The greatest games in the world are upon us, and as we all tune in and cheer on the nation, we can’t help but marvel at these world-class athletes. To have made it to the grandest arena in sports means they’re truly a cut above the rest—and cut from a different cloth. Their qualities are not unique, though; in fact, we think rehab therapists (PTs, OTs, and SLPs) have a lot in common with the elite athletes currently competing in Rio. Here are four of those shared characteristics:

Down with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid - Regular BannerDown with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid - Small Banner

1. Rehab therapists and world-class athletes both perform at the top of their game.

For a world-class athlete, there’s no greater stage than the one currently occupying Rio, and to make it there, you have to be the best in your field. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with performing at the highest level, and rehab therapists feel that pressure—those high stakes and that distinct honor—every day, because that’s how much their patients mean to them.

Of course, PTs, OTs, and SLPs know they have to be the best—but it’s not only for their patients; it’s for their profession, too. Like a swimmer demonstrating the prestige of that particular sport, rehab therapists perform at the top of their game because they’re demonstrating to everyone—their peers, patients, and fellow healthcare providers—their prestige as valuable members of the healthcare community.     

2. They both put in a lot of time, energy, and work when no one is looking.

“When I was an athlete, I knew that if I woke up two hours before training, ate one more egg at breakfast, or finished one last back squat at training, it would make me better and I would accomplish my goal,” Steve Mesler—bobsled champion and entrepreneur—explains in this article. “Sometimes that goal was three and a half years away. That’s a long time to think that an extra egg will have anything to do with the final outcome.”

For the most part, we don’t think about what world-class athletes are up to every day—except when we tune in to watch them compete in the grandest of all competitions every four years. And yet, those athletes are working tirelessly almost every second of every day: training, preparing, and fighting to make it to that competition. There’s no sportscaster play-by-play for all of that effort; it isn’t coating the mainstream news or sports sites. Most of these athletes aren’t even blips on our radars until we tune into the ceremonies.

The same could be said for rehab therapists. They work tirelessly in school, in clinicals, in continuing education, and in practice. But, patients don’t know—and appreciate—that until injury strikes. And when those patients receive treatment, they marvel at the care their therapists deliver—just as we all marvel at those athletes’ performances. And both are the product of countless hours of round-the-clock, behind-the-scenes work.

3. They’re good sports.

Too often in major league sports, we see ugliness—friendly, professional competition turned malicious. The desire to win at all costs trumps the love of the game. Rarely do we see that on the world’s biggest stage. It’s an honor and privilege to compete; those athletes dedicate their careers to earning a chance to represent their countries. Rarely do they disgrace themselves or their countries with poor sportsmanship and mean-spirited behavior.

In a recent WebPT blog post, author Erica McDermott makes the case for cooperation, rather than competition, in rehab therapy. Her main point is that friendly competition—the kind that drives providers to innovate their models, better their care, and help more people—benefits the profession as a whole. That’s what happens when you play for the love of the game, not the desire to win at all costs. And that’s what rehab therapists—and world-class athletes—do: rather than aspiring to being better than each other, they aspire to being better, together.   

4. They care about the details.

“At one point or another during my career, I competed in every seat in the sled, including spending time on the world cup tour as a driver,” Mesler continues in his article. “That was a rarity for a push athlete. But it made me versatile and it kept me curious about every aspect of my sport—from push technique to aerodynamics to the composition of the steel in our runners (the blades on the bottom of the sled).” As a bobsledder, he knew details were everything. After all, catastrophe can happen quickly when you’re “going down hills at over 85 mph in what amounts to a fiberglass garbage can with skates.” Now, as a business owner, Mesler knows the details are still as important as ever: “you are responsible for knowing how the entire ecosystem, inside and outside, of your company works.”

This mindset holds true for rehab therapists, too. In practice, the details matter, because they can make all the difference in helping their patients get better, faster. Furthermore, when you’re dealing with musculoskeletal injuries, sloppy treatment and technique can exacerbate injuries, delay healing, and intensify pain. When a patient’s health hangs in the balance, there’s no choice but to obsess over the details.


World-class athletes wait four years to get to the greatest stage of their career. They have the full support of the nation behind them, and they know an honor and privilege that few will ever experience. Fortunately, if you’re a rehab therapist, every day is an opportunity to enter the greatest stage of your career. Every day is a chance to gain the respect and admiration of your patients. Every day, you know the honor and privilege that comes with healing people. And while rehab therapists may not earn medals or grace any podiums, they impact lives in ways world-class athletes could only dream of. Because ultimately, it’s thanks to their rehab therapists that many of these athletes are even able to compete.

  • Coding Faux Pas: 5 Common Rehab Therapy Billing Mistakes Image

    articleMay 9, 2017 | 7 min. read

    Coding Faux Pas: 5 Common Rehab Therapy Billing Mistakes

    As the old saying goes, “To err is human.” But when human error stands between you and timely reimbursements, it’s difficult to remain philosophical. From missing GP modifiers to miscalculated coding units, here are five common billing mistakes that keep rehab therapists from getting paid. 1. Omitted Modifiers Modifiers: Easily applied; even more easily overlooked. Therapy modifiers—including GP, GO, and GN—specify to the payer what kind of therapy service was provided (e.g., physical, occupational, or speech therapy). …

  • Odd Provider Out: Why PT Exclusion from MIPS is Bad for Future Payments Image

    articleMay 4, 2016 | 6 min. read

    Odd Provider Out: Why PT Exclusion from MIPS is Bad for Future Payments

    It’s official: rehab therapists are just a sashay away from exiting the PQRS dance floor. That’s because last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed final rule that, if adopted, will put into effect the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). And that, in turn, will give the green light to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) , a brand spankin’-new quality data reporting program that consolidates PQRS , …

  • Collaborate or Bye: Why Patients Want Connected Care Teams Image

    articleJul 13, 2017 | 5 min. read

    Collaborate or Bye: Why Patients Want Connected Care Teams

    Once upon a time—actually, not all that long ago—patients were patients. They sought health care from a trusted provider—in most cases, from their family’s primary care physician, who referred them to a specialist if necessary—and that provider scribbled illegible notes about their care on a paper chart that took up space in an overflowing file cabinet somewhere in a cluttered office. If another provider needed to see those notes, then the physician would have to fax over …

  • Documenting in a Multi-Speciality Practice Image

    articleFeb 24, 2014 | 2 min. read

    Documenting in a Multi-Speciality Practice

    Our Members often ask us for advice on documenting in a practice that has multiple therapy specialties. Here are our tips:  Keep It Separated If your clinic offers PT, OT, and/or SLP services, be sure to add cases specific to each discipline based on the patient's condition(s) because different profiles appear for different user types. Furthermore, ensure that therapists are documenting all things specific to their particular discipline—such as authorizations and prescriptions—within the correct case. If do …

  • Scalability: What is It, and How Does It Relate to Private Practice? Image

    articleApr 18, 2016 | 5 min. read

    Scalability: What is It, and How Does It Relate to Private Practice?

    This month, we’ve been talking a lot about how to enhance the business side of your practice with things like optimization and automation . Today, let’s talk about how you can ensure that those automated, optimized systems and processes grow—or scale—as your business does. That way, increased revenue goes toward profits instead of disappearing into growing costs. According to Neil Patel—co-founder of Crazy Egg and the author of this Inc. article —“a scalable business can adapt to …

  • Ascend 2016: Plan It to Win It Contest Image

    articleDec 2, 2015 | 1 min. read

    Ascend 2016: Plan It to Win It Contest

    Update: The contest has now closed. Thank you for participating. What goes into planning the premier rehab therapy business summit? Well, it takes faith, trust, and just a little bit of pixie dust. Okay, so maybe that’s how Peter Pan helps his peeps fly. But even if hosting a successful event doesn’t require pixie dust, happy thoughts—and a ton of hard work—do help us plan. So, we want to hear your happy thoughts to help make 2016’s …

  • 4 Front-Office Software Must-Haves Image

    articleFeb 22, 2017 | 3 min. read

    4 Front-Office Software Must-Haves

    In the face of increasing regulations and decreasing reimbursements, it’s becoming more and more important for providers to not only demonstrate their value to patients , but also manage their own time. After all, if time is money, then wasted time is wasted money—and that goes for you, your staff, and your patients. So, get some of that time back by ensuring your front-office software enables you to streamline your front-office workflow—think physical therapy intake forms, crystal-clear …

  • 4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow Image

    articleMay 18, 2016 | 5 min. read

    4 Keys to Keeping a Steady Cash Flow

    As a private practice clinic owner, you’re probably familiar with the cold sweat-inducing struggle to keep a steady cash flow. Claims management muck-ups, inefficient processes, staff issues, and lack of insight into your clinic’s financial health can leave you feeling like you’re riding a revenue rollercoaster. So, whether you’re trying to maximize reimbursements , combat employee theft , or optimize patient payments , these four keys to maintaining a steady cash flow will help you even out …

  • Internet or In-Person: The Pros and Cons of Online CEU Courses Image

    articleNov 14, 2017 | 6 min. read

    Internet or In-Person: The Pros and Cons of Online CEU Courses

    If you’ve got a professional license, then continuing competency requirements in the form of continuing education units (CEUs) or contact hours are a fact of life—if you’d like to keep that license of yours, that is. Because so many professionals are required to complete CEUs—healthcare providers, psychologists, and lawyers, to name a few—the debate as to whether to take those courses online or in-person is alive and well. While there’s no across-the-board right answer as to which …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.