With more and more hoops to jump and documentation to complete for insurance companies, it’s almost making it not even worth it to see patients under certain plans anymore. It’s also becoming so unfair to the consumers for how much they are having to pay for a co-pay or co-insurance each visit they are coming into our office. I truly empathize with them. We see a lot of patients that are paying a $40 co-pay for a pre-negotiated flat rate with their insurance of $50….meaning, the patient is paying 80% of the total bill. That’s insane! Especially since you know they are paying a high insurance premium just to have the insurance to begin with. Over the past 8 years of being in private practice, this has become worse.
Over the past 8 years we have also seen a huge shift for insurance companies requiring authorization for patient visits. I don’t know about you, but I had to hire a full time employee JUST to handle this additional practice before I even get to see the patient. With another back office employee comes more overhead costs for the private practice owner; office space, equipment, payroll, etc. And then on top of that they began implementing multiple procedure reductions. Wonderful. As if we couldn’t get paid any less. I imagine the idea was to make some of these physical and occupational therapy practices go away. Getting creative with ways to increase your revenue after all of these cuts has been challenging.
The question is, how can you increase your revenue? Here are 5 tips that I was able to implement in my practice that helped counteract all of these crappy changes.
1. Provide EXTRA services to our patients.
Think of how many patients you have that could benefit from massage or weight loss? In my practice in outpatient orthopedics, this accounts for at least 80%. Providing inexpensive massage options that current patients can add on to their physical therapy treatments gave these patients and even better advantage to getting better faster. We even began offering weight loss and massage to people in the community that were not patients.
2. Get patients out fast.
Make sure your clinical team are aware of the fact that patients will be MUCH happier to complete physical therapy faster and get better faster. That is the best word of mouth referral you can get if a patient completes their program faster than expected and then sends someone else your way because of it. Also as we approach the end of fee-for-service and turn towards an outcome based approach, this will be crucial!
3. Renegotiate with insurance companies that we had been credentialed with for a while.
It’s worth your time as a practice owner to try and re-negotiate your contracts. In my experience each time I try this, I am approved for 1/4….which isn’t bad as far as I’m concerned. If I didn’t try at all, I’d continue to make the same measly amount.
4. Provide strategic bonuses for my teams.
When your team performs, reward them! Simple. If they are going above and beyond to sell cash services, let them reap the benefits as well.
5. Drop insurance companies that are holding you back.
Take a hard look at each insurance contract you have. If you are losing money on particular plans and are not gaining a good amount of patients that are buying add-on services with these plans, then it should be a no brainer. I know sometimes it’s tough to make that jump because it took a long time to get on the plan in the first place. But if they will not re-negotiate with you, then consider dropping them.
I hope that these 5 tips can help you to become even a little bit more successful today than you were yesterday. We really need fellow PT’s and OT’s out there making a difference in patients’ lives, and it’s unfortunate that insurance companies are making it to hard for us.