We’re slashing prices!
Just announced, another 3% reduction!
This may be what you want to hear when you’re buying a mattress, but not when it comes to physical therapy reimbursement rates. However, this is exactly what you’ve heard from CMS in 2022.
In January, a painful 15% cut on services provided by PTAs. Another 3% cut across the board in April. And October is looking ominous for more cuts. But with rising inflation, PTAs and other employees are asking for a higher salary.
Shrinking reimbursement and wage increases; what is a physical therapy clinic to do? If you let go of your PTAs, a greater burden falls on your PTs. Can they handle the load? The work increases while the reimbursement decreases; what will happen to clinic profits?
Maybe it is time to shift your focus. In some states, workers’ compensation insurance is one of the best payors for physical therapy services. In this case, it might make great financial sense to increase referrals for patients with work-related injuries. What about occupational health prevention services? More and more clinics are looking at recurring cash-based revenue.
In addition to the financial benefits of offering services specifically for patients with work-related injuries, this patient population is typically underserved. Finding a clinic with a true specialization in treating industrial athletes is often a challenge for case managers and insurance adjusters.
What types of industrial services will you offer?
The obvious opportunity includes providing outpatient physical therapy treatment for patients with work-related injuries. Most of the injuries in this patient population will be orthopedic in nature. Therefore, strong manual therapy skills and expertise in developing work-specific functional exercises are essential for success.
Other service offerings for patients with work-related injuries include:
- performing return-to-work screens,
- developing temporary light duty programs,
- performing clinic or employer-based work conditioning and work task simulation,
- offering full Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs),
- conducting disability/impairment ratings.
These unique service offerings require additional training and skills. Functional testing and job analysis, ergonomic assessment, and impairment ratings are skills that are seldom, if ever, taught in physical therapy curricula.
Therefore, seeking out continuing education in these areas will be essential in providing quality services. Offering these services in addition to outpatient therapy makes your clinic a “one-stop shop” for all things industrial. This can be a strategic advantage for you in a market where competing clinics may not offer all these services.
In addition to the financial advantages for your clinic, the patient with a work-related injury experiences continuity of care, as they transition from outpatient treatment to return-to-work, that can be beneficial for their recovery.
What about injury prevention services?
The total cost of work comp injuries in the US is nearly $200 billion dollars per year. Pre-hire Physical Ability Tests (PAT), using the ErgoScience testing system, saves employers an average of 70% in work comp expenses, thereby increasing productivity and profit for the company.
And PAT doesn’t just help the employer. Even when an employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance, they end up shouldering a significant portion of the total expense of a work-related injury. Nobody wins if there’s a work-related injury. By providing injury prevention services, you help both employees and employers.
Implementing pre-hire PATs is a logical and easy first step in moving into the realm of work-related injury prevention. And since the pre-employment PAT is a shorter version of the full FCE, if you’re trained in the ErgoScience FCE system, you’ll be able to implement pre-hire testing as well. You get a lot of mileage out of a single test.
AND prevention services are cash based. The employer pays your clinic directly for performing pre-hire testing. No submitting charges and hoping you’ll get paid for a percentage.
Pre-hire PAT works and in hand with your work comp services. You can also use the pre-hire PAT to do return-to-work and fitness for duty screens that can become an integral part of your outpatient treatment for workers comp patients.
If the employee fails either the return-to-work or the fitness for duty test, you can help them get fit for their job through work conditioning. Employers are more likely to send their injured workers to a clinic they know and trust – a clinic that has a strong return to work focus and emphasizes objective and efficient testing.
When you work directly with employers doing pre-hire and return-to-work testing, you build a relationship with them, one that opens lots of doors, including an increase in workers’ compensation referrals. Yes, you are there to help employers prevent injuries, but when one occurs, they will be confident that you’ll do a great job rehabilitating their employees and getting them back to work.
How will you judge success?
If you offer new services, you want to be sure they are successful. All of us have precious little time to spend marketing and selling. Our primary business is that of providing services. So how do we assess whether our services are yielding results?
Tracking. We achieve what we track. Set realistic goals for marketing and sales in light of your patient load. Document the number of new patients and the number of new referrals sources each month. Regularly reviewing these numbers will allow you to see if you are realizing the fruits of your labor and which activities seem to have the greatest yield.
If you devote some time to marketing, your patient and referral source numbers should increase over time as an indication of your success. If you listen carefully, you will learn how to better serve the case managers, physicians and adjustors who will ultimately influence the growth of your industrial service lines.
ErgoScience testing protocols and training.
ErgoScience testing protocols help you to provide objective and evidence-based testing for patients with work-related injuries. The skills you learn through ErgoScience training provide you with a solid foundation for successfully treating and evaluating patients with work-related injuries.
ErgoScience software makes it efficient and easy. Take the next step, grow the work comp and injury prevention components of your practice – with ErgoScience Industrial Athlete Mastery courses and ErgoScience FCE training.
Contact us to learn how you can take the next step.