"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Own Your Own PT Clinic

Own your own PT clinic.

Owning your clinic is the dream of many smart, young physical therapists.

Treat how you feel your patients should be treated.

Do good work.

Get paid.

That's how I got started.

But I started with partners and I bought them out.

Out with the old and in with the new.

That's what I thought, at the time.

It was all mine.


Then I looked around.

And there it was...

Something old, still there.

Sitting on the shelf, dusty.

An old three-ring binder.

Pages yellow with age.

When I opened it, I sneezed.

Dust flew off of the page, around my eyes.

It was the old clinic Medicare compliance manual.

Never opened.

Never updated.

Inside were ten, yellow typewritten pages.

Typewritten... On a typewriter.

The Manual

The pages contained, believe it or not, instructions on how to assemble hot packs and instructions to aides on how to treat patients.

There was actually a copy of a referral pad with a physicians' signature line that stated the following:
"These treatments are Medically Necessary for the patient to receive physical therapy services."
There was a diagram of the floor plan with the fire escapes marked in faded red marker.

The manual had one page that told what to do in the event of a hurricane.

It had another page that listed vacation days.


The Date

I found a date.


That's when I started to panic, a little.

My Action Plan

I decided to get busy building a plan.

I took a seminar by an expert Medicare consultant.

According to the expert, my notes were so far out of compliance there should have been a red, neon label that said "Audit Me!" attached to every charge I sent to Medicare.

That's when I started to panic, a lot.

I decided to learn everything I could about outpatient physical therapy Medicare compliance.

I took more seminars, bought books, read newsletters, called my practice association and, in general, specialized in outpatient physical therapy Medicare compliance.

I excitedly went to my staff, 7 PTs and PTAs.

I told them everything I had learned.

You know what happened?

Big yawn.

Some PTs and PTAs fell asleep during my presentation.

Some were more polite about their disinterest.

Bottom line, the notes and charts didn't get much better.


It didn't matter.

I hadn't shown my staff why and how Medicare compliance made better physical therapy.

I hadn't shown my staff how they could help their patients more with better notes.

My PTs and PTAs just wanted to treat patients.

They couldn't see why and how notes could help them do that.

I had to do better.

I went back to the drawing board - I made Bulletproof Physical Therapy Notes and Charts.

Bulletproof is uses three, public-domain tools to show physical therapists' decisions - the core of your skill set.

Bulletproof uses templates to show progress and need for PT.

Bulletproof also describes dozens more tips, techniques and strategies for physical therapist mangers and educators to train PTs and PTAs to get Bulletproof Notes and Charts.

There is no three-ring binder to keep from getting dusty.

So far, the results are very encouraging.

My staff and my patients are happier than ever.

We are confident now when we append the -kx modifier, start a second month of therapy or just write a daily note.

Now, I'm not scared anymore.

Finally, I'm living the dream.

Free Tutorial

Get free stuff at BulletproofPT.com

Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

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American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.