Physical Therapy Marketing: Identifying and Allocating Expenses in Your Practice

Physical Therapy Marketing: Identifying and Allocating Expenses in Your Practice

To maximize your income, you need effective marketing methods and proper allocation of the the expenses in your practice. In this article, Nitin Chhoda shares different ways to identify and calculate the expenses in your practice.

physical therapy marketing strategiesAssembling a team of reliable advisors and consultants is an excellent beginning to effective physical therapy marketing and management, but what therapists won’t learn in any medical school is practical information on money management and how to allocate expenses.

Operating a physical therapy business requires anticipating future trends, successful marketing endeavors, determining the cost of providing services, and planning ahead for foreseeable and unexpected expenses.

Effective Physical Therapy Marketing Is Important

Physical therapy marketing is the key to increasing the number of patients needed to meet income goals and finance the practice.

The most successful clinic owners utilize automated systems that can be customized to take advantage of traditional and mobile marketing opportunities that includes Clinical Contact, Therapy Newsletter, along with electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

Assets, acquisitions and depreciation are all terms with which therapists will quickly become acquainted. To remain profitable, therapists must determine the value of their time and services, even their physical therapy marketing strategies and what their clinic requires in terms of monthly funding to stay in business and implement capital projects.

Record All Your Expenses

All expenses must be accounted for, from labor and electric to equipment and office supplies. Direct costs related to a specific service, such as in physical therapy marketing, product or equipment procurement are obvious.

Clinic owners that want to add new equipment can shop around for the best products that fit within their budget and will work to pay for themselves in the shortest amount of time.

Determine Rates of Depreciation

Practice owners will also need to determine rates of depreciation and how assets will affect the value of the clinic.

Indirect costs are more difficult to quantify, can fluctuate monthly, and include items such as office supplies, cafeteria/break room costs or even cleaning supplies if the task isn’t contracted to an outside agency.

Start Allocating Your Expenses

Physical therapy marketing strategies that consume phone services, electric usage, and heating and cooling costs are all expenses that can vary widely and for which funds must be allocated.

No matter what method is utilized whether physical therapy marketing is included or not, the objective is to spread the expense across the patient base as equally as possible, to do so consistently and to have a physical therapy marketing plan in place that addresses the overall financial health of the clinic over time.

Some therapists choose to allocate costs based on individual departments or the employees within those divisions. Expenses can be allocated on the square footage of the practice or the number of labor hours expended.

physical therapy marketing ideasAnother way of allocating expenses can be implemented by establishing percentages for each department based on its contribution to the practice’s overall gross profit.

When a department is the only one that benefits, that department shoulders the entire expense.

If the expense, like physical therapy marketing expense, is shared by two or more departments, each bears a portion of the cost.

Practice Management and Its Fundamentals

Practice Management and Its Fundamentals

Some practitioners forget that regular monitoring of activities plays a vital role in determining the success of the practice. They feel that continuous cash flow is enough to determine that the business is thriving.

Nitin Chhoda reiterates the importance of the practice fundamentals and how reviewing of detailed information on the practice is valuable.

practice managementOne of the fundamentals of health care practice management is working smart, not hard. For many therapists, practice management is one of life’s great mysteries.

Some clinicians hire expensive firms to manage their clinics, while others prefer a hands-on approach.

What EMR Has to Offer?

EMRs offer the tools to manage a practice as efficiently as any high-price practice management firm, while allowing clinic owners to keep a finger on the pulse of their business.

Information is knowledge and EMRs provide a wide array of data, facts and statistics to market any practice successfully.

The goal of any physical therapy practice is to be a financially sound enterprise with growth potential. Practice management and business owners have been taught to offer patients the best treatments possible, but they don’t receive training in how to manage a clinic.

They spend endless nights trying to decipher an array of disjointed information, arrange it into a coherent whole, and decide how to best use it for the clinic’s benefit.

What many don’t want to acknowledge is that their practice is a business and it must be operated as one.

Reimbursement claims have to be submitted in a timely manner, delinquent accounts must be addressed and payments collected from patients.

Even asking for money that’s legitimately owed can be an extremely unpalatable task of therapists of a practice management.

An EMR offers the tools to accomplish all those tasks and provides a whole office solution that will place practices on a pathway to profitability and efficiency.

Lessons to Learn

The first lesson to be learned through practice management is that a clinic may appear to be solvent on paper, even as it’s experiencing an exhausted cash flow. Therapists should view every encounter and opportunity as a marketing tool. Networking with other medical professionals is an important source of referrals and increased revenue streams.

In a well-managed practice, therapists know exactly how much it costs to provide a specific service, attract new patents, and pay the bills each month. EMRs provide the tools to track and monitor the best payers, clients who are most likely to self-terminate treatment, and referral and retention rates.

practice management fundamentalsA practice management and physical therapy documentation systems ensure billing and coding is being conducted that provides clinics with the highest level of reimbursement.

Marketing is an essential part of practice management if a clinician is to grow the business, retain current clients, and persuade new patients who need services only in a specific clinic can provide.

Physical therapists know about the best treatments for their patients, but often feel lost and adrift when contemplating marketing strategies. Practices differ widely and there’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula, but the key ingredient is to stand out above the dozens of clinics vying for the same customers.

Therapists Must Always Keep in Mind

Perhaps the most important rule of practice management is never become complacent. It’s the difference between practices that are simply surviving and those that are expanding and regularly adding new patients.

Complacency has killed more practices than any other factor. Therapists must constantly strive to reach new clients, improve their range of services and become the clinic that others heartily recommend.

Practice management encompasses an extensive number of tasks, from scheduling staff and submitting timely reimbursement claims to communicating with patients and providing treatments. EMRs provide the tools to accomplish all those jobs efficiently and with an increased level of productivity, allowing therapists to work smart, not hard.

Healthcare Practice Management Best Tools

Healthcare Practice Management Best Tools

Nitin Chhoda shares the best tools that can help the healthcare practice management succeed. He emphasizes that the tools should cover the four areas of the practice; Marketing, Scheduling, Documentation and Billing.

healthcare practice managementHealthcare practice management is no easy task, but the right tools will make it considerably easier.

Integrated EMR

An integrated EMR provides the resources to address customer service, finances, human resources, patient care and risk management for a whole practice solution.

Healthcare reform and the mandatory implementation of an EMR are changing the way therapists conduct business and practice owners must have the appropriate tools to meet the challenges of operating a 21st century practice.

There are dozens of EMRs available, with more than 150 healthcare practice management tool options that encompasses everything from patient portals and billing, to disease management and disaster preparedness.

From Scheduling to Billing

It’s essential for an electronic system to integrate within the office infrastructure. At the very least, therapists require healthcare practice management tools in four areas that address billing, marketing, scheduling and documentation.

Those four areas serve to increase revenues and offer a higher level of customer satisfaction, both key facets of a successful practice. Those tools allow therapists to cater to a clientele that’s mobile and assists in attaining the highest level of efficiency and staff productivity.

The technology exists through EMRs to automate tasks, interact with patients and assign staff where they will be most effective.

healthcare practice management toolsThe process begins with scheduling when a client contacts the practice. There are only so many hours in the workday and each available appointment should be filled.

Efficiency of Technology

Modern technology provides the means to fill openings more efficiently, based on whether the client’s visit is their first or a follow-up, the reason for the patient’s visit, and the clinician’s notes.

EMRs for healthcare practice management can be automated and streamline the entire process.

Documentation is an essential part of every practice, affecting treatments, ongoing care and payments to the clinic. EMRs are compatible with tablets for optimum portability and offer the ability to create custom documents specific to individual practices.

Documentation is the key ingredient for correct coding and billing of health care practice management. The financial stability and profitability of practices relies on submitting the right codes for reimbursement and EMR systems keep errors and rejections to a bare minimum.

Whether funds are collected from self-pay patients or insurance companies, it’s a time consuming process. It’s much easier with an EMR and provides coding and billing experts with access to therapists’ notes and medical information to assist in the billing process.

EMRs Provide Complete Information

Payers want to know the full story behind a client’s complaints, treatments and the steps taken to return them to health. Electronic documentation of healthcare practice management provides that information, speeds the billing process, and ensures quicker reimbursements.

Integrated electronic systems capture a wide range of information that can be used to devise more effective marketing campaigns. Advertising and marketing a physical therapy business or other healthcare practice management is more complicated than in decades past when a clinician would simply run an ad in the local newspaper.

Today’s therapists must be able to reach patients using multiple modes of communication that includes email, voice and text messaging. EMRs provide the information needed to target specific groups utilizing a variety of demographics.

Every aspect of a physical therapy practice is interconnected. Healthcare practice management tools that recognize that symbiosis provide an integrated solution that facilitates the tasks associated with each individual department, connecting them in a meaningful way for the overall efficiency, productivity and financial stability of the business.

Clinicians avail themselves of new breakthroughs in equipment and treatment methods, and electronic systems are another tool in a therapist’s arsenal of healthcare practice management.

Healthcare Practice Management: Top Legal Blunders to Avoid

Healthcare Practice Management: Top Legal Blunders to Avoid

Lawsuits in a healthcare practice are sometimes unavoidable, although they can be minimized.

Nitin Chhoda states that everyone in the health care practice must be knowledgeable enough to avoid ignorance and negligence of the practice which can affect its performance.

healthcare practice managementAny practice owner knows how quickly they can run afoul of the healthcare practice management system and require the services of an attorney.

Horror stories abound about clinics that have been forced into bankruptcy or completely out of business due to patient lawsuits or failure to comply with the many complicated state and federal regulations that must be met.

Good healthcare practice management takes into account the endless possibilities for legal issues that can crop up. At some point during every clinician’s career, they’re going to need expert legal counsel.

Legal Representative

Some clinics retain the services of legal representation on staff, but it can present a financial hardship for small practices with limited assets and budgets. Most therapists think in terms of patient lawsuits, while the specter of regulatory blunders usually doesn’t enter their field of vision.

Most practices encounter issues with HIPAA regulations concerning violations of privacy, failure to respond to inquiries by Medicaid, fraud and the handling of overpayments. There are specific procedures for dealing with each instance and healthcare practice management therapists often don’t even realize they’ve made a mistake or are in violation.

The most common way therapists encounter legal problems is through HIPAA regulations. It’s essential for at least one healthcare practice management staff member to have a thorough understanding of HIPAA rules as they represent the most common mistakes and are the easiest to avoid. It’s money well spent for the overall good of the clinic and will save countless headaches in the future.

HIPAA and HITECH Laws

In combination with adherence to HIPAA regulations, therapists face risks through the HITECH Act. The act provides funding for more vigorous oversight, allowing infractions and violations to be located quicker.

The HITECH Act also imposes stiffer fines and penalties for those healthcare practice management that is caught violating any part of HIPAA regulations.

Contracts are part and parcel of healthcare practice management. Therapists will enter into contracts with staff members, hospitals, physicians, labs and product vendors.

The list is virtually endless. One of the most frequently encountered problems is the non-competition clause. The term can take on endless meanings for a practice, depending on who the clinic owner is contracting with and if the other party is offering similar services to multiple providers.

The best way to avoid healthcare practice management potential problems is to ensure all communications are open, honest and every nuance is clearly spelled out in detail. That’s where legal representation becomes an invaluable resource for eliminating misunderstandings and conflicts.

healthcare practice management blundersContracts can be adjusted numerous times before they’re signed, but once legalized, neither party can use the excuse, “I didn’t understand.”

Lawsuits initiated by patients are always a possibility and they can be particularly devastating for small practices.

Even if the therapist wins the case, it can cost a practice dearly in terms of clients, reputation, lost revenue, and the funds to defend against the charges.

Everyone Must Be Knowledgeable

Everyone within the healthcare practice management clinic should be knowledgeable about the potential for lawsuits and how they can work to avoid them. Disgruntled employees are nothing new, but in a world of online videos and social networking sites, clinicians should be aware of the damage that can be wrought by an employee lawsuit.

They can cost a practice as dearly as a client’s litigation. When facing legal action by a healthcare practice management staff member, never say anything to incriminate the practice, stand by the clinic’s policies, and never underestimate the potential for disaster. Some situations will benefit from the services of a mediator and may even help therapists avoid a lawsuit entirely.

Legal blunders in healthcare practice management can be avoided if practice owners are vigilant and take definitive steps to keep staff informed about how lawsuits can arise and the part they play in the process. The same is true of HIPAA regulations. Enlisting the services of a single individual fully versed in HIPAA requirements will save clinics money and help them maintain a sterling reputation.

Malpractice and Negligence Defined

Malpractice and Negligence Defined

Nitin Chhoda explains the definition of malpractice and negligence and its implications for a private practice. He also shares tips to avoid malpractice and negligence lawsuits.

malpractice and negligenceEvery healthcare practice management professionals fear the words malpractice and negligence, and rightly so.

A lawsuit alleging either will cost the practice in terms of financial payouts, increased insurance costs and lost patients.

A lawsuit can even lead to the closure of a clinic. To avoid malpractice and negligence lawsuits, therapists must first understand exactly what the terms malpractice and negligence mean.

Malpractice results if a healthcare professional provides treatment that falls below commonly accepted standards and results in injury, death or direct damage to the patient.

Failure to provide appropriate treatment is also fodder for a malpractice suit and can include mental and emotional damage.

Negligence

A therapist would be considered negligent if they failed to provide care that’s considered reasonable for the circumstances, or if they missed or overlooked information that led to a worsening of the client’s condition.

To avoid potential malpractice and negligence lawsuits, it’s imperative that healthcare professionals take sufficient time to collect as much medical information as possible on their patients utilizing all available resources.

An EMR is one tool therapists are using to protect themselves.

An EMR can be accessed by multiple providers and is updated instantly for the most current information possible on all aspects of the patient’s medical history. Being fully informed is the first step to avoiding malpractice and negligence suits.

Therapists must be vigilant to head off potential problems before they occur. While some litigation is legitimate, clinicians must also be aware that there are unscrupulous individuals with one goal in mind – score a huge payday.

Steps

There are steps therapists can take to protect themselves and their practice from a damaging malpractice and negligence lawsuit.

  • Maintain complete and precise documentation. It can make the difference between winning and losing a malpractice suit.
  • Double-check all available information. This is especially true if the client’s condition hasn’t been assessed or is unclear.
  • Advise patients of all their options, risks and potential outcomes and have clients sign documentation to that effect.
  • Always have a second party present if the client is required to display sensitive body parts for examination and ensure documentation clearly shows the assistant was present.malpractice and negligence
  • Take extra time if needed to explain medications, why they’re being prescribed and possible side effects.
  • Ensure patients understand the difference between the facts of their care and any opinions that may be stated.
  • Never leave a reported problem or complaint unresolved, and always conduct follow-ups.
  • Seek consultations or provide referrals if indicated.
  • Don’t rush through exams. It’s imperative that therapists fully understand the client’s complaint, treatments that have been tried, and the results of that care to provide patients with the level of care needed.
  • Cultivate a good patient-therapist relationship.

Some healthcare providers never encounter the devastating effects of a malpractice and negligence suit. Those clinicians are constantly aware of the potential dangers and take appropriate precautions.

There will always be patients who are willing to sue for any imagined problem and the high cost of malpractice insurance is a clear indicator of the trend. Clinicians must practice defensive therapy and take steps to avoid problems before they have a change to arise.

Practice Management: Integrating Scheduling, Documentation, Billing and Marketing

Practice Management: Integrating Scheduling, Documentation, Billing and Marketing

Improving the four key areas of scheduling, billing, documentation and marketing allow a private practice to grow in a progressive manner.

This is now possible with the help of electronic medical records systems. Nitin Chhoda shares the advantages of an end-to-end integrated system for your private practice.

practice managementAn EMR represents a major change in the practice management workflow and the way business is conducted.

It will integrate freely into every facet and department, offering clinicians a more productive and efficient means of managing their practice and patient care.

EMR as a Tool

An EMR offers business and marketing tools to easily track and monitor a wide range of variables that used to take hours or days to assemble.

Scheduling, documentation, billing and marketing are the four key areas in any healthcare practice management and EMRs facilitate the process, allowing therapists to expand their clientele and obtain quicker returns on reimbursements.

Documentation is available in precise detail and from multiple providers for a more accurate picture of the patient’s condition. EMRs offer advanced tools for marketing, allowing practitioners to develop, execute and monitor advertising efforts and their success.

A Complete Solution

A completely integrated practice management solution provides a multi-pronged approach to scheduling. An EMR allows therapists to schedule patient appointments complete with the date, time and client information, rather than a simple notation that includes a name and date.

Other events can be scheduled in the calendar, including meetings, times when other providers are unavailable, and personal appointments, along with vacations and sick days. Calendars can be set up for each provider within the clinic.

A scheduler provides therapists with multiple resources to coordinate services with other healthcare professionals in multiple locations. Patients of practice management can be scheduled for x-rays, surgeries, lab tests and a wide variety of ancillary services. A web-based EMR allows therapists to view a real-time calendar from anywhere in the world where an Internet connection is available.

The Old Way

Few patients have just one healthcare provider. Under a paper system, therapists often had to wait days or even weeks for medical records to make their way to the clinic, leading to delays in treatment. EMRs can be accessed by multiple providers and instantly updated when information is entered for the most current and up-to-date medical history available.

Medical professionals don’t have to rely on their client’s memory to recall tests that were administered, medications they’re taking or surgeries they’ve had. Integrated documentation allows practice management clinicians to create custom forms that reflect the clinic’s special needs, import provider notes, prescribe medications and refills, and make referrals when needed.

A physical therapy practice runs on its reimbursements. Integrated billing and coding virtually eliminates errors, the need for clarifications and rejection rates.

practice management integrationIt includes complete diagnosis and CPT codes, and claims are submitted electronically so information reaches insurance companies and clearinghouses in record time, while maintaining HIPPA requirements for privacy and security.

Supporting Material

A variety of supporting practice management material can be attached to expedite the reimbursement process.

Marketing is an essential part of operating a successful physical therapy clinic and an EMR provides tools that allow practice owners to develop strategies that target specific demographic groups.

Practice management owners can monitor the success of those campaigns and ascertain where referrals are originating to create more advantageous alliances.

Integrating scheduling, documentation, billing and marketing under a single system streamlines all facets within a practice management for increased efficiency, better patient care and timely reimbursements. EMRs provide clinicians with the high-tech tools they need to succeed in a highly competitive field without sacrificing the well-being of clients or the clinic.