As requirements for third-party reimbursement increase and payments decrease, more and more physical therapists are going the way of cash-based business models—or at least offering select cash-pay services. As a result, we’ve received quite a few questions over the years about the ins and outs of running a cash-based physical therapy practice. Luckily, cash-pay experts Ann Wendel, PT, and Jarod Carter, DPT, have both contributed blog posts on the subject. (Check out Wendel’s article’s here and Carter’s here.)
In this exclusive interview with ActivCore co-founder and CEO Ian Kornbluth, we examine how physical therapists can increase revenue by going out-of-network.
Starting a new physical therapy practice? Make sure you take care of these four intellectual property to-dos or else your business may land in a world of hurt.
January is synonymous with resolutions, and now that direct access is a reality in all 50 states, many rehab therapy practices are resolving to better market to consumers. But marketing costs money, and nothing dashes dreams like a budget. As Marketing pioneer John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
With reimbursements from third-party payers in steady decline, adding cash-pay options to your practice’s current menu of services might just be necessary to secure your survival. Here’s how to equip your clinic to do just that.
You’ve spent months preparing to open your own practice, and it’s finally time! Your doors are open for business and your staff is ready to treat patients, but does your community even know your practice is open? Working with fellow business owners and residents to put together a grand opening event is a wonderful way to network with your neighbors (and potential customers) with the end result being a fun community event that exposes the public to your staff and your clinic. Here’s how to throw a grand opening event for your new practice in four steps:
Our blog post today was written by WebPT member, Dr. Sam Esterson, PT, MA, MBA, DScPT. He is the owner of Esterson and Associates Physical Therapy. He is also the author of a well-received book written in 2003, entitled Starting & Managing Your Own Physical Therapy Practice: A Guide for the Rookie Entrepreneur. Dr. Esterson will be a featured guest on this month’s webinar. Learn more here. Thanks to Sam for his wise words.
Those forward thinking and self-motivated therapists who possess a powerful drive to grow, are goal-directed, and have low blood pressure are ones who may be the best candidates to jump in, full throttle, and consider opening up a practice “on their own.” Sure, there’s much to consider and plan, but, if you are a therapist working in an environment where you are constantly thinking, “Gee, I sure could do this better, easier, more creatively, and/or more cost-effectively,” then, you may have “the itch.” The people who generally have this spirit are called “entrepreneurs.” An entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of an enterprise. The term comes from the French, entreprendre, meaning, to undertake. Entrepreneurs demand as much of themselves as they do of others. They have a passion for their dreams and do not easily take “no” for an answer. Entrepreneurs see opportunity when others see potential failure. They see the proverbial glass half-full while others perceive the glass half-empty.
There are some therapists who may think that by opening their own practice, they will become their own boss and not have to take orders from others ever again. This concept cannot be further from the truth. In fact, once you open your own business, you will have many bosses, including the referring practitioners who have clinical demands on you, insurance companies who direct your care by virtue of how they reimburse you for services rendered, patients who have a knack for manipulating your time and efforts, and even your staff who place constraints on you in many ways.
Today we are pleased to present Part II of our interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be?
When I got out of school, I think I had quite a bit of ego. Everything was driven by what I wanted. If I had learned about other people’s wants and needs, I would have had an easier time. I needed to listen and not talk. The more you listen the more action you get. That was a big lesson, learning to let go and not make it about me. Also in the beginning, I don’t think I had a clear purpose of why I started. I started because I wanted to make money. That was a bad reason. You’re not going to make it. Making money is the benefit of doing quality work, having empathy towards patients and great communication. We go into business to make money, however, making money alone is the least long-term motivator that exists.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
Personally, I have the freedom to control my own life. My family. My work. My faith life. That balance and control is great. I’ve been able to watch great therapists succeed. To be able to watch them take care oftheir families while helping people out, that’s rewarding. Part of my mission is to help young therapists take off in their own lives.
Today we are pleased to present an interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I graduated from Marquette in 1988 and started in private practice in 1989. I started out in Racine,Wisconsin. Later, in 2000, I restructured and started expanding my practice. My mission has always been about helping PTs have autonomy. I looked at the model as helping independent PTs go into business on their own. I now have 15 locations with plans to add 2 more locations in the near future. I’m very proud to say that we have some of the best therapists around working for us.
What is a little known fact about you?
I’m a third generation, male, physical therapist in private practice. It’s in my blood. Something interesting?
I get asked for advice on starting clinics all the time. Recently, I’ve been working with a young physical therapist from Cairo, Egypt. She was trying to start a practice at the same time Mubarak was getting overthrown. In order to get the proper licensing, she had to work 6 months at Cairo hospital. During that time, she was literally patching up bullet wounds. And she still wanted to open a clinic! Think of what she went through! We also had to work on how to even get equipment in Cairo. How does one get a license? During all this, she had a one year old baby. Her husband has to stay at home making sure no one is raiding their house. It’s fascinating! Her drive is incredible.
Tell us about the ugly side of starting a clinic and what you’ve learned.
Everything to do with marketing has been ugly. It’s mind-boggling how people don’t understand the things that they themselves are supposed to be the experts in. One of the first things I tried to do was a yellow pages advertisement. Their representative sent a rough draft for me to mark up with changes. The draft was way off base so I created my own and sent it back immediately. Shortly after, I received the original draft, without a single change, for my approval. Three times they did this before finally using the version I sent the first time. I once tried to put a sign on a restaurant marquee. The restaurant remodeled and moved the sign into their back office. It’s been one crazy thing after another.
What did I take from this? Write down everything. Don’t assume anything. Make sure you know who you talked to, what they said, etc. And follow up. I hate to micromanage the experts I am hiring to take care of me—why hire them if you have to do it yourself, right? When you’re starting a business you don’t have time for every little thing but it’s well worth your time to take a peak at what your advertising people are doing. At the moment, I’m plenty busy and I don’t advertise.
If you could do one thing differently what would it be?
I don’t think I would do anything different. I think everything is happening perfectly for me. I almost went with a different location, so if I had, my answers might be completely different. Overall, I am very pleased.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
I can spend the time I need with my patients to get them better. Before opening Horizons I was tired of people telling me I needed to be more productive, telling me how to treat, how long to spend, etc. The bottom line is important, yes, but it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing for me is getting people healthy and well again. That’s the main reason that I started my own clinic. Oh, I may not make a million dollars, but I can’t imagine having more job satisfaction and peace of mind.
Today we kick off a month-long series for physical therapists about how to start a clinic. We know that many therapists either dream of starting their own practice or want to become even better business owners. Over the next month, we’ll share with you interviews, tips, and tricks about being a therapist entrepreneur. Today we’re excited to share Part I of our interview with WebPT member, Christine Wood, PT, DPT of Waynesboro, VA. Thanks to Christine for her time and advice.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your practice, location, and years in business.
As of this February I have been in business for one year. I’ve known for some time that since Waynesboro, VA had only one physical therapy clinic, there was a definite market need. I originally considered opening a clinic seven years ago but decided to have a child instead. I spent the next five years being a mom and working PRN and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do those things. Last year though, my little girl started kindergarten, so I decided the time was right to move ahead. I’m very blessed to be here. I’ve been a therapist for20 years and opening my own clinic is a long-time dream come true!
Tell us something we wouldn’t know. This can be an interesting fact, a fun anecdote or even a more formal piece of information about starting a PT clinic.
Something funny? Thinking for a little while early on that I could have a child and start a business at the same time. That was funny! I’m so glad I did it the way we did though.