We All Need Some Help From Time to Time
Physical therapy practice owners are pulled in 50 different directions every day. Not only do they utilize technical skills learned within their trade, but they must demonstrate entrepreneurial proficiencies, such as the ability to run a profitable business. Tiptoeing on the borders of these two aptitudes isn’t easy, and most find value in hiring outside help for one, if not all, aspects of running a physical therapy practice.
So when should you hire a physical therapy practice management consultant?
The signs aren’t always crystal clear, and there’s a lot of static along with the consultant frequency. Besides, hiring a consultant costs money, and if you’re already struggling, it might be overkill. To make life easier, we’ve compiled a list of six telltale signs that it might be time to hire a physical therapy management consultant:
1. Billing Mishaps
The billing process can be daunting at times. And if you don’t have rock-solid systems in place and up-to-date information, it can instantly tarnish a practice’s image. An innocent mistake such as upcoding for services not provided—if consistent, might qualify you for consultant intervention.
Fortunately, any small errors and misbilling can be solved with a clean claim and a reliable billing workflow. By looking at denied claims, you can identify mistakes and shy away from repeat offenses. Additionally, getting billing software that makes data entry easy and scrubs for code compliance is a game-changer. It’s surprising how many practices are losing out on revenue by simply undercharging their patients.
2. Compliance Shortfalls
Physical therapy is a tightly regulated practice updated continuously with shiny new compliance laws. It’s understandable when practice owners feel overwhelmed navigating the various regulations in place. If you’re having issues staying on top of these laws or even need a second opinion on workflow, you could benefit from a consultation.
The fact of the matter is that private practices are the second most common offenders of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations as of June 2020. The consequences of violation range from massive fines to jail time. Brushing up on compliance and streamlining your process will avoid potential mishaps.
3. Lack of HR Management & Talent Acquisition
It might be a good time to bring in a consultant if your practice has made disappointing hires. After all, the success of a practice rides on the physical therapists who are face-to-face with patients daily. Additionally, if the recordkeeping is less than satisfactory, you could endure lost employee files, compliance ignorance, and an overall lack of administrative accountability.
By utilizing your practice’s culture, accurate job descriptions, and careful vetting of candidates, you can make efficient hires that add value to the reputation and pocketbook alike. These specifications need to be updated consistently, and all employee records should be complete and confidential. Establishing systems and using organizational software can make HR seamless so you can focus on grooming new hires and ultimately treating more patients.
4. Stagnant Personal Development
Keeping physical therapy exciting shouldn’t be difficult, but some practice owners are having problems with their PTs. If you’ve noticed a change in behavior from your top talent and lack of growth from other PTs, it might be time to consider outside intervention.
Luckily enough, personal development is—well personal. And the most effective strategies involve some form of goal setting. By giving employees a purpose, continued education, and difficult tasks, you can be sure they’ll rise to the challenge. Physical therapy consultation firms will teach practice owners how to set proper quarterly goals for employees with lots of room for individual growth. These goals, if appropriately configured, can be reviewed and tweaked for each PT. The autonomous review process is a delicate but essential piece of developing the physical therapists in any practice—and if yours isn’t foundational, it doesn’t hurt to hire a helping hand.
Even the most effective practice owners often have problems running successful marketing campaigns. And to be fair, it’s an entirely different industry with skills and technology not used in physical therapy.
If you’re launching display ad campaigns, deploying search engine marketing attempts, and running Facebook ads to no avail, hiring a consultant isn’t a bad idea. Marketing campaigns should be driving website traffic, appointments, brand awareness, and ultimately more patients. And at the very least, if you aren’t producing measurable results or even returns on the initial investment, it might be time to make a change.
Consultants can use their industry knowledge, along with your own, and build one or many campaigns with a target audience in mind. Targeted ads across different venues with the right keywords, tone, and flair separate you from the competition and create brand confidence—which is the foundation of future business.
6. The Practice is Losing Money
Treating patients is the number one priority, but the goal is to be mutually beneficial. If your practice is hemorrhaging funds, it won’t be long before you’re seeking alternative solutions. The key is to stay on track and make slight adjustments in the long run. If practice owners are in their first few years, it might be helpful to peak at the business plan—when and how much profit should you be turning right now?
The problem is that there might be multiple problems. A hundred small leaks can sink a ship. And if you’re trying to manage everything, it can be hard to handle anything in particular. This is the point where a business consultant comes in handy. Fresh eyes walking into a practice can do wonders for assessing the situation and providing solutions.
An issue many practice owners face is taking on too much responsibility. All of those technical skills learned throughout the years are amazing for treating patients but don’t apply to entrepreneurial endeavors. Focusing on the big picture and driving profitability metrics need to come first if your practice is going to stay open. Consultants have the power to assess staffing, productivity, time management, systems, and provide unbiased future-sight for the financial wellbeing of a physical therapy practice.
The Bottom Line
Nobody knows your practice better than you. Some will be able to push through the issues above without outside help. It’s important to take accountability for each area of business and double-check your work. Besides, if a consultation will teach you skills needed to become proficient in the future, then you might just be investing not only in your business—but yourself too.
For those who want to give themselves more time to accomplish tasks, focus on productivity, and generate more revenue delegating the workload can do wonders. MWTherapy’s software solutions cover everything from billing to scheduling in a fast and easy 100% web-based software that’s customizable to your business needs. Check out a totally free demo and start saving time today.