Life as a traveling therapist has numerous perks: the freedom to live in various places across the country, multiple clinic settings to choose from, and of course, higher pay. But the most exciting benefit is the ability to take full control over your career and design the work-life balance you’ve always hoped for.
You didn’t choose this profession for the paycheck. You became an occupational therapist because you enjoy helping people improve the quality of their lives—and that’s the way it should be. Still, you shouldn’t completely ignore the dollar amount on your paystub. Money might not be your main motivator, but you deserve fair compensation for the quality of therapy you provide.
Whether you’re job hunting or negotiating the pay rate of your current position, there are several factors you should take into account when it comes to physical therapist salaries.
As a clinic director or owner, you know that strategic hiring plays a key role in the success of your practice. But are you applying this knowledge to your front office staff hires? According to Monster.com, “failure to devote time and resources to your small business hiring strategy for non-clinical positions is a common mistake for even the most talented of clinicians in private practice.” And this common mistake can adversely affect your business—not only in terms of patient satisfaction, but also in terms of your bottom line. After all, “communication breakdowns between the front office and clinicians can result in a malpractice claim. And a single HIPAA violation can bring a fine of up to $50,000,” Monster continues.
Here are six business-benefiting qualities to look for in a front office candidate:
Biller at Heart
Front office employees typically answer phones, complete patient intakes, and book appointments, but that’s only the tip of the front office iceberg. Billing starts in the front office, and mistakes could negatively affect your reimbursements—or worse, decrease your chances of getting paid at all. Your front office team should verify each patient’s insurance and benefits before you begin treatment.
Now, you may already have aids or billers verifying insurance. Well, stop. Aids should be helping you treat and billers should be chasing A/R (i.e., getting you paid). Also, it’s a waste of their wages to have them verifying benefits. Perhaps you pay a third-party to validate insurance. Stop that as well. It’s too costly and time-consuming, and any front office staffer worth his or her salt should be able to complete this task in a timely and efficient manner.
According to Today’s Practice’s “7 Key Elements of Growing a Successful Office Staff,” your front office staff “should not be afraid to collect copays or self-pay payments. Copays and the self-pay population are on the rise. It is the patient’s responsibility to pay and it’s the front desk staff’s responsibility to enforce this.” Sounds like a lot of pressure—and it is. So make sure you’re hiring someone who is perfectly comfortable asking for money owed.
An Om Blog article recommends documenting every single thing your front office staff does. (Don’t forget to add insurance verification and payment collection.) When you get it all on paper, you’ll realize it’s a pretty substantial list of responsibilities. Lots of people include “ability to multi-task” on their job applications. For this position, you want to make sure the candidate truly lives up to that qualification.
Hip to Your Software
When I first entered my field, everyone wanted to make sure I knew Microsoft Office backwards and forwards. Now, they want to make sure I know how to use web-based blogging platforms. Times change, but the desire to hire people who know their industry’s software doesn’t. As Today’s Practice explains, hiring someone with knowledge of your practice management and/ordocumentation software will enable you to “spend less time and money on training. In addition, the transition will be smoother for this person and the existing office staff.”
We’re already seeing therapists and front office staff alike listing WebPT on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles, so why not look for such qualifications during your hiring process? To be safe, list the software your practice uses on the position description.Today’s Practice also recommends quizzing potential candidates or new hires to determine their degree of experience with a particular program.
Speaking of position descriptions, put a lot of time and thought into your job listings. As Monster explains, “when the pressure is on to open the doors to your new practice or replace a soon-to-depart receptionist or scheduler, you’ll be tempted to rush.” In the article, Brian Nylaan, DDS, who has a solo practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said: “‘I didn’t always do my homework in terms of talking with the candidate and having the whole team do so, because I just wanted to end the stress of having a position vacant.’” Don’t go that route. You have good reasons (like everything listed above and then some) to avoid the need-a-warm-body temptation and hire the right candidate. That starts with crafting an honest, detailed, well-written job announcement.
When you decided to go into this profession, you probably didn’t do so with dreams of one day touring Robin Leach around your mega-yacht. For you, becoming a speech-language pathologist wasn’t about the money—it was about helping people overcome communication challenges, gain self-confidence, and improve the quality of their lives.
Today’s post comes from WebPT Member Mike Taylor, PT, MBA, OCS, from OrthoSport Physical Therapy. Thanks, Mike! Assume that your personality and skills are what the world’s been waiting for.
Physical therapists are in high demand, and the profession is growing rapidly. Additionally, interest is growing for speedy, multitasking jack-of-all-trades front office, compliance, and billing experts to round out the rehab clinic. While the talent pool is deepening, competition remains steep, and you absolutely want the crème de la crème (no matter the position) for your practice. So how do you attract and hire top talent? Get Your Practice in Tip Top Shape
As the population ages and baby boomers find themselvs in need of healthcare services, occupations with fewer years of study and moderate salaries—like physical therapist assistant, are in high demand.