increasing revenue Archives | Page 9 of 10 | WebPT

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Turn Your No-Shows into Yes-Shows

As sports rehabilitator Heidi Dawson writes in this article: “No-shows [are] the bane of a therapist’s existence.” We’re inclined to agree. You’ve got your schedule precisely booked—often down to the minute—and a no-show or late cancellation can turn your well-balanced plan for the day into a disheveled mess of frantic “are-you-still-coming?” phone calls followed by thumb-twiddling boredom. Oh, and then there’s the lost time and revenue to consider. Despite how frustrating no-shows can be, though, all hope is not lost. There are several things you can do to tackle the no-show problem and increase the odds that your patients will show for their appointments. Here are five:

1. Set a Policy

Dawson writes that “time is money,” and that’s especially accurate for therapists because you don’t make money without treating patients. To take that several steps further, if you don’t make enough money, you won’t stay in business, which means you won’t be able to continue serving your community. And that’s a huge piece of the puzzle patients often overlook when choosing not to make their appointments a priority. So create a policy that outlines specific rules for scheduling and canceling and present it as part of your initial consultation forms along with a sentence or two about the impact of missed appointments. It’s not enough to just set rules. Instead, make sure your patients understand the reasoning behind your policy and you’ll immediately increase their compliance. (Hint: avoid language that is critical, dramatic, or punitive. Rather, be polite and appeal to your patients’ empathetic sides. Most will understand and respect you more for your honesty.)

So what kind of rules should you set? That’s totally up to you. Some therapists opt for a 24-hour cancellation notice requirement; otherwise, they charge for the full appointment amount. However, most also understand that there might be mitigating circumstances that warrant a penalty waiver. Other therapists request a pre-payment or deposit from patients as soon as they book appointments, but as Dawson point out, this might make your patients feel like you don’t trust them, which could potentially drive away business. Still other therapists keep patient credit card details on file, although you can only do this if you have record of a pre-authorization agreement with the bank or patient demographic query (PDQ) supplier (a similar arrangement to that of a hotel that places a hold on a consumer’s funds until the stay is complete, at which time they charge the card.) Otherwise, keeping card details on file is a bad—and possibly illegal—idea.

Regardless of what policy you choose, just make sure you clearly communicate to patients what you expect of them before they begin therapy. That way, there are no surprises when you go to enforce your policy.

 

2.  Identify Trends

If you’re not already tracking your no-shows and cancellations, start doing so now. You may come across some interesting demographic and logistical trends that can help you predict the likelihood of patient attendance at a given appointment time.University of Missouri faculty Howard Houghton, MD, and Patricia Alafaireet used electronic medical record and billing system data to identify missed medical visit characteristics. They found:

  • Medicaid recipients had a higher rate of no-shows than any other insurance beneficiary type. Additionally, Medicaid patients who had appointment times outside of the public transportation schedule never showed.
  • Patients who lived five to 10 miles away from the practice were most likely to make their appointments, whereas patients who lived 19 to 60 miles away were more likely not to show. Patients who lived more than 60 miles away almost always made their appointments.
  • Young, single men had the highest no-show rates. However, attendance was better for mid-morning appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

 

While quite interesting, Alafaireet says, “We really do think [the findings are] probably practice-specific.” She recommends starting a simple Excel spreadsheet. “You want to look for the factors that can be controlled,” Dr. Houghton advises. Then, once you’ve identified some common missed appointment trends, start implementing ways to change them.

3. Schedule Better

The University of Missouri study found something else interesting: Patients were more likely to show up for an appointment at a time of their choosing. According to the article, many traditional schedulers “followed practice protocol” by “scheduling the first caller for Monday at 8:00 AM, the second for Monday at 8:30,” and so on. Dr. Houghton and Alafaireet found that the most successful schedulers asked patients on what date and at what time they wanted to come in—an easy change that could significantly increase your yes-shows.

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7 WebPT Reports You Should be Using and Why (Part One)

The word “report” often carries a slightly negative connotation. After all, who honestly gets pumped up about things like book reports, progress reports, or TPS reports? (Okay, I admit it—I was a lit nerd who actually loved writing book reports, but that’s neither here nor there.) Anyway, when it comes to boosting and maintaining the health of your business, reports can be extremely valuable. And because there are already tons of awesome, easy-to-use reports available within WebPT, you don’t have to go far to take advantage of these tools. Over the next two days, I’ll discuss seven WebPT reports you should be using on the regular. Today, we’ll talk about the Missed Notes Report, the Claims Feed Report, and the Lost Patient Log.

1. Missed Notes Report

This report works in conjunction with the WebPT Scheduler to identify patients who were scheduled for appointments but do not have finalized notes for the appropriate dates of service. This is huge because if you forget to finalize a note, there won’t be a claim for that date of service, and as a result, you won’t get paid. By verifying that all notes are properly finalized, you ensure that those claims move through to billing.

Missed Notes Report Location WebPT

As shown in the screenshot above, you can access the missed notes report under “Reports” on the left side of your WebPT dashboard. Here is what the report looks like (notice the “Missing” tag under “Doc Status”):

Missed Notes Report Example WebPT

2. Claims Feed Report

If you bill through one of WebPT’s integrated billing services (e.g., Kareo, AdvancedMD, or CollaborateMD), you should be checking your Claims Feed Report on a daily basis. This report alerts you to various data problems or omissions that could prevent your information from carrying over to your billing system—which could be a problem if you want to receive fast reimbursements (and who doesn’t?). You can find examples of common alert errors—along with instructions for correcting them—within the Knowledge Base, located in the WebPT Community. (To access the Community, click the group icon in the top right of the application.)

3. Lost Patient Log

You know those patients who just seem to drop off the face of the planet, never to return to therapy again? Well, the Lost Patient Log can help you find them and bring them back into Earth’s orbit—er, your clinic. As shown in the screenshot below, this report generates a list of patients based on the number of days since their last Daily Note. In the far right column, you can see whether you’ve already scheduled a patient for another appointment. If you see the words “No Appointment,” it might be time to pick up the phone or send a friendly reminder email.

Lost Patient Log WebPT

Pretty neat stuff, right? I bet you can’t wait to dig in to all that data goodness. Check back tomorrow to learn about four more awesome reports you should try out: the Prescription Report, the Referral Report, the Billing Report, and the Productivity Report.

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Does Email Marketing Make Sense for My Clinic?

There are plenty of things to worry about as a small business owner—so does it make sense to add email marketing to the list? Absolutely. For starters, email marketing returned $39.40 for every dollar spent in 2012, according to the Direct Marketing Association. This return far surpassed the next closest marketing initiative ($22.38 through Web search).

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10 Best Practices to Maximize Billing

 I wish I could tell you that today’s blog was going to be about how to make rehab therapy billing a breeze. But it’s not. There’s no magic answer, no simple solution, and certainly no easy-as-pie fix. Not to fear, though. There are things you can do—steps you can take—to make sure your billing processes are at their very best so you’ll increase your revenue and decrease your headaches. Here are ten:

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How to Implement a Patient Fees Collection Plan in Your Practice

Yesterday, I discussed the importance of not waiving patient fees. So what to do instead? Develop a system or procedure to collect all patient fees (including copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and payment for non-covered services and supplies) at the time of service. Here are steps based off an article from the APTA. 

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Increase Referrals Through Relationship Marketing

Be Valuable to Increase Referrals

Today’s blog post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen.

Referrals = new business. And who doesn’t want a little more of that? But the key to boosting referrals isn’t throwing advertising dollars around. It’s about building lasting relationships, both with your patients and community physicians. And how do you do that? Position yourself as an expert, an educator, and most importantly, a person. In short, demonstrate your (and your profession’s) worth.

Be Valuable
Think about the great chefs on television: Emeril, Julia Child, and Mario Batali. They all do more than just cook. They have drive. They have stories to share. They have purpose. The same applies to you. As a physical therapist, you’re more than what is on your resume. Prove it.  

Talk about what you do; show your passion; educate and inspire through your experiences, and you’ll prove to your patients, referring physicians, and community that you’re more than an expert; you’re a pillar—the true value. Embrace this, and you’ll employ the most engaging, intimate, and effective form of marketing available.  

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Ideas from Employees Can Increase Revenue for Your Clinic

For some of the best ideas to increase revenue in your clinic, look no further than your staff! That’s right one of the easiest ways to gather intimate data about your clinic is to ask the people who work for you. You might be thinking “If my staff sees an issue, they will bring it to my attention.” That may be true, if it’s a big enough issue, let’s hope that they say something. Given that your staff is probably pretty busy during the day, however, it may take asking them point-blank in order to jog their memory. Putting a question front and center gives it it their attention.

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Maximizing Your Clinic’s Revenue Stream

This post was authored by WebPT Billing Specialist, Geoff Elledge. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Geoff!

 There are many different ways to look at your clinic’s finances.  You can look at average revenue per patient visit, insurance payer mix, average referrals from physicians and on and on.  

Let’s start with a few of the basic questions you should ask:

  • much does it cost you to treat an average patient?
  • How much does the insurance pay you per visit?
  • What is your average patient cost share per visit?
  • How long does it take on average to collect?

These are some of the basic questions you have to ask before you can start to maximize your revenues versus expenses.

First of all, take a good hard look at your fixed costs and figure out how much it costs you just to see a patient.  It’s boring, but if you want to run a successful business, there’s no better place to start.  I know we are in the business of caring for our patients first, but it is still a business, after all!

Start by calculating your average fixed costs such as rent, utilities, equipment costs/depreciation.  Then take a look at payroll, salaries, benefits, etc.  Add them up on a monthly basis then divide them by the total number of hours your office is open on a monthly basis, say 160 hours per month.  The resulting number is your average hourly costs of operation. If you spend 30 minutes per patient on average divide by two and you have your per patient cost per visit.  Confused yet? That is just the beginning.

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How Can Private Practice Clinics Gain a Competitive Edge? Durable Medical Supplies.

Today’s post is brought to us by Tim Beury, Operations Manager with Medical Resource Association. Thanks for sharing this information Tim!

If you are a physical or occupational therapist in the United States that has been in private practice the you have surely experienced the anxiety filled hour (or two!) of working out a good plan of action to effectively increase your referrals. You are undoubtedly familiar with the work it takes to be viewed in your community as a cut above the rest or at least above your competition around the corner. If you have not experienced this phenomenon then I urge you to stop reading and pick up the phone to call me and immediately let me in on your secret!

For all of the rest of us who do experience a certain level of this “anxiety” or “stress” from trying to pay the bills month to month, I have a recomendation for you. We know that therapists are constantly reaching and striving for the ultimate in patient care and perfection at their clinics without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. May I suggest introducing Durable Medical Supplies into your practice?

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Focus on Making Money

Today’s post is brought to us by Matt Wolach, the Director of Sales for WebPT. Thanks for contributing Matt!

Most are aware of Southwest Airlines’ legendary ability to stay solvent in a fierce industry. Especially remarkable is the company’s ability to stay in business when so many airlines were filing bankruptcies. But few know the secret.

Sure the company’s commitment to customer service and funny flight attendants and pilots are renowned. It doesn’t hurt that Southwest doesn’t turn away customers by charging for extras like checked bags or window seats. All of this helps.

But the reason Southwest continues to thrive, even when charging the consumer less, is that they clearly understand their core business. They are in the business of flying. ‘Well of course,’ you say. Ok, so let’s put it another way.

Southwest knows they only make money when their planes are in the air.

Southwest does not make money when the planes are on the ground. Thus, they do everything they can to shorten the time on the ground as much as possible. This is what’s called a “turn time.’

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How can an EMR in the Cloud Increase Profits for my Clinic

By now, everyone is aware of the financial incentives available for clinicians who switch to Electronic Medical Records. The incentives are supposed to help clinics offset their costs while they digitize their entire office, including getting rid of those awful filing cabinets.

Before too much excitement sets in, you should also be aware that while Rehab professionals (Occupational and Physical Therapists) are required to make the switch under the mandate, they are not eligible for the financial incentives. The reasons for this exclusion are confusing, but we will save that for another blog post.

The lack of funds for Physical Therapists highlights a big factor in all of this. The EMR system they choose to put in place must increase profits or save the clinic money.  The system must add productivity and lower costs without having a large start up investment. Most Therapists don’t have a large capital reserve to put up $30,000 to $60,0000 to get up and running with a new system.

A great article from Plus91, recently put forth some practical ways an EMR can drive up clinic revenues:

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