Blog Post

How to Calculate Your Ideal Patient Load

Here's a quick lesson on how to figure out how many patients your clinic should see each day. Click here to learn more about ideal patient loads, here.

Brooke Andrus
5 min read
August 11, 2014
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As a rehab therapy provider, the strength of your clinic’s revenue stream depends mainly on the number of patients you see each day—and the dollar amount you receive for each one of those visits. So naturally, if you want to increase your clinic’s revenue, you mostly likely will need to increase the volume of patients you treat.

But how do you figure out how many patients you should be seeing each day—in other words, your ideal patient load? Before you break into a flashback-induced cold sweat—hey, word problems were never my mathematical forte, either—take a deep breath and relax. When you break it all down, it’s actually pretty simple to come up with a ballpark patient volume target. As pediatric practice administrator Brandon Betancourt explains in this blog post, there are four main steps to calculating your clinic’s perfect patient quantity:

1. Determine your practice cost.

This is the total dollar amount of all your practice’s expenditures, including operating costs (e.g., rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, and fees) and employee salaries and benefits. Let’s say your operating costs come to $300,000 and your salary costs total $200,000. Thus, your total practice cost is $500,000.

2. Calculate the average payment per patient encounter.

As Betancourt writes, a simple method of determining this figure is to add up all of your encounters for the year and divide that number by your net receivables. For example, if your practice brought in $600,000 in total receivables with 6,000 encounters, then your average payment per encounter would be $100.

3. Count the number of days per year you worked (or will work).

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say your practice is open five days a week all year. That means you have approximately 260 working days. Please note that this number may fluctuate based on vacation time or holidays.

4. Figure out your breakeven point.

Now that you have all of the necessary values, you can plug them in to calculate the number of patients you’ll need to see each day in order to break even for the year. First, divide your practice cost by your average payment per visit to determine the total number of patients you’ll need to see for the year. In our example, this would be:

$500,000 / $100 = 5,000 patients

Now, assuming that your practice is open 260 days a year, you can use the following equation to determine the number of patients you’ll need to treat each day to offset your costs:

5,000 / 260 = 19.23 patients (round up to 20 to be safe)

Keep in mind that this is a very basic method of calculating a healthy patient load for your practice. There are other factors at play, and an experienced accountant can help you plan for those. Still, this is a good exercise to give you an idea of what you should shoot for as far as patient volume.

Have you figured out your practice’s ideal patient load? What advice do you have for others who are trying to come up with this number? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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