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OccuPro helps injured workers return to jobs
KENOSHA FIRM’S SUCCESS STORY

OccuPro helps injured workers return to jobs

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OccuPro helps injured workers return to their jobs

Carmelo Tenuta and Jim Mecham, co-owners of Occupro pose at the business. They developed software and the business to help injured workers return to their jobs.

After years of helping injured athletes get back onto ball fields and courts, Carmelo Tenuta, the owner of a chain of sports physical therapy clinics, wanted to expand into new turf — helping injured workers recover and return to their jobs, or new professions.

Despite his success working with athletes, he realized his new mission would require much more than the standard programs on the market. He was willing to spend to get the right tool and training program.

He initially hired Jim Mecham in 2002 to develop the software he needed. It took seven years, and more than a $1 million investment, university research and long hours of trial developing and refining a one-of-a-kind software package.

“He worked on the software, tweaking it, using results of university studies and focus groups to develop the package,” said Tenuta. “He continued to grow the system. The old product was paper based with complicated paperwork.”

Seven years after joining the company, Mecham became a partner and the software package that originally was being developed for Tenuta to use in his own therapy clinics, became a marketable product to sell to others.

“The genesis was to create a product for our clinics, Sports Physical Therapy,” said Tenuta. “When we saw how successful it had become, we knew we had something that others would want.”

Developing the software system became Mecham’s own personal mission. “We always wanted to have technology that was better than what was on the market,” said Mecham. “This has been a marathon instead of a sprint.”

That package became OccuPro, a comprehensive, multi-faceted Functional Capacity Evaluation software system that helps doctors, employers, physical therapists, insurers and others in the healthcare arena to access a workplace injury, prescribe a therapy care program and determine varying levels of rehabilitation. The system helps patients and their care professionals learn the level of their work capacity.

“FCE is a system that will tell a doctor and an employer if a person is ready to return to work and tell what level of work capacity they have. If a person is off for six months, the software will tell what percentage of recovery they have obtained,” said Mecham.

Tenuta said the system has so many job descriptions that it can provide an accurate assessment of the worker’s ability to perform certain tasks during the rehabilitation cycle. “It has thousands of job descriptions. It produces a portfolio of assessment and rehabilitation systems and procedures to help reduce workplace injuries and promote recovery.”

“The product speaks to insurers, employers, doctors, therapists and is important in determining workers compensation issues,” said Tenuta. “It helps to prescribe what type of therapy a patient need.”

“A person can have the same injury, but the FCE is designed to provide an accurate assessment of a person’s work capability. For example, an office worker with a knee injury will be assess differently than a knee injury for a construction worker or for someone who has to climb up and down stairs or lift a heavy load.”

The pair formed a second company in 2009 and dubbed it with the same name as the software system, OccuPro, that is located at 3921 30th Ave. The company has therapists, trainers and sales professionals. The company also produces Return to Work and Post Offer Employment Testing software.

One of their first clients was the nationally respected Cleveland Clinic. Then the first big sale came to a physical therapy company with clinics across the country. OccuPro is now used in 1,800 different medical facilities including those in South Africa and Ireland.

Earlier this month, OccuPro announced it had won its first government contract, a $461,934 award to provide an evaluation software system and training for the U.S. Army’s recovery care program.

“We help the injured return to a career,” said Mecham.

“We’re passionate about helping people get back to a life of work,” said Tenuta.

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