You don’t have to search very hard on the interweb of things these days to find someone talking about labor shortages. In fact, we have done it on more than one occasion after our State of Rehab Therapy report highlighted some big gaps in the rehab workforce—to the tune of executives reporting a loss of 11.4% of their workforce in 2022. But let’s take a break from pointing out problems and instead get solutions-oriented.
In this episode of the The Practice Experience Podcast, WebPT Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, and Brandon Seigel, CEO of Wellness Works Management get right to the fix—and then some—when they tackle how best to level up your therapy office’s workforce retention.
To get down to brass tacks and provide you with actionable insights, Heidi and Brandon discuss:
- what makes incoming clinicians tick,
- how to beat some of the regulatory headwinds, and
- how to retain your workforce through better recruitment.
On What Drives New Generations in the Workforce
Brandon: I think there is a drive in today's universe—so to speak—where people want to experience more. They feel that their purpose is no longer about giving but about experiencing. So I think when we're looking at today's [workforce], our business model is becoming more and more transactional as funding is changing.
On Providing Accessibility to Today’s Patients
Heidi: I've talked about the 90 percent problem where we're only accessing potentially 10 percent...I think we've moved the needle a couple of percent now in terms of those who have a diagnosis that a PT could be beneficially helping them.
Brandon: Not everyone can afford private pay, and not everyone can afford to pick and choose where they go. There are insurances in California paying a $36 flat rate reimbursement for a physical therapy visit. We're trying to make care accessible to people who need it, but we are hamstrung by a funding model that's broken. As a result, our value is going down—because who can deliver a qualitative outcome of $36 in today's environment?
On Getting Creative
Brandon: I think we have to look at different ways we can contribute to clinical outcomes— one being therapeutically, two being, hey, we have accessibility to our equipment. The gym model comes to mind. I've been successful with helping clinics find nonprofits that are creating scholarships for augmenting some of those lower contract payers to bring care in at a higher caliber.
On Getting an ROI from Health Care
Brandon: We are told to pay every month for insurance, but there is no gauge on what the return on investment (ROI) is for our payments. If I spend $20,000 a year on health insurance, insurance companies are betting that I will get less than $20,000 worth of care. I don't think we—the greater population—understand that. We feel like we are unlocking a meal plan in which we have unlimited access because we're spending like it's a buffet of resources.
On the Difference Between Leadership and the Career Ladder
Brandon: I continue to be amazed at why we utilize leadership as the preferred career ladder. To me, leaders are leaders. Why can't someone grow in their career without having a management title? Why can't they become a clinical specialist? Why can't they become a brand ambassador? Why can't they unlock growth without managing other people? Too often, we continue to put the wrong people in management roles.
On Cutting to the Chase in an Interview Process
Brandon: What we're trying to get is authenticity, but people are afraid to show authenticity today. You have a choice of hundreds of jobs, not tens of jobs, hundreds of jobs. So rather than waste our time, let's get to the meat and potatoes of each other so we can see because this is a marriage and we're going to need to make sure we are in sync.
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