According to Pink Floyd, money is a “gas.” While the surface level interpretation of that lyric may be that money is fun and entertaining, the word “gas” seems deliberate here. After all, money is fuel. We as a society run on it, and yet, so many of us—including rehab therapy professionals—manage it poorly. The trick to better financial management is knowing what to actually manage—or more specifically, what to track, monitor, and act upon. With that in mind, here are the financial metrics that matter most to rehab therapy practices:

WebPT + Billing Software - Regular BannerWebPT + Billing Software - Small Banner

Days in A/R

Cash is king, so the sooner you can convert revenue into cash, the better. But, in between funds promised and cash-in-hand lies accounts receivable (A/R)—that awkward middle stage where your business eagerly awaits payment.

Days in A/R is defined as the number of days it takes for your clinic to get paid. Here’s how to calculate this number (according to AAFP):

  1. Add all of the charges posted for a given period (e.g., 3, 6, or 12 months).
  2. Subtract all credits received from the total number of charges. (That way, you don’t get an overly positive impression of your practice.)
  3. Divide the total charges, less credits received, by the total number of days in the selected period (e.g., 30 days, 90 days, 120 days, and so on).
  4. Divide the total receivables by the average daily charges.

Everyone wants money in the bank faster, so once you know your average days in A/R, look for ways to shave time. For example:

  • Pinpoint those slow-to-pay payers, and address payment come contract time.
  • Collect copayment upfront, and scrutinize your invoicing and collections practices.
  • Offer early payment discounts.
  • Allow for payment plans. But, as AAFP advises, “Payment plans that extend the time patients have to pay accounts can result in an increase in days in A/R. Consider creating a separate account that includes all patients on payment plans and determine whether your practice should or should not include this ‘payer’ in the calculation of days in A/R.”
  • Account for 90-day and 120-day buckets. “Good overall days in A/R can also mask elevated amounts in older receivables, and therefore it is important to use the ‘A/R greater than 120 days’ benchmark,” explains AAFP.

Collections

Expected vs. Actual

Most clinics track net revenue per month and per visit, but you can take this a step further by narrowing your focus to reimbursements specifically and comparing expectation to reality. According to this article, expected collection “is the payment amount the...practice expects to receive for a given service based on the contract between the practice and the insurance payer.” Chances are pretty high that the actual reimbursement amount will differ from the expected amount, but tracking this disparity 1.) enables you to track cash flow, and 2.) alerts you to potential collection issues. Often, the discrepancy will be the result of reduced or denied payments. And there are fixes for those. But, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, so regularly compare expected vs. actual reimbursement per visit and segment by therapists and payers.

Copay Collection Percentage

Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s imperative that you collect copays upfront whenever possible. We’ve all seen the stats: chances of collection decrease by 20% after the patient leaves the office. So, institute a check-in process that includes copay collection and then hold your front office staff accountable by monitoring your copayment collection rate.

First-Pass Acceptance Rate

Want to know how accurate or clean your claims are? Want to know if your payer processes are in good shape? Then measure how many of your billed services were paid on the first attempt. Low first-pass acceptance rates are indicative of a much larger problem, and to paraphrase denial management expert—and special guest on our Down with Denials webinar—Diane McCutcheon, you've got to identify the problem in order to stop the bleeding.

Productivity

Revenue per Therapist

To truly measure your providers’ productivity, go beyond the basic metric of number of patients per therapist per day. As this article points out, “For a true measure of productivity, you must consider the average amount of revenue each therapist is generating—per month, per day, or even per visit.” This enables you to monitor time management and accurate billing.

Units per Hour per Therapist

Time is money, so it’s important to examine the number of units your providers are billing per hour. In addition to uncovering instances of over- or under-billing, you can also determine if your front office is underbooking.

Gross Margin

“Gross margin tells you how much is left after paying for the people and things that generate that revenue (i.e., the ‘cost of revenue’),” Jacob Findlay, Fullbay founder and CEO (and former WebPT director of finance), explains in this post. To calculate this number, subtract the cost of your therapists, assistants, therapy supplies, and anything else directly tied to actually providing therapy treatment from your total monthly revenue.

Operating Expense

Operating expense is the cost of overhead. You can determine this by adding together the costs of rent, advertising, office staff, non-therapy supplies, and anything else that’s not directly related to therapy services. “You can choose to allocate a percentage of rent to gross margin or simply count it all as overhead,” explains Findlay.

Net Income

To quote Pink Floyd again, “Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.” Your stash is your net income, or “what you have left after paying for the cost of revenue and overhead,” says Findlay. Essentially, this is what goes into the practice owner’s pocket—or more accurately, bank account—when all's said and done. And you absolutely want money in the bank if you want to not only stay open, but succeed. As Findlay explains, “no matter how dedicated you are to making a difference, that passion alone won’t keep your doors open. Don’t forget the famous adage: no margin, no mission.”


Pink Floyd also equates money to a “hit”—and that could mean a hit in the sense of either a drug fix or a crowd-pleaser. That observation—while poetic—isn’t unique to classic rock-and-rollers. We all know the power, influence, and necessity of money. All too often, though, we shy away from it, allowing problems to fester and detrimentally impact our practices. Don’t turn such a blind eye that you end up having to shut your doors. Instead, follow the money. Monitor the above financial metrics to ensure the viability and profitability of your business.

  • Revenue Metrics Every PT Private Practice Owner Should Know Image

    articleAug 13, 2014 | 4 min. read

    Revenue Metrics Every PT Private Practice Owner Should Know

    The phrase “revenue metrics” might conjure up images of highrise boardrooms, laser pointers, and Powerpoint slideshows with graphs galore. But these financial data points aren’t just for corporate bigwigs; every business person—including physical therapy private practice owners—should not only know what these figures are, but also pay attention to them. While there’s probably no need for you to run out and buy a laser pointer (unless you really want to—I mean, they are pretty darn cool ), …

  • Founder Letter: Why Clean Claims are Everything Image

    articleJul 7, 2015 | 6 min. read

    Founder Letter: Why Clean Claims are Everything

    When you consider the many complex aspects of running a  private practice , your bottom line might be the biggest source of anxiety. And that’s for good reason; it’s your lifeblood. In an effort to improve  your metrics , you’ve likely examined your workflow, documentation practices, and staffing requirements for any possible improvements. That’s a great start, and I encourage you to stay on top of  self-evaluation  in all of these ways. But have you ever stopped …

  • Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans Image

    webinarFeb 23, 2017

    Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans

    Copayments, coinsurances, unresolved balances—oh my! Any one of these can cause headaches for healthcare providers, but as healthcare reform efforts shift more and more financial burden to insurance beneficiaries, today’s practitioners are increasingly facing all three. And these challenges are not only hurting their patient acquisition and retention rates, but also their bottom lines. Tired of spending time verifying benefits only to lose those patients to copay sticker shock? Stuck in a constant cycle of pursuing past-due …

  • 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 …

  • Founder Letter: 3 Ways Your Practice is Losing Money Image

    articleMay 5, 2016 | 7 min. read

    Founder Letter: 3 Ways Your Practice is Losing Money

    Much like the patients you treat, your practice can appear healthy on the outside despite significant internal issues. And when those issues are money-related, the consequences can be deadly. If your practice already is in the red, you know you’ve got some pretty serious cash flow problems. But even if you’re in the black every month, you may still be washing dollars down the drain. While there are myriad ways your practice might inadvertently be losing revenue, …

  • Inside Job: Combating Employee Theft in Your Practice Image

    articleMay 12, 2015 | 8 min. read

    Inside Job: Combating Employee Theft in Your Practice

    I spent my youth working in retail and at restaurants—two industries rife with high turnover rates and employee theft. Still, I was always shocked when I heard that an employee had been fired for pocketing cash from the registers or stealing merchandise from the shelves. Believe it or not, theft isn’t relegated to these two industries. Private medical practices also must combat theft—and it occurs way more often than you think. According to this Physicians Practice article …

  • Therapy Thermometer: How to Assess the Financial Health of your Practice Image

    articleMay 31, 2017 | 8 min. read

    Therapy Thermometer: How to Assess the Financial Health of your Practice

    Whether you’re looking to capitalize on the push for consolidation that’s currently taking place in the physical therapy industry—and you have a potential buyer or two nipping at your heels—or you simply want to make sure your clinic is running as it should be, you must get comfortable taking your practice’s financial temperature. After all, how else will those potential buyers know the quality of the business they’re purchasing? How else will you know that your practice …

  • Time to Pony Up: The Secret to Collections Letters that Work [2 Free Templates] Image

    articleApr 15, 2015 | 5 min. read

    Time to Pony Up: The Secret to Collections Letters that Work [2 Free Templates]

    Thanks to mobster movies, we all fear the repercussions of unpaid debt. And while receiving a past due notice isn’t quite the same as a meathead pummeling you, both methods of money collection deliver swift blows. After all, bills often fall into the land of overdue not because we were lazy, but because we didn’t have any money . Flip it to the collector’s perspective, and people not having money to pay their bills is a big …

  • Common Questions from Our Patient Sticker Shock Webinar Image

    articleMar 31, 2017 | 33 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Patient Sticker Shock Webinar

    From copays and deductibles to payer contracts and benefits verification, understanding all the nuances of third-party insurances is tough enough for healthcare providers—let alone their patients. In WebPT’s most recent webinar— Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients’ High-Deductible Health Plans —co-hosts Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, the cofounder and president of WebPT, and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham provided a lot of great advice on how to have productive conversations about healthcare costs with your patients—without …

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