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A Missing Piece

A Missing Piece Fortis is integrated into bestPTbilling software.

by Erez Lirov

In the budget of a busy practice, credit card fees can add up.

Could Shannon handle credit cards better in her physical therapy practice?

Getting the family out the door in the morning was always a challenge for Mike and Shannon, but they felt like they had a great system. Each child had a hook for a jacket and a cubby for shoes at the door. Homework went in the cubby, too, and lunches were packed and lined up on the counter. The kids knew they had to stand touching the car door till Mom or Dad arrived to unlock it, and then they scrambled into their seats and waited patiently to be strapped in with seat belts before taking off. It was noisy and it sometimes felt chaotic, but things always went pretty smoothly and everybody got where they were supposed to go.

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Once Shannon dropped off their youngest at daycare, she headed on into the office, thinking about that system. She knew that Mike would get the older kids to school on time before he went to the restaurant. Sometimes his schedule was different so they divided things up differently, but it always felt like good teamwork, and she loved that feeling.

Things had been going more smoothly at work, too. Shannon thought back to her conversation with Mike that morning as they both got ready for work. “It seems like you’ve got your team back together,” he had said, and that was just how it felt.

With that issue off her plate, Shannon could think about some of the other matters that had been on the back burner for a while. She knew the facility needed updating, for example, but that was going to need funds, so Shannon was looking at her expenses closely to see where she could cut costs and free up some cash.

It wouldn’t take much, she thought as she parked and walked into the building. There were bound to be areas where she could streamline things a little bit and achieve some savings.

She asked Theresa’s opinion as soon as she got inside, and Theresa immediately had an answer. “Credit cards.”

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Shannon was surprised. She had been thinking the free coffee in the staff room might be an avoidable expense, or that marketing costs could be cut. “What do you mean?”

“I think the fees are higher than they should they be,” Theresa said. “I know it’s a basic cost of doing business, but maybe we could shop around and see if there’s a cheaper alternative.”

Shannon nodded. They really hadn’t compared prices; when she first set up the practice, she had basically just asked the guy who installed their telephones for a recommendation, and they hadn’t revisited the question since.

“Plus, since we post all the payments manually, there’s a possibility for error. We’re all careful, of course, but I can’t swear that we catch every time when a card is declined, for example. Sometimes the person who takes the information is not the same person who posts the payment, and some are sort of automatic.”

“Sort of automatic?” Shannon hadn’t realized things were so shaky in this area.

“Well, we have clients who have set up an automatic bank draft or we have all their information in the system already, and some who are new…” Theresa’s voice trailed off. “I guess there are a lot of variables in the way we take payments.”

It was a lot like the way they got their family out the door in the morning, Shannon thought, but in this case every little extra bit of chaos could mean extra costs, not just extra noise.

“This might be the last piece of the puzzle,” Shannon said. “Or at least the next one. It sounds like a real opportunity for improvement.”

“And we could finally get some new paint in here?” Theresa joked.

Shannon smiled. “The first few hundred we save goes straight into the redecorating fund,” she promised.

Could Shannon handle credit cards better in her physical therapy practice?

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Stop Your Staff From Fighting | bestPT Webinar | Q&A

PQRS Q&A

Does your office staff argue about who is responsible for completing tasks generated by your patient visits?

How do you assign those tasks to your staff?

How can you see if the tasks have been completed?

Can you track those tasks automatically?

Do you micro-manage your staff?

How can you foster staff teamwork, promote staff autonomy and reduce the time you spend on staff management?

These are questions that each physical therapy practice owner has to answer. Each patient visit generates a list of tasks that need to be completed. Each patient needs an account set-up with their complete demographic information, their insurance information and other details you need to file insurance claims and to collect cash or co-payments.

If you break those tasks into a step-by-step list, then how do you assign those tasks to a member of your staff? How do you determine if every task has been completed for every patient? What happens if steps are forgotten? How will your patients judge your mental health practice if your staff forgets something? Would your patients think your office is unorganized?

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Q: What’s the problem?

A: Office staff including the front desk, the office manager and any employee physical therapists are supposed to make life easier for the practice owner. However they often inadvertently create additional challenges regarding patient retention, revenue and compliance. Many of these challenges are related to issues that the practice owner simply doesn’t have time for. If your staff goes on vacation or calls in sick then a backlog of tasks is created, resulting in tasks being forgotten about and mistakes being made. Every member of your staff needs to be managed and be held accountable to ensure that each task is completed correctly.

Q: Why is this problem important:

A: The short answer is Cost, Compliance and Patient Attrition.

  • Cost – Front office tasks prevent the practice owner from seeing patients, which is the only billable time for your practice. Mishandling of billing and collections results in lost revenue with denied claims and delayed payments. Ineffective patient relationship management leads to attrition.
  • Compliance – Includes incomplete/incorrect documentation, interrupted care plans, incorrect CPT/Diagnosis codes, staff unfamiliarity with procedures and staff failure to collect copays leads to overpayment by the Payers.
  • Patient Attrition – Failure by staff to follow-up on no shows, incomplete care plans and patients with no future appointments.

Q: Why is this problem difficult to solve?

A: There’s high front office staff turnover which could be due to poor training, lack of knowledge and unorganized micro-management. Some staff have a poor attitude towards training on new procedures and systems and they’re more comfortable with the old way of doing things. There’s also a lack of redundancy leaving tasks undone when somebody is absent and the ultimate responsibility falls to the practice owner.

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Q: What’s bestPT’s approach or solution?

A: A complete practice management solution for your office.

  • Improve staff teamwork with effective training to ensure optimal practice performance.
  • Improve teamwork and staff autonomy with automatic checklists of tasks that need to be completed when patients are checked-in.
  • Track practice goals to more easily improve the number of patient visits, increase revenue, submit every insurance claim, follow-up with every no show and schedule patients with no future appointments.
  • Manage staff remotely on your laptop or your smart phone by tracking task completion.
  • bestPT is a complete practice management solution that includes:
    • office workflow
    • patient relationship management
    • staff management
    • while also incorporating everything else you need like:
      • scheduling
      • billing
      • EHR
      • claim scrubbing
      • claim submission
      • claim follow-up
      • staff task checklists
      • training, etc.
    • bestPT also includes a Coach to ensure your practice uses everything in the most efficient way possible.

    Enjoy this office workflow webinar?

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Physical Therapy Software | New Network Members in August 2013

physcial therapy software_ new network membersThirteen new members joined bestPT in August. Each member benefits from the size of  bestPT’s network as we use the shared knowledge in the battle against the payers. This proverbial strength in numbers helps you build your dream practice with our physical therapy documentation software and coaching services.

Let’s welcome bestPT’s newest members:

  1. Abigail Licona of Active Performance Physical Therapy, West Carroll, Iowa:  http://activeperformancept.com/
  2. Lauren Reineke and Lauren Lax of Big Sky Pediatric Therapy, Austin, Texas:  https://www.bigskyfriends.com/
  3. Melissa Schmidt, Megan Danley, and Heather Milligan of Elite Orthosport Physical Therapy, Los Angeles, California:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elite-Orthosport-Physical-Therapy/624536457586852
  4. Tina Simpson and Anna of Melwood Rehabilitation Center, Upper Marlboro, Maryland: http://www.melwoodrehab.com/
  5. Jennifer Berg of Midlothian Village Physical Therapy, Midlothian, Virginia: http://www.mvp-therapy.com
  6. Leslee Carroll of Mike Walsh Physical Therapy, Dover, Delaware: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Walsh-Physical-Therapy/121200377936032
  7. Fran Hill of Pearson Physiotherapy Specialists, Craig, Colorado: http://www.pearsonphysiotherapy.com/
  8. Stephen Edwards of Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Clinic, Terre Haute, Indiana: http://www.indstate.edu/rehabclinic/
  9. Erica Newman of Summit Physical Therapy, Hixson, Tennessee: http://summit-therapy.com

PHYSICAL THERAPY SOFTWARE | NEW NETWORK MEMBERS IN JULY 2013

physcial therapy software_ new network membersIn July ten new members joined bestPT. Each member strengthens bestPT’s network in the battle against the payers, so the more we grow the more we know and succeed in helping you build your dream practice with our physical therapy software and coaching services.

Let’s welcome bestPT’s newest members:

 

 

Physical Therapy Billing | Easily locate patient medical records

Physical Therapy Billing | Getting_Your_Medical_RecordsYour bestPT physical therapy billing software gives you complete access to and control of your xDocs from virtually anywhere within our platform so that you can easily update and all of your patients’ medical records. Each note is given a unique identification number upon creation. Its name depends on the record creation method, and there are two different ways you can find them in the system:

XMR Medical Records

Tracking: If you create a physical therapy note using XMR, this number is called the Medical Record Number (MR#). To see the Medical Record Numbers, go to the MR2 tab of the patient account.
Searching: You can also search by this number in the XMR Medical Records Report (Reports > Medical Records > XMR Medical Records).

Physical Therapy Billing | xmr

 

XDoc Medical Records

  1. Tracking: If you create a physical therapy note using XDocs, this number is called the Digest number. The Digest number will be included in all XDoc tabs.
  2. Searching: You can also search by this number in the XDoc Medical Records Report (Reports > Medical Records > XDoc Medical Records).

Physical Therapy Billing | updated xdoc

Physical Therapy Software | Documentation System

physical therapy documentation

How to Measure the Impact of Your Physical Therapy  Documentation System on Your Bottom Line

By Amy Griffin, PT, Yuval Lirov, PhD, and Dave Macolino

Peter felt great this morning. He was happy to jump on his exercise bike, stretch his lower back and hamstrings, get a quick shower, and head straight to his physical therapy office. He knew his patient care schedule was full with at least fifteen or sixteen patients. Treating patients was the kind of work he loved so much.

His physical therapy practice was steadily gaining traction since opening one year ago. He was making a name for himself with several referring doctors as well as a solid community service reputation. Peter began thinking . . . . since he was seeing two patients per hour, charging an average $78 for a one hour visit, and working the standard 2,000 hours a year, that he was going to make about $312,000 a year.

Smiling to himself, Peter thought that perhaps in a year or two, he could hire a couple of assistants, increase the throughput to maybe 4 per hour and double his revenues to $624,000 a year. Peter envisioned a solid $6 million over the next decade. He could not wait to share his calculations with his young wife. They had been dreaming of building a house in a nice new development and a new SUV for her to bus their 7-year old and her friends to their daily soccer training sessions.

“Peter, will you skip dinner tonight again?” asked his wife Alicia. Peter had worked every evening in the past 2 months as well as all of the weekends. He had also missed all of their daughter’s soccer matches and he even forgot their wedding anniversary. Alicia was now wondering if the idea of Peter opening his own physical therapy practice was a good one. Was working for somebody else making $65,000 a year so bad? At least life was normal then.

“Maybe we should sit down tonight and talk.” Alicia said to Peter. “I really need to understand why you spend every evening and every weekend in the office.”

Peter started to feel a light headache and stressed with pressure from his wife. “You know honey, patient visit documentation is a compliance requirement. Both malpractice insurance and payers require it. Without visit documentation, we risk failing post-payment audits and incurring severe penalties including license suspension, fines and imprisonment. Is that the kind of risk you want me to take for us to have dinner together each night?”

“Peter, what about computerized documentation? What do you think about purchasing a physical therapy practice management software system that generates SOAP notes for you? I actually called around and discovered several physical therapy documentation systems that allow you to complete a note within 20 minutes.”

“All you have to do,” continued Alicia, “is to document patient complaints and comments in the Subjective section, document your findings in the Objective section, type your Assessment, and prepare your recommended treatment in the Plan section.”

“Alicia . . . ” Peter was getting tired of explaining the same thing again and again, “I know all there is to know about SOAP notes. My problem is that I need to type each and every note. How can I type an entire note in 20 minutes?”