As the healthcare landscape evolves, smart practice owners and department managers will evolve, too—ahead of the curve. As part of their evolution, some therapists are incorporating wellness services into their business models. “Wellness” is a buzzword in physical therapy circles right now. But what does the term actually mean? And how can we use wellness services to better help our clients and ensure our clinics thrive?

Wellness Defined

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines wellness as:“a multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of wellbeing.” Furthermore, the APTA believes that “physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assume leadership positions in efforts to prevent injury and disability, and fully supports the positive roles that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants play in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, wellness, and injury prevention.” And that goes for physical therapists in all 50 states, whether or not the state practice act contains specific language surrounding wellness. For more information on the APTA’s policies regarding physical fitness, wellness, and health as well as the association’s position on advocacy for physical education, physical conditioning, and wellness, click here.

The Legal Stuff

However, it is always advisable to contact your state board and review your professional liability insurance (PLI) policy—perhaps with an attorney—before introducing a new wellness program. Your PLI may not cover all of your risk because most policies only apply to medical incidents that arise from performing professional services that fall within your state practice act. You can find more information on protecting yourself and your business here

Wellness and Medicare

Offering wellness services can be a great way to teach and interact with the Medicare community—even if you don’t contract with Medicare insurance. Because physical therapy-related wellness services are not a Medicare-covered service, you can enter into a private pay arrangement with patients to provide yoga, Pilates, or strength training classes, which can improve core strength, flexibility, and general wellbeing. (Some wellness services—such as a yearly physical with a physician—are covered services, but most fitness training services are not). 

Your Wellness Program

You can design your wellness program in a way that makes sense for your clinic. One option is to offer wellness services as a continuation of care for patients whom you’ve discharged from formal physical therapy. This is a nice way to transition your existing patients who want to continue to develop strength and endurance but who don’t feel comfortable attending a commercial gym. These patients are already familiar with your clinic and staff and are often happy to make the switch to being cash-paying customers. Another option is to market your wellness services—private or small group yoga, Pilates, mobility training, or performance classes—to the general public as a way to bring new clients into your practice. 

If someone on your staff is already a certified yoga or Pilates instructor, you can ask him or her to lead group or one-on-one classes. If not, that’s okay. Some clinics bring in teachers to offer classes or private sessions. Either way, just make sure you choose someone with the appropriate certifications and experience working with post-rehab clients. You should feel confident that your clients are receiving the best possible instruction so they’re safely progressing toward their fitness goals. 

Setting Rates

When setting your prices for wellness services, you will need to do some homework; see what gyms, personal trainers, and yoga/Pilates instructors are charging in your area. This will give you a feel for what the market rate is for cash-based services in your community. For your own rates, I would suggest going slightly higher in price. We want to communicate the value of our services based on our advanced education and training. By setting our price point slightly higher than market value, we send the message that we are providing a unique service—one that our clients can’t receive anywhere else.

I agree with the APTA’s assessment that physical therapists are uniquely qualified to provide wellness services, specifically a safe progression of exercises to assist clients in reaching their goals. This is one way in which we can help transform society by improving the human experience—all while diversifying our offerings and thus, evolving ahead of the curve. 

Does your clinic provide wellness services? If so, what services? If not, would you like to? What questions do you have about getting started? Let me know in the comments section below.

Interested in adding telehealth and wellness services to your practice?

Download our free guide to learn how.

Please enable JavaScript to submit form.
Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients High-Deductible Health Plans - Regular BannerSuppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients High-Deductible Health Plans - Small Banner
  • How to Get New Patients: Calling Dr. Google! Image

    articleAug 14, 2014 | 4 min. read

    How to Get New Patients: Calling Dr. Google!

    Brrrring! Just like that, my phone rings, and on the other end of the line is a new patient inquiring about an appointment—a new patient sent from my number-one referral source. This source requires no pandering, office lunches, or thank-you letters, and it will refer hundreds of new patients to your practice, too. Who is it? Dr. Google, of course. Dr. Google is the referral source I have to thank for the majority of new patients who …

  • PT in the House: 6 Benefits of Running a Home-Visit Therapy Practice Image

    articleOct 20, 2017 | 7 min. read

    PT in the House: 6 Benefits of Running a Home-Visit Therapy Practice

    What if I told you there’s a physical therapy practice model that requires minimal investment, has a low operating cost, and is practically burnout-proof? What if I added that this model provides a steady flow of new clients and is well poised to meet the rehab needs of the Baby Boomer generation? It would almost be too good to be true, right? Well, this model exists, and since 2009, my partners and I have enjoyed all of …

  • Mastering the Metrics for an Exit Image

    articleAug 18, 2014 | 4 min. read

    Mastering the Metrics for an Exit

    A checklist for what matters most to potential buyers of your therapy practice The physical therapy and rehabilitation care industry market is large and growing. Merger and acquisition activity continues to be on the radar for many of our nation's largest rehab therapy providers with six of the ten largest players now owned by private equity firms. There are several reasons for this industry phenomenon, which has driven multiples to a 20-year high and has attracted both …

  • Can You Hear Me Now? The Physical Therapist's Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback at Work Image

    webinarJan 5, 2016

    Can You Hear Me Now? The Physical Therapist's Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback at Work

    Feedback: everyone wants it. Professional feedback, in particular, helps us become better employees, managers, peers, and providers. It’s mission-critical when it comes to improving patient care and exceeding business objectives. Why, then, are we rarely getting the feedback we need or giving others the feedback they deserve? And when we do deliver feedback, why doesn’t it always have the desired effect? On January 26, Dr. Heidi Jannenga will team up with special guest and renowned leadership coach …

  • How to Stay in Business in this Uncertain Healthcare Environment Image

    articleJun 29, 2017 | 17 min. read

    How to Stay in Business in this Uncertain Healthcare Environment

    Health care as we know it is changing. But that’s nothing new, right? Health care has been in a state of flux for a while now—what with ever-changing payer regulations and the steady push toward more patient-centric, value-based collaborative care. And while putting patients first is surely good for everyone, increasing regulations—and decreasing reimbursements—can make it challenging for providers to keep up, let alone keep the lights on. That’s why we’ve spent much of this quarter discussing …

  • One Week at a Time: How PTs Can Achieve Big Goals by Thinking Small Image

    articleJan 30, 2015 | 2 min. read

    One Week at a Time: How PTs Can Achieve Big Goals by Thinking Small

    In this third video of a three-part series, PT and entrepreneurial consultant Jamey Schrier explains how private practice physical therapy owners can achieve their year-long goals and 90-day sprints by pinpointing one key “to-do” each week. Want to know more? Watch the video or read on for Jamey’s description: What is the number-one thing you should be doing next week to grow your practice? If you’re unsure as to what your top priority is over the coming …

  • The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring Image

    articleJan 25, 2016 | 2 min. read

    The No-Stress Formula to Successful Hiring

    Does the pressure of filling an open job position have you sweating bullets? Matching a candidate’s skills and abilities to a particular role is no easy feat, but my hiring process strategy can help you shed some of the stress. Physical therapists have a process for just about everything—except hiring. And not having a comprehensive hiring process can be costly for your practice—not only in terms of money, but also with respect to morale. After all, there’s …

  • Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar Image

    articleMar 28, 2018 | 12 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar

    Strive Labs co-founders Ryan Klepps and Scott Hebert recently joined WebPT president Heidi Jannenga for an insightful webinar about improving patient retention and reducing early patient drop-out. We know this is a super-relevant topic, especially because the cost of diminishing patient visits represents a $6 billion problem that not many people in the industry are talking about—at least not yet. As a result, we received a slew of great questions that we couldn’t get to live on …

  • What You Need to Know About Calculating Expenses Image

    articleAug 12, 2014 | 3 min. read

    What You Need to Know About Calculating Expenses

    We briefly talked about totaling up expenses in order to calculate your net cost per visit in a previous post , but today, let’s take a deeper dive into the expenses side of things. Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting topic, but it’s necessary nonetheless, so here we go. Below are four metrics to help you get a handle on the costs of doing business (adapted from this article ): 1. Wages divided by net revenue. Rehab …

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