Private Practice Management of Physical Therapists

Many times a client I’m working with has peaked in patient volume for a few weeks and then started to slide to an earlier lower level. There is an automatic shut-off mechanism so-to-speak: when the visits go beyond the comfort zone of the practitioner volume-wise, the tendency is to go back to comfort zone level. As the cost involved in producing does not go down when you slow down the production, it is easy to see that this situation is a departure from what is ideal.

One solution of many and probably the most expansion-oriented one is to hire more practitioners to maintain the volume and keep pumping the promotion lines so as to maintain the inflow of new patients. Easier said than done.

What if the practitioners working under you have a very low level comfort zone? I have been faced with this situation often with my clients. Trying to simply tell these junior practitioners that they are costing too much money or that they need to “earn” their pay seems to simply upset them further and it usually makes no difference in their production.

The handling is to emphasize quality with them, not volume or money. Show them how their patients are getting less than acceptable quality by not emphasizing quantitative aspects with them: number of treatments per week, number of modalities in each treatment, spending too much time in each modality. These all add up to a reduced image of expertise on your part in the eyes of the patient. And expertise is what patients are seeking you for – not an ol’ fumbler who lets them do whatever they want whenever they want. They can do that at home.

Try this approach some time and see how quality of care is the language most physical therapists understand, private practice owners or not.

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