“Radar” Software Controls Physical Therapy Claims Flow

BESTPT Billing Radar, perhaps the BEST-KEPT secret in the medical billing industry?

Are you anxious about insurance claims payment delays? Needless to say, lack of control over your physical therapy claims process also affects your practice cash flow negatively and robs you of any peace of mind.

Ultimately, your business is doomed to die if you cannot track and predict your cash flow easily. And since a stressed out practice owner drives away patients, the growth of your physical therapy practice is further hindered. Without sufficient growth you cannot achieve any long-term profitability.

Of course, you don’t have the time to micromanage each billing aspect. There are just too many failing or rejected claims to address with limited resources. But there is a high price to pay if you fail to follow up on your physical therapy claims: reduced cash flow for your practice.

Maybe you are blaming your untrained staff for the lack of consistent and effective physical therapy billing performance. But without the right tools like effective physical therapy software, no one can adequately keep track and follow up on all underpaid and denied claims. Claims that are not corrected are forgotten and affect the entire practice negatively. In fact, you cannot even evaluate your physical therapy billing performance without tracking your active claims backlog since it helps you determine the percentage of your AR past 120 days.

Nevertheless, managing a physical therapy practice is not all about claims processing, but rather a balancing act of multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The real challenge lies in prioritizing tasks since urgent but easy problems often delay the handling of more important matters. Seeing the big picture consistently instead of just putting out random fires ultimately determines the quality of your claims workflow management and physical therapy billing performance.

But without a centralized organization of tasks and performance it is virtually impossible to keep your eyes on the big picture. As a result, choosing the right physical therapy software functionality is vital for accomplishing this goal.

Naturally, the best physical therapy software is useless if you cannot configure it for your unique practice workflow. That’s why you should choose a system that provides adequate support in terms of customization and configuration.

At the end of the day every PT just wants to focus on treating patients rather than learning new physical therapy software. Hence, ease of use for workflow management is paramount. Equally important is the presentation of all data in an easy to digest way to make a meaningful analysis possible since text presentations of complex data is difficult and boring.

That’s why bestPT uses the Radar as your personal Practice Health Monitor. It displays multiple aspects of your practice at once and every member of your staff can see it on bestPT’s software Home page every time they log on. Since the data collection is automated you don’t have to worry about wasting time on looking up your practice stats, including claims status. In fact, your entire practice staff can work as a team and monitor trends with the radar to detect any problem areas before they cripple your practice performance. You can even customize your workflow KPIs so you can track the improvement of your practice performance over time. We also help you see and understand the big picture by providing a daily radar analysis and monthly Health Checks with your BESTPT Excellence Center Director and team members as part of our consistent follow up process.

Want to see practice Radar in action? Register for your Demo+ now. Subscribers can contact their PT Excellence Center Director to configure your Radar so you can track your physical therapy claims workflow and reach your practice goals.

CPT Codes For Physical Therapy 2012-2014 | Pop Quiz, February 2015

Pop Quiz:
Which two CPT codes combined were more than 50% of all claims from 2012-2014?

Answer: 97110 and 97140.

In the BESTPT billing network, what CPT codes were used during 2012, 2013, and 2014?

We saw some minor variations that can be attributed to Medicare regulation and reimbursement strategies. We saw more use of 97140 (Manual Therapy) from 2012-2014,  and less use of 97530 (Therapeutic Activities) for that same time period.

The average CPT collections per unit was $24.47 in 2012, $23.60 in 2013, and $23.82 in 2014. This is an average reduction of 3.5% from 2012 to 2013 and a modest 0.9% increase from 2013 to 2014.

CPT code pay per unit 2012-2014

CPT Codes Pay Per Unit 2012-2014

Read the full CPT story. Download the CPT Analysis eBook


Physical Therapy Software Embedded Analytics


Can of Worms

What do the numbers mean to you and your practice?

Opening your own practice means opening a whole new can of worms. That’s because there are so many elements that they don’t teach you about in school: aspects of running a business that you’re left to learn on the fly — all while attempting to provide quality care for your patients.

One of the most critical components of achieving practice success is making sense of the numbers. There are numbers everywhere, from revenue to no-shows, from patient visits to accounts receivable. When you first start to look at them, it can almost seem like you’re staring at signs in a foreign language, hoping that the context might shed some light on what they mean. Practice management software can help, but until you know what numbers are most important to your practice — and how they signify growth or, conversely, difficulties — you’re still left wading through a mess of mathematical gobbledygook.

Fortunately, there are analytics — tools to help you make sense of the data — available, and the best software solutions, such as bestPT, embed those tools into the program so that they’re easily and immediately accessible. Offering a visual presentation of the numbers, these analytics finally make it possible for you to interpret and understand the numbers that drive your practice. Examples include:

Radar chart — Visually resembling a spiderweb, the radar chart shows multiple variables on axes starting from the same point, radiating outward like spokes on a wheel. The length of the spoke is proportional to the magnitude of the data. This allows you to examine the correlation of values — say, accounts receivable and NFAs — that aren’t otherwise measured in comparable units.


Trend report — A trend report presents data on a traditional line graph, thereby allowing you to see the peaks and valleys of your information — and the inter-relation of different data sets — over time.


Histogram — With a histogram, you can choose three charts to show you a graphical representation of a single area of your practice over a given time period (weekly/monthly), depending on the selection. This allows you to gauge how your practice is doing comparatively for a set amount of time.


Dashboard — A dashboard is an organized presentation of the numbers, so you can get an at-a-glance picture of where your practice stands on collections and outstanding work. bestPT, for example, can show you failed claims, AR > 120 and outstanding tasks — or “tickets” — on a single screen through its homescreen dashboard.


Billing Stats Report — This type of report allows you to view claims by date of service. The report can then be broken down in a number of different ways, depending on what you’re looking for (customizable by practice). The Billing Stats Report, or BSR, is very useful for digging into problems.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which numbers provide the best snapshot of practice success; however, analytics are the tools that help bring that snapshot into focus.

What do the numbers mean to you and your practice?

Physical Therapy Practice Management | Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

Messineo-blog3Why Headlines and Graphics are Important in Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

By Steve Messineo, DPT, Owner, YourBizSuccessCoach.com

Have you ever sent a marketing letter to a local physician promoting your practice in the hope of seeing more patient referrals from that physician?  If so, what did you do to the letter to help it grab the doctor’s attention?

If you are like most physical therapy clinic owners, chances are you didn’t do much to it. Most likely, you wrote a “Dear Dr. So and So” letter telling him or her all about how your practice is ideal for his or her patients. No headlines, no eye catching graphics or pictures. Just a “plain Jane” letter.

Unfortunately, physicians get enough of these letters from other PT’s and other vendors looking to promote their products or services. It is enough to put them asleep – something they can’t afford to be doing when treating their patients.  So, more often than not, these type of letters get filed in the TRASH without the message about your practice getting through.

Don’t feel bad – most physical therapists are not taught effective marketing techniques in school to promote themselves and their businesses.  But, there is hope.  There are plenty of sources for PT clinic owners to get the training they need to be effective marketers – more about this later.

If you have had some marketing experience, then you know that implementing attention grabbing headlines and graphics/pictures that accentuate the message you are delivering in your letters to physicians, is the way to go if you are looking to convert physicians to consistent referral sources for your practice.

At the same time, there are strategies behind creating an effective headline and using appropriate graphics.  How do you learn these strategies?  Well, one way is to look up marketing courses for PT clinic owners, pay for one, and go through the education process.

The other is to attend my upcoming webinar where I will share outside of the box marketing strategies that will help increase the number of patient referrals to your practice.

If you would like to attend the webinar, “Outside of the Box Strategies for Marketing to MD’s”, you can register for it by clicking a button below or above.

steve messenio youtube

Physical Therapy Software Sweet Dream Practice Analysis

DPAblog4-bestPTSweet Dreams

Has Shannon’s Dream Practice Analysis left her feeling like life is sweet?

“Hey, it’s my favorite customers!” Mike kissed his wife and ruffled the kids’ hair as they slipped in through the back door of his restaurant.

“Hi, Shannon,” said the chef. “I think we might have some treats for the kids.”

“Treats?” they chorused.

“Mostly broccoli and asparagus,” teased the chef, “but there might be a cookie or two as well.”

“We should probably get them out of the kitchen, Shannon,” Mike suggested. “It’s not the safest place for a passel of kids, especially when we get busy. Grab a stalk of broccoli, kids, and let’s go find a table.”

Mike checked the whole kitchen with a glance and, satisfied, shepherded his family out to a table in a quiet corner of the restaurant.”

“Runs like a dream, doesn’t it?” Shannon said, grabbing a cookie from the plate she’d carried out.

“Most of the time,” Mike agreed. “I’ve worked very hard to get it this way, but now I have just enough excitement to keep it interesting.”

Mike and Shannon smiled at each other for a moment over their children’s heads. Then Mike remembered. “Today was your Dream Practice thing, right?”

“Right,” echoed Shannon. “It was great. Really, just going through the process has clarified things for me. You were right; it’s been a while since I took a high level look at my business.”

“It’s easy to get distracted,” Mike smiled.

“Very easy. But we went through the difference between ROI and expenses and compared our practice stats with some industry benchmarks for the things we offer, and it really made sense. I’d say it gave me some direction.”

“Just going through the figures probably helped a lot.”

“With an objective expert perspective, yes. We hadn’t really identified the right metrics to track. We didn’t capture all the data we should and we didn’t really know what to do with the information we had,”

“So the Dream Practice process really showed you all that?”

“Plus some opportunities and even some guarantees. I’m really glad I did it.”

The cookies were gone and the kids were getting restless, but Shannon had just wanted to share her satisfaction with her husband. A quick visit was better than waiting till Mike got home after the restaurant closed.

“I’d better get these three home and ready for bed. Thanks for taking some time out.”

Mike bent down to get kisses from the kids and saw his family out.

Has Shannon’s Dream Practice Analysis left her feeling like life is sweet?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Physical Therapy Software Practice Analysis

DPAblog3-bestPTIf Life Could Be a Dream

Will crunching the numbers in a practice analysis help Shannon and Theresa get closer to the dream?

Shannon headed back in to work with a spring in her step. “Theresa,” she said, “do you remember when we first opened this place?”

Theresa smiled. “Of course. We were two crazy kids with a dream!”

“How close are we to that dream today?” Shannon asked.

“Pretty close,” said Theresa. “We’d be closer if we could redecorate the way you keep promising–”

Shannon laughed. “Seriously, how close are we?”

“Seriously, I think we’ve accomplished a lot. We have a great practice here, we’re helping our patients, supporting a lot of good people, and adding value to the community. I think that’s what we wanted to do, and we’ve basically done it.”

“There are some things that we haven’t accomplished, though, aren’t there? And maybe new things that have come up since we started, too.”

“Like redecorating,” Theresa couldn’t resist saying. Then she went on more soberly. “You’re right, though. There are a lot of things that get put off for lack of time, and I guess you and I might not be earning what we thought we would by now… and maybe not getting as much time off as we expected to, either.”

“So do you think there’d be some value in doing that Dream Practice Analysis we’ve been talking about?”

“If you want to do it, we’ll do it,” said Theresa tartly. “But I think you should consider the pros and cons. I agree that it might be helpful to have someone with a more numbers-oriented mindset to help us make sure we’re on the right path. Heck, it can be great just to have an objective outsider who doesn’t have so much emotion invested. But you’re talking about opening up our books to a stranger.”

“An expert. And I think we just share some information, the numbers they actually need and know what to do with — unlike you and me. I know we won’t have to share any information that shouldn’t be shared.”

“Fine. But will that information really let these experts give us an accurate prediction about how the software might be able to reduce our costs? We might just end up spending more because of double talk about saving.”

“I don’t think so,” Shannon objected. “I think that’s exactly why we need to go through the process. With actual data and someone who fully understands it, we could make our decision based on real information. We know that doing without things we really need is just false economy. We certainly did enough of that in the early days! But I don’t want to guess whether an investment is going to pay off. That’s why I think we should go through the process.”

Theresa agreed and turned back to the files she was working on, but she tossed a last question at Shannon as she moved away. “Can we ask about the ROI of redecorating while we’re at it?”

Will crunching the numbers in a practice analysis help Shannon and Theresa get closer to the dream?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Physical Therapy Software Dream Practice Analysis

DPAblog2-bestPTLife is But a Dream

For Shannon, it’s essential to look back in order to look forward

Can a Dream Practice Analysis clarify Shannon’s real-world path?

Tell me again what DPA is, said Mike, raising his voice to be heard over the shouts of the children. Mike and Shannon had come to the park to play with their kids, but they were ready for a break. Shannon had mentioned DPA on the drive over, but Mike had’t caught what it was.

It stands for ˜Dream Practice Analysis, Shannon explained. It’s part of figuring out the ROI of my practice management software. But I dont think I understand ROI well enough to be able to figure it out.

Do you have to figure it out yourself?

I asked Theresa for help, but we couldnt seem to sort it out, and shes the one who keeps the books. Shannon laughed ruefully. That sounds bad, doesnt it?

It sounds like you need some help, thats for sure. Theresa can keep track of your income and expenses, I’m sure. But ROI is about investments. By figuring out the return on a potential investment — like practice management software — you can tell whether its a wise decision or not.

I think thats the point of the DPA process, Shannon agreed. Well analyze the Dream Practice and see how much time and money I can save by automating some of our processes with software.

It sounds like a good thing to do, Mike observed. How long has it been since you slowed down enough to think about what your Dream Practice would look like?

Good question. Shannon sat back and gazed around the park. It was an idyllic setting, full of happy children, dogs, and people enjoying the sunshine. It was easier to think about her Dream Practice here than in the office.

In the office, she was often distracted by fires needing to be put out, personal issues among the staff, and a general sense of chaos. Everything seemed to need dealing with on a case-by-case basis and every problem seemed like a new issue that had to be figured out and solved¦ or worse yet, the same old problem that never got solved but still had to be dealt with.

I love my business, Shannon said at last.

I know you do. Mike put an arm around his wife’s shoulders.

But you’re right. Ive lost track of the dream.

Dreams are different from reality, but your dreams can certainly help inform your decisions. If a DPA will help you see what kind of ROI you could get from an investment and help you make the right decision about the best investments in your practice, its worth doing.

Shannon nodded. She was still watching the kids, but it seemed to Mike that she might also be seeing her Dream Practice in her minds eye.

Can a Dream Practice Analysis clarify Shannon’s real-world path?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Physical Therapy Software Return on Investment

DPAblog1-bestPTThe Numbers Game

Learning to distinguish between expenses and investments

Does ROI apply to Shannon’s PT practice?

Theresa stared blankly at Shannon. “I just don’t understand the question,” she said.

“I’m asking about the ROI — the return on investment. Like, which of our patients are most profitable. What kind of merchandise gives us the best return on our investment. When we do marketing, what return do we get for each kind of promotion or campaign.’

Theresa looked doubtfully at her computer screen. “I know what we spend and I know what we take in, and any time we spend less than we take in, I know I’m happy about it. I don’t think I can break things down the way you’re asking, though.”

“Say I wanted to hire a new technician. We’d have to think about all the costs of that new technician, compared with the amount of revenue we’d be able to get from being able to handle more patients, right?”

Theresa warily agreed.

“So we’d have to know exactly how much more money we’d make by bringing in those new patients and exactly how much it would cost to bring on the new technician. Like, if we could bring in another technician for a total of $4,000 a month counting benefits and extra coffee and toilet paper, and we could bring in $5,000 in new revenue by having one more technician on board, our ROI would be $1,000.”

“I know what ROI means,” Theresa objected. “I just don’t think we have the information to break it down like that. I can tell you what we pay one of our technicians now, but I don’t think I know how many new patients one new technician would allow us to bring in.”

“Not to mention the extra cost of coffee and toilet paper.”

Theresa laughed. “Exactly. The amount of time a client takes isn’t consistent — even with one client over time. Even if we imagine that each client pays exactly the same amount each time, we can’t really say that 10 new clients will bring in X amount of revenue, because it depends.”

“That’s true,” Shannon nodded. “Plus, just bringing in a new technician doesn’t automatically bring in 10 new clients, even if he or she increases our capacity by that amount.”

“Very true.” Theresa frowned at the screen some more. “Some of our cases bring in a lot more revenue than others, and some of our technicians have more patients but actually bring in less money. And we also sell a lot of merchandise now, and that income doesn’t necessarily line up with any of the technicians.”

“Or,” Shannon suggested, “we don’t keep track of things in a way that shows how it lines up.”  She leaned over the counter to look at the screen, too, but she couldn’t really get any information from the numbers she saw.”

“It’s also hard to figure out how to divvy up the costs,” said Theresa. “That’s a big part of ROI, but we don’t really know what the investment is. We can’t just divide up the cost of the coffee among all the technicians. We can say one pound of coffee lasts a week and costs five dollars, and if we have ten people on staff, that’s 50 cents per person, but really if we only have seven people on staff, we’re probably still going to finish that coffee in a week.”

Shannon’s head was beginning to hurt. “And I guess we can’t really divide the cost of coffee among all the clients, because we’ll drink the coffee no matter how many clients we have that week. I’m confused about this, really. I understand that it’s important, but I don’t know how to figure it out. People talk about fixed costs and variable costs, but where does coffee fit in?”

Theresa nodded. “I know how much it costs to keep the doors open and the lights on every month, and I can use that to figure out how many patients we have to see. But it doesn’t seem to work out in real life. The cost per hour per client always looks like it would be right, but even when we’re busy and have no unusual expenses, I never feel like things are just the way I expect them to be.”

“This stuff makes me feel like my head is about to explode,” Shannon confessed. “It seems as though we ought to be able to say the fixed costs are X number of dollars no matter how many clients we have.”

“I guess that’s true. The rent, the utilities, and the coffee really don’t depend on how many appointments we have.”

“But some of our costs must depend on the number of people we see.”

Shannon and Theresa were both staring at the screen. They fell silent, as though inspiration were about to descend on them.

At last, Theresa shook her head. “As long as I get all the bills paid and payroll covered, I’m happy.”

“Yeah, okay,” said Shannon ruefully, “but that doesn’t answer my questions about ROI.”

“Maybe ROI doesn’t apply to us,” suggested Theresa. “Maybe it works if you’re making widgets in a factory, but once you bring people into the mix, it doesn’t work any more.”

Does ROI apply to Shannon’s PT practice?

Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

Is a $100 budget enough to add cash pay to your business? We think so…

cash pay for your PT practice

Most (if not all) independent practitioners wonder about the potential for cash based business. At first, it seems like a giant shift, but actually, if you have patient traffic of any sort, your already “setup” to participate in this growing market segment. Here’s the simplest way to get started with a plan everyone can execute for less than $100:

Step 1 costs $0: Dump the “patient” perspective and shift to a customer-driven philosophy: 
First you must adopt the right philosophy and expand your thinking beyond the limits imposed by your health care “system” business habits. For example, the word “patient” is terribly limiting for both you and your customer; that’s a marketing double-whammy. It sets you up to view a customer as someone who disappears after completing a “plan of care,” and sets your customer up to look forward to the day when they no longer call themselves your “patient.”

Thinking about your patients as customers allows you to continue providing the best “care” possible, but also opens new room for you to think about what else they would want to consume from you. Many health care professionals squirm when they hear patients referred to as “customers,” but remember, this is a business philosophy, a mindset. Just to give you an idea, almost 67% of “patients” we survey say they would like their physical therapist to provide other programs and services for them after finishing their therapy. If you think of them as patients, that’s hard to act on, but when you think of them also as customers, you naturally want to fill the need

Step 2 costs $0: Outline basic cash pay services (and products) you can offer customers. 
Think about your typical patient, and the many things they need and want related to what you do. I know this may seem obvious, but for some reason many physical therapists struggle with this. Some of the most common programs include things like a supervised program for transitioning from rehab to regular exercise, weight loss, gym memberships, specialized training like Pilates for Golf, or whatever. Write down all the possibilities, and REMEMBER, it doesn’t matter if you think it will work or not for YOU. What matters is what the CUSTOMER wants. The bigger the variety and selection, the better, but it’s best to start with one new thing at a time. Keep your list handy, and write down new ideas as they come from customers or staff. If you find yourself saying, “that won’t work” to most ideas so they don’t even get on a simple list of possibilities, you might want to download our Innovation Checklist or sign up for a 60 minute strategy session (still $0 cost). Give it a try or let us know if we can help facilitate the process.

Step 3 costs $75-$100: Design and print a cash pay program/services flyer. 
If you’ve gotten this far, guess what? You are now in the cash pay business. But that doesn’t mean the cash will just start rolling in. Like any new program, you will need to offer and adjust. A basic flyer to hand out to your customers is a great way to start. Make sure the flyer does more than list services and prices; it must educate them on the potential health benefits of the service. Initially, don’t measure the success of your new program by the sales alone. Instead, measure your success by what you learn about the customer appeal of the program. You will most definitely need to make adjustments that will increase the appeal.  Be careful here, as negative input and resistance from staff will abound, and this is where your entrepreneurial instincts will need to kick in. This is also where we can help.  (If you have a concept, we would be glad to review it and give you some feedback. Simply upload it here.) With the right support, many of the most common reasons for failure are reduced or eliminated. Request your complimentary customized marketing plan now.

4 Steps to Keep Your Staff from Fighting | Webinar

Physical therapy workflow bestPT webinar

Your practice success depends on your staff teamwork. Learn how to to automate staff teamwork problem identification and solve policy/procedure problems.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define effective staff teamwork
  • How to measure staff productivity
  • How to promote staff autonomy and foster teamwork

watch the workflow webinar recodring now

This Live Webinar meets the criteria of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and is approved for 0.5 CEU(s).