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 the above-listed benefits.

Our company, Beyond the Clinic, provides outpatient house calls throughout Portland, Oregon.

If you aren’t familiar with physical therapy house calls, here’s the lowdown: we bring the essential elements of an outpatient clinic to our clients’ homes. While we don’t deliver a fully stocked gym or a wide spectrum of modalities, we do bring the mentality and creative treatment approach typical of most outpatient therapists.

It’s important to note that we aren’t a home health business. Our clientele don’t have to be homebound. We treat and bill like a regular brick-and-mortar clinic, accepting Medicare, commercial insurance, and cash payment just like any other private practice.

If you’re thinking of launching your own business, the house-call model is an elegant solution for getting up and running quickly. Or, if you’re already an established private practice owner, offering house calls to your existing clients is an excellent way to add value.

There are numerous benefits to providing house calls. Here are a few examples:

The State of Rehab Therapy Report Blue - Regular BannerThe State of Rehab Therapy Report Blue - Small Banner

1. Greater Patient Convenience

In a competitive marketplace, outcomes and costs tend to be fairly similar across the board. So, consumers tend to choose whichever option is the most convenient. We’ve already witnessed the rise of ride-hailing apps, food delivery services, and on-demand pet-sitting. The healthcare space is moving this way, too—and it’s time to get ahead of the wave. Telling a patient that he or she can have a therapist come directly to his or her house, place of work, or gym, is a much easier sell than asking him or her to get into the car and battle traffic. If you’ve been looking for a differentiator—something that will set you apart from the other PT options in your community—house calls are it.

2. Slower Pace

One feature of a house call practice is that it’s impossible to have a day that’s as busy as one in a standard orthopedic clinic. Unless you want a 16-hour workday, driving between clients naturally caps your number of patient interactions to five to seven visits per day. Our full-time therapists complete an average of 22 to 25 visits in a week. Can you imagine a life at that pace? Talk about catching your breath! Make no mistake: once you jump into the world of house calls, going back to 12 to 15 visits in a day seems ludicrous.

3. More Focus on the Basics

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing you don’t drive around in a work van. I don’t, either—and neither do our therapists. We all drive small vehicles, which means we can’t lug a ton of equipment between clients. Sometimes we bring a treatment table and resistance bands. Sometimes we just bring our hands and clinical expertise. By limiting your toolset to what can fit in your car, you are forced to emphasize the basics of patient care. What are the most important educational elements to address? What mobility and strength deficits can you tackle with the equipment laying around someone’s home? Ditching some of the bells and whistles of a fancy PT department can help you become a better therapist.

4. Increased Functionality

How many times have you questioned whether something you and a client went over in the clinic would actually make it home with them as intended? We all know that what happens in the clinic doesn’t always translate well to what your clients have at their disposal in a home environment. By providing therapy in someone’s house, you can be sure that your instructions have immediate relevance:

  • “Let’s do that hamstring stretch near the doorway into your dining room.”
  • “Come over to this narrow hallway and we’ll practice that balance drill.”                                                 

The New York Times recently ran a piece explaining how doing post-op total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) rehab at home was as effective as the same treatment in an inpatient setting (e.g., a skilled nursing facility [SNF]). We’ve seen that borne out in person. In fact, a huge portion of our business involves helping people who have had joint replacements. And, guess what? Every single client comments on how wonderful it is to be doing it at home. You can’t deny it. The home is where it’s at.

5. Lower Cost

This one is obvious. Your clients save money on drive time, parking costs, and no-show fees. (The patient can’t be a no-show if the therapist comes to him or her, right?) Plus, you, as the therapist, save money on office overhead. Every brick-and-mortar business owner I know is beholden to the landlord raising the rent every few years. By focusing on house calls, though, you don’t need an expensive location with lots of foot traffic. You also don’t need to stock your clinic with nice furniture or high-end treatment tools. Your main expense ends up being payroll. And, if you do it right, you can’t lose.

6. Easier

Dipping your toes into the house calls space is much easier than you would imagine. We’ve been doing it full-time for more than eight years now, but you could easily start doing it as a side hustle. You also don’t need to worry about the extensive paperwork demands that come with home health PT; your charting is the same as it would be in an outpatient setting. Once you have yourself covered from a liability insurance perspective, the sky’s the limit.


These six bullets cover the most immediate benefits of offering physical therapy house calls, but they are by no means the only reasons to consider. Physical therapists are blessed to be in a profession that offers a variety of practice settings and business models. House calls are simply another point along that spectrum.

Now, house calls obviously aren’t a viable solution for every practitioner. If you’re someone who thrives in a busy workplace with tons of interdisciplinary interaction, then driving from one patient to another might not be for you.

But, if you dream of a slower pace with plenty of freedom, you owe it to yourself to learn more about house calls.

Over the years, our clinic has routinely fielded calls and emails from PTs inquiring about how they can bring house calls to their cities. We’ve done our best to help point people in the right direction, but managing a growing practice hasn’t always allowed us to devote much time to helping others get started. But, that ends this year. We’ve finally put together a startup manual to guide your effort to launch and operate a profitable house calls practice.


If you’d like to learn more, please sign up to participate in our upcoming webinar, “Physical Therapy House Calls Demystified.” In addition to covering the basic operations of our practice, we’ll answer the top 10 most common questions about PT house calls. Space is limited, so sign up soon.

Ben Musholt has been in practice as a physical therapist in Portland, Oregon since 2001. He and two other partners co-founded Beyond the Clinic in 2009. He also co-authored the book Parkour Strength Training in 2016, and his second edition of the Mad Skills Exercise Encyclopedia comes out this fall. Follow him on Instagram @benmusholt.

  • How To Start a PT Practice While Keeping a Full-Time Job Image

    articleJun 1, 2017 | 10 min. read

    How To Start a PT Practice While Keeping a Full-Time Job

    Would you like to start your own practice—but don’t know where to begin? Are you fully employed and think you don’t have enough time? Too much student debt? Too many family responsibilities? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not the only healthcare professional stuck in this situation. Thousands of therapists just like you have a dream of leaving hamster-wheel practices, but they just can’t bring themselves to walk away from their family and …

  • Combatting Health Insurance Illiteracy: How to Help Patients Understand Their Plans Image

    articleApr 24, 2017 | 5 min. read

    Combatting Health Insurance Illiteracy: How to Help Patients Understand Their Plans

    Last week, WebPT’s Brooke Andrus wrote a post explaining why patient confusion about insurance coverage can translate into problems for your clinic—everything from angry and frustrated patients to unpaid balances. According to PJ Cloud-Moulds—author of this Physicians Practice post —“there is a huge gap between reality and what the patient thinks happens with their insurance plan.” That’s why—whether it should fall on providers’ shoulders or not—many PTs, OTs, and SLPs are stepping up their educational game to …

  • The State of Rehab Therapy in 2017 Image

    webinarJun 5, 2017

    The State of Rehab Therapy in 2017

    WebPT recently conducted an industry survey of thousands of rehab therapy professionals across a wide variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions. Our goal: To capture an accurate snapshot of the demographics, trends, frustrations, and motivations that shape our businesses, our future outlook, and our potential for success in this environment of change. In our July webinar, WebPT president and co-founder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham will share and analyze the …

  • Where Is My Money Going? 6 Surprising Hidden Costs of Running a Private Practice Image

    articleJun 9, 2016 | 7 min. read

    Where Is My Money Going? 6 Surprising Hidden Costs of Running a Private Practice

    You have to spend money to make money. This tenet of business is as true now as it was when my dad gave me a loan to cover the start-up costs for my lemonade stand back in third grade. And like many small business owners, I had a tough time forfeiting nearly half of my revenue to cover the cost of the lemons and sugar (it was a slow day on the cul-de-sac, and despite my best …

  • 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 …

  • Future-Proofing Your Practice: Diversifying Revenue Streams Image

    downloadJan 7, 2016

    Future-Proofing Your Practice: Diversifying Revenue Streams

    What does it take to future-proof your practice? In this guide, we’ll talk about how you can incorporate health and wellness services to diversify your practice’s revenue streams and boost your bottom line. Ready to prepare your practice for the age of payment reform? Enter your email address below to download Future-Proofing Your Practice, Volume 3.

  • Insurance Coverage Confusion: Why Uninformed Patients Lead to Unpaid Balances Image

    articleApr 17, 2017 | 5 min. read

    Insurance Coverage Confusion: Why Uninformed Patients Lead to Unpaid Balances

    People buy lots of products without truly understanding how they work. But unlike that automatic wine corker you impulse-bought from Brookstone last month, not every purchase comes with a 20-page instruction manual—or ends up working the way we imagined it would. For many consumers, that frustration definitely applies to the health insurance selection process. And that’s especially true for those who are new to the insurance market —for example, the millions of Americans who recently gained access …

  • Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar Image

    articleJul 17, 2017 | 16 min. read

    Common Questions from our State of Rehab Therapy Webinar

    WebPT recently conducted an industry survey of thousands of rehab therapy professionals across a wide variety of settings, specialties, and geographic regions. Our goal: To capture an accurate snapshot of the demographics, trends, frustrations, and motivations that shape our businesses, our future outlook, and our potential for success in this environment of change. In last week’s webinar , WebPT President and Co-Founder Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham shared the results of …

  • The Case for Care Cost Transparency in Your Practice Image

    articleApr 26, 2017 | 6 min. read

    The Case for Care Cost Transparency in Your Practice

    Back in the day, the notion of healthcare providers discussing the cost of treatment with insured patients was relatively unheard of. After all—aside from a nominal patient copay—insurance usually footed the bill. That’s not the case today. As Fair Health President Robin Gelburd writes in this Physicians Practice article , the insurance industry has evolved to place greater financial responsibility on patients—hello, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). As a result, patients want to know the cost of the …

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