good on that,” John Monteith said. “There were people who had $15,000, $20,000 in pre-paid services that were just gone.”
The two have put in more than $500,000, with $100,000 used as scholarships for those with financial hardships. The financial assistance also allows clients to use the center without worrying whether how much their insurance will cover.
Currently, the clientele is at about 60 people with 10 to 15 visiting patients, who come from other states and countries. And for those out of state, the Monteiths have incorporated therapy sessions over Skype and Facebook Live, which has become a popular tool for reaching more current and prospective clients.
Like any nonprofit, funding is a challenge with the center using traditional methods such as grants and donations to stay afloat. The goal, John Monteith said, is to secure enough funding each year so his clients do not have to pay out of pocket.
Currently, clients pay between $50 and $100 per session, although the financial assistance program cuts the $100 price tag in half, he said.