The Things You Don’t Know When Starting a Physical Therapy Practice

After working with some start-ups using HENO in the last few months, it made me reminess about our early days starting up Hohman Rehab and Sports Therapy in 2009.  You go out there excited to make an impact on the world and pour your blood, sweat, and tears into something that is going to be great.  It’s not until you get in there that you realize how much your don’t know about business.  It’s unfortunate that we don’t learn more in school or our previous work experiences about business and marketing.  And it’s not until we really need patients that we truly realize that impact.

Of course, that is not the only barrier.  Insurance companies make it quite impossible to make our mark on the communities we are itching to help heal.  First obstacle: the network is closed.  Closed!  What the hell do you mean it’s closed?!  Weaseling your way into those “closed” networks isn’t easy; and in most cases therapists will actually undercut themselves with reimbursement.  Maybe they’ll let you in the network if you take $5 less per treatment.  And this continues to occur until we get paid next to nothing and the insurance companies (the gate keepers) make the bulk of it all.  So we not only screw ourselves, we start to undercut our entire profession.  I see it happening all of the time.  So how do we avoid that?  We need to stay in close contact with our fellow PT and OT’s in our area.  We may be competitors, but the insurance companies are the ones that are winning, not us.  

Who learns in school about ABN’s and 22 modifiers and CCI Edits?  We typically don’t even learn that from our previous work experiences; it’s typically done behind the scenes and the therapists don’t know it exists.  So now you’re out on your own and you have to learn that kind of stuff or you won’t get paid!  Ahhh!

How did we get our first bulk of patients?  We really got to know some local area doctors and built up good relationships with them.  We tried to refer to them just as much as they referred to us.  As time went on and we really created a name for ourself in the community, we began to get a lot more recognition from other doctors and professionals, as well as great word of mouth referrals from previous patients.  We try more and more to be less reliant on doctors and spend more time making sure our patients get the best treatment around.  

Going to conferences (Indefree) and bouncing ideas off of other therapists around the country has also made a big impact on us.  Daily I text, email and communicate with my practice owner peers.  Stay connected, it’s so important.  

Get in touch with me.  I am always happy to help a fellow clinician with their business!

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