Therapy company shuts down after TBI search

Therapy company shuts down after TBI search

March 15th, 2014 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

A sign says the Center for Pediatric Therapy on Jordan Drive in Chattanooga has closed in this file photo.

Photo by Ellis Smith/Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga therapy company shut down unexpectedly Thursday, leaving a sign on the door to notify customers and sending staff members scrambling to find new jobs.

The Center for Pediatric Therapy, headed by occupational therapist Melody Gaston, shut its doors without warning, therapists who worked there said.

"The Center for Pediatric Therapy is closed and will no longer be seeing patients," read two printed signs left on the locked doors of the business at 112 Jordan Drive in Brainerd.

It was unclear Friday why the company closed. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant there on Wednesday, TBI spokeswoman Illana Tate said, but did not shut the business down.

Gaston did not return messages left on her cellphone and no one answered the phones at The Center for Pediatric Therapy. The parking lot was abandoned and the shades were drawn Friday afternoon.

The Tennessee Department of Health's licensure verification database says Gaston's occupational therapy license expired Oct. 31.

DeAnn Sneed, a physical therapy assistant who worked at The Center for Pediatric Therapy for nine years, said she's already accepted a job at another local company, Stellar Therapy Services. She said any of her patients can continue their care with her at Stellar Therapy's outpatient clinic.

"We have a huge clientele, and these children need the services," she said. "It's a big challenge for parents who have been coming and receiving services. It's a routine; when you take that out of their schedule, it can totally change the demeanor of the child."

At least six former Center for Pediatric Care therapists will be joining Stellar Therapy Services, said CFO Holly Christopher.

"If parents are willing to bring their children to our clinic, then hopefully they could follow their therapist," she said.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.