Tracking the Variables | Where is My Money II

physical therapy billing_cash flowTracking the Variables | Where is My Money II

Physical Therapy Practice Owner Must Address Billing and Payment Delays

What variables affect how quickly Shannon gets paid?

Shannon was nervous. At her husband’s suggestion, she was meeting with Steve, a profitability coach, in an effort to find and address the cash flow problems she was experiencing in her physical therapy business. Although Steve came highly recommended by her friend Ariana, Shannon wasn’t sure just what he could do for her.

 Steve came by after hours, and they sat in the waiting room of Shannon’s practice.

 “Give it to me straight,” Shannon said after a brief bit of small talk. “What am I doing wrong?”

 “It’s not quite that simple,” Steve replied. “But it starts with the fact that you trained to be a physical therapist, not a business owner. Not only that, but unlike other business owners, you have to rely on insurance companies for most of your income.”

 “So it’s not just me?”

 “Of course not,” Steve said with a laugh. “You’re hardly the only practice owner in this kind of situation. Ultimately, there are a number of variables that affect your billing performance and cash flow.”

“So what can I do? Even when I’m crazy busy, it still feels like the money isn’t coming in like it should.”

 “You can’t be expected to keep track of it all and still focus on your patients,” Steve said. “Think of it this way: Imagine a man who hurts his back, but he doesn’t seek treatment right away. What can happen?”

 Shannon thought for a moment. “Well, depending on the nature of the injury, it can affect his gait. He may start overcompensating, which can cause other problems, in his hips, in his neck…”

 “Now you’ve got the idea,” Steve said. It’s a domino effect. All of your billing issues stem from one basic problem – an inability to track and analyze all the variables that affect your collections. You need a powerful tool – personally, I recommend an advanced billing software package, one that’s customized for physical therapy practices – to do the work for you. After all, with each passing day, your chances of getting paid for an outstanding claim decreases by one percent. Software helps determine how each variable affects the timetable of your claims payments.”

 “And once we know what causes the delays or denials,” said Shannon, catching on, “we can make the necessary changes to improve billing performance.”

 “And then you’re on your way to building your dream practice,” Steve said.

What variables can affect how quickly and efficiently Shannon gets paid?

Ready to tackle your own cash flow problems? Attend our free Live Training Session Seal Your Revenue Leaks and earn your PAHCOM CEU. Register now!

Where's My Money?

physical therapy billing_inconsistent cash flowWhere’s my money?

Physical Therapy Practice Owner Struggles with Cash flow

What should Shannon do to correct her cash flow problems?

“You ready for lunch?”

Shannon looked up from the pile of bills on her office desk to see her husband, Mike, standing in the doorway. “Only if you’re buying,” she said.

“That bad, huh?” Mike replied, closing the door behind him. “I’m a little surprised. On my way in, Theresa told me that you’re booked solid.”

“Patients aren’t the problem,” Shannon said. “Revenue is. Seems like no matter how many patient visits I schedule, I’m never sure if I’m going to meet expenses that month.”

“I thought you had someone who took care of billing,” Mike said, perching on the edge of the desk. “Isn’t that their job?”

Shannon laughed, weakly. “That’s how I looked at it. And if it were just a matter of a few patients with payment issues, I’m sure my staff could handle it.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“It’s a combination of collecting from insurance companies and then figuring out what the patient owes. Seems like we have to chase after the insurance companies for every dollar we’re due.”

“I don’t get it,” Mike said. “Your staff files the claims. Doesn’t that mean you automatically get paid?”

“I thought so,” Shannon said. “But I guess that’s why I’m a physical therapist and not an accountant. Come on, I need to get out of here.”

Shannon wasn’t really in the mood for lunch, but she needed to clear her head. She and Mike walked to their usual lunch spot and found themselves a booth. As they slid in, Shannon’s phone chimed.

“What is it?” Mike asked.

“It’s a tweet from Ariana,” Shannon said, reading the display. “She says, ‘Pain is part of the healing process.’ Hashtag ‘physical therapy.’”

“You spoken to her recently? Her practice seems to be pretty successful. Maybe she can give you some advice.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Shannon said, sliding back out of the booth. “I’m going to give her a call. If the waitress comes, order me the soup and salad.”

It took a couple of days before Shannon and Ariana could carve out some time. Finally, they got together at Ariana’s; they talked while putting together “goody bags” for her daughter’s birthday party.

“It drives me crazy,” Shannon said. “Cash flow is so inconsistent. Feast or famine, and I never know which. Sometimes the drought lasts for weeks, no matter how many patients I see.”

“You’ve got to get down to brass tacks,” Ariana said, using a scissor blade to curl the ribbons that Shannon had tied. “Figure out what your best sellers are.”

“My what?”

“Your moneymakers. Start by checking which CPT codes, POS items sold, referring physicians and employee productivity generates the highest revenue in the shortest time possible.”

“I’m guessing my billing department could help me with that,” Shannon said as she filched a gumdrop from the pile on the table.

“There are no guarantees,” Ariana said, “but that’s what works for me. For instance, you want to avoid using the worst CPT code for the best payer. And trust me; once you’ve gotten your system straightened out, you’ll be better equipped to make vital practice decisions.”

Should Shannon follow Ariana’s advice?
What should Shannon do to correct her cash flow problems?

Ready to tackle your own cash flow problems? Attend our free Live Training Session Seal Your Revenue Leaks and earn your PAHCOM CEU. Register now!