How to Get Your Therapy Clinic Ready for 2021

We’ve told you before that we believe January is the most critical month for your therapy business. As we round out the most complicated year the industry has seen in awhile and get ready to welcome 2021, we cannot stress this enough.

At the start of the year, there is a chance to refresh the way your clinic operates. This January, here’s how to make sure your therapy practice not only recovers from a tough 2020, but thrives in 2021.

Types of Goals to Set for Your Therapy Clinic in 2021 

It’s important to think about all the factors involved in clinic ownership prior to setting goals. All the behind-the-scenes nitty gritty of the therapy business affects your bottom line. Following are just a few of the things you may not remember to consider before 2021 gets rolling: 

  • How many patients would you like to see this year? Per week, per month, and per provider?  
  • Are there any ways you could avoid lost revenue resulting from cancellations this year? 
  • How is your clinic administration working now that many appointments have transitioned to telehealth? Is it time for a new EMR
  • What do your therapists and other staff members need in order to feel more secure in their jobs, given the current state of the economy?
  • Have there been any credentialing delays due to the pandemic? Do you need to make any adjustments in assigning patients as a result, or use the holiday downtime to collect documentation from your providers?
  • Regarding business licensing and taxes, do you know who will take care of keeping these updated?
  • Have there been any procedural changes due to office closures, etc.? Do your staff training manuals need to be updated?
  • Is HIPAA compliance a priority and have you adjusted HIPAA training protocols for telehealth, if applicable?

Having specific and attainable goals in each of the above areas will help you assess what your therapy business achieves throughout the year.

Adjust to Patients’ Insurance Changes in January  

At the start of the year, it’s also crucial to review renewal of deductibles for those of your patients who have commercial insurance. Have you planned how this process will look for your clinic?

Furthermore, due to insurance changes, last year’s delays in processing claims, and patients’ financial hardship, cash flow may be tough in early 2021. Sometimes, patients are unaware of how their insurance contracts and fee schedules work. Insulate your practice from the negative effects of these circumstances by training your admin team and providers to remind patients to check on their policy’s details, such as authorizations remaining, their benefits etc. This way, everyone can avoid confusion, hours spent on the phone, and any balance disputes. 

Update Clinic Forms and New Safety Policies 

It’s important to begin 2021 with a review of clinic policies and required patient forms. If you’ve had to create new office policies due to the threat of Covid, it’s wise to have patients sign off on any updates to avoid conflict and excess liability. Make sure your Notice of Privacy Policy (NPP) is updated in your office and on your website.

Decide how new forms will be distributed and collected and how ongoing policies will be communicated to patients. Ensure that you are especially direct and consistent about delivering news to remote patients. They may not have the benefit of regular reminders in the form of reading signs in your office, etc. Will you start a regular email newsletter? Share updates on a social media account? Let your patients know the best way to keep in touch!

Review Internal Business Processes for Your Therapy Practice

Sometimes, we can get so focused on the patient-facing parts of the business that we forget to monitor the back end. The processes that aren’t so obvious to anyone who’s not a clinic owner are often the most essential, though. They include things like:

  • Authorization requests and filing 
  • Eligibility checks 
  • Collections 
  • Ongoing credentialing verification
  • Marketing and social media management

If you’ve had to cut back on full-time staff due to the current climate, how can you stay on top of the most important processes without sacrificing efficiency? Perhaps this year is the perfect time to enlist outside help from an experienced billing agency to take some of this off your plate.

Audit Your Practice’s Information Security Status 

We recommend using the beginning of the year to do a full technology audit: “Who has access to what?” is the most critical question to answer. If you’ve had any employees leave your practice in 2020, take time in this first month to ensure that they do not still have access to any residual systems or interfaces. These include hardware in your clinic and any web-based software that your therapists access from home. 

The first of the year is a good time to tick off the following tasks:

  • Complete your required Security Risk Analysis, which will identify all areas that may have potential areas of a breach.
  • Follow that up with your required Risk Mitigation Plan. 
  • Verify that any vendor you work with who may have access to any of your Protected Health Information (PHI) has a signed Business Associate Agreement. This agreement must contain the required HIPAA content regarding their liability. It must also attest they are and will continue to be HIPAA-compliant.

Review all technology solutions you’ve chosen for safety and data security as well. For example, check that your EMR and telehealth platform of choice is HIPAA-compliant and ensure that all devices on your office network are password-protected. 

Make January Your Therapy Clinic’s Most Organized Month 

In addition to reviewing the specific facets of business outlined above, we suggest conducting a general inventory of how you run your clinic. The particular pieces that are relevant to you will vary, depending upon your specialty, market, and business stage. There will be lots of external forces affecting your therapy business as the year gets rolling, so having a customized plan is a must in order to remain in control of your clinic’s direction.
For more advice on how to set and meet your therapy clinic’s 2021 resolutions with the use of an EMR with built-in telehealth, schedule a demo. We’ll show you how TheraPlan can make this year a true fresh start, despite all that’s going on around us.

TheraPlan Telehealth for Therapists

Telehealth for Therapy Clinics Now Integrated with TheraPlan’s Web-Based EMR

Throughout 2020, we’ve been watching massive changes take place across the therapy industry, both positive and negative. Daily personal interactions with our users, who are therapists, admins, and clinic owners, have enlightened us about the good and the bad of having to provide services remotely.

In the beginning of the pandemic, we watched clinic owners scramble to find quick and effective virtual solutions, only to come up against challenges such as questionable HIPAA compliance and required contracts. We’ve heard countless stories of our clients having to download software that may not be compatible with various devices, spending precious moments walking patients through technical difficulties, forgetting about appointments, and more.

All of these challenges result in unnecessary frustration for providers, inconvenience for patients, and, worst of all, lost revenue for you. 

TheraPlan’s new telehealth solution is a comprehensive answer to many of these frustrations. Our application was developed with firsthand input from therapists and clinic owners, and this new addition to our EMR is no exception.

Take a look at some of the features you can expect to see for both you and your therapists.

What TheraPlan’s Telehealth Platform Offers to Clinic Owners and Administrative Staff

As a clinic owner, you’re looking for a reliable, affordable, and compliant solution to your providers’ digital needs. We have built a platform that offers you:

  • An Integrated Telehealth + EMR Solution – There’s no need for your therapists to download third-party software. They’ll simply log into TheraPlan to access virtual appointments.
  • HIPAA Compliance – Our focus has always been on making this part of clinic ownership easier, so our new telehealth feature gives you the same security you get throughout our web-based EMR.
  • Built-In Scheduling for All Appointments with Automatic Reminders – Reduce your percentage of no-shows and cut the resulting revenue losses with the help of our scheduler, which now displays both in-person and virtual appointments. There’s even an easy-to-read icon representing each appointment type, so your therapists can clearly see which appointments are remote at a glance.
  • No Annual Commitment – Unlike some virtual meeting solutions, ours requires no annual contract. Instead, add telehealth to your per-user EMR fee and enjoy the convenience of one monthly bill.

What Patients Can Expect from the Telehealth Experience Inside TheraPlan

So what can your patients expect to see inside TheraPlan’s telehealth platform? Here are some of the highlights: 

  • Email & Text RemindersPatients who receive digital reminders are more likely to show up! TheraPlan makes it easy to ensure that your patients never forget an appointment.
  • Waiting Room – Your patients won’t be left thinking their link isn’t working if the provider has not yet arrived to the session. Instead, they’ll be directed to our waiting room and admitted once the provider shows up.
  • Whiteboard – Therapists can conveniently write, draw, or type on the whiteboard feature right inside their virtual room, instead of having to leave the app or have physical supplies available.
  • Interactive Games – Engaging patients in a virtual setting is easy with our built-in educational and entertaining games.

Whether you’re already a TheraPlan user or are considering switching to an EMR, you won’t want to miss out on our introductory offer of this convenient and compliant new therapy clinic solution! Read more details here

Want to know how this new feature could save your clinic time and money? Click here to schedule a demo.

therapy for children

Why Schooling Options in 2020 are Particularly Challenging for Children with Disabilities

This time of year, parents are generally buying up school supplies, meeting teachers, and getting kids ready for another year of school. Things are different this time around, to say the least. Parents are currently facing the tough choice of whether to send their kids back for face-to-face learning or to continue with some version of virtual learning or homeschooling.

As hard as this may be for the average parent, this range of choices could actually be considered a luxury when you talk to a parent of a child with special needs. It may not be possible for them to provide at home the opportunities and supplemental services their kids get from attending school. These children often get to work with teachers trained in special education and have access to various types of therapy.

While schools can provide critical services for children with disabilities, the difficulties of going back to school during this pandemic could unfortunately negate some of the benefits.

Why do we care so deeply about this specific struggle facing the greater community? 

We’ve worked with many pediatric therapy clinics at TheraPlan and EEP over the years, so we’ve had lots of firsthand experience talking to parents of children in need of therapy.

Furthermore, one impetus for starting our joint businesses was our founder’s personal experience parenting a disabled child. We may provide services to therapy clinics, but we also have a personal understanding of what it’s like to visit them as the parent of a young patient on a regular basis.

Lastly, we know that many of you are therapists and clinic owners serving this very population. We feel it’s critical to highlight the importance of being sensitive to the huge life changes that therapy patients and their families are experiencing. It’s easy to get frustrated with all the shifts that may be affecting your business and revenue right now, but the ultimate goal of therapy services has not changed. Presumably, you aim to make the joys and milestones of everyday life more accessible to those who cannot reach them alone.

You likely know the facts about why this is hard for your patients. Yet, tough things can come up when you’re speaking with parents who are in the midst of making hard, emotional decisions about education. A deep understanding of what they’re worried about could help you connect more deeply to your patients and make your sessions a source of even greater comfort for them.

  • Sensory issues could make wearing masks nearly impossible. As you are no doubt aware, children who are differently abled can have difficulty with texture and touch, for example. The feeling of having a mask on for even a short period of time could be simply unbearable for many. This is particularly so for those on the autism spectrum. If you aren’t already, suggesting solutions that other parents have used could help both the patient and parent feel less frustrated.
  • These same children who feel the most uncomfortable wearing masks need the most protection. Existing physical conditions often coincide with immunosuppression. The cost of teachers and school support staff not taking precautionary measures could be much higher for disabled children. Taking a few minutes to discuss the schooling options and what they’re most concerned about can help parents feel reassured.
  • Parents may want to abide by the mandates that are intended to keep us all safe, but feel they simply can’t force their child to do so. This can bring up guilt, fear of judgment, and more tough emotions. Giving parents your professional support in processing the real risks, as appropriate, could be more helpful than you know.
  • Families of immunocompromised children may feel even more isolated than the rest of the world does. The huge toll that isolation and exacerbated worry takes on parents is no small thing. Just saying “I see you and I know how hard this is for you,” can go a long way in offering them comfort and further establishing your safe relationship.

If it feels difficult to fit these additional concerns into your therapy sessions, remember that sometimes all it takes is a few kind words to make a parent feel acknowledged.

In the same way that our software application is focused on making your work life easier, our greater mission is focused on the same care you have for making patients’ lives easier.

Despite the distance we must literally maintain between one another, we now have a unique opportunity to grow closer with those who need us most.

TeleHealth Remote Therapy EMR

Post-Pandemic Advice for Therapy Clinics: Is TeleHealth Here to Stay?

Since March 2020, the world of therapy has looked quite different than normal out of pure necessity. Many providers began offering TeleHealth sessions as an option, and you may have been one of them.

While it may have seemed like the swift move to offering therapy remotely was a short-term reaction to the Covid pandemic, we are seeing some indications that this may foreshadow TeleHealth as an enduring modality. Our business interactions with speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapists over the past few months support the idea that this transition to TeleHealth could be here to stay.

There are several emerging trends that may make remote delivery of treatments the new normal in the therapy industry:

  • The strain on the economy overall means that for those patients whose therapy is supplemental, changes in financial resources or job schedules could limit their ability to show up regularly to in-person appointments.
  • For pediatric patients, parents are finding out just how convenient it is to have their children treated at home. It cuts down on time, driving costs, and overall hassle. If it is the same cost as an office visit, there is a good chance many parents will choose the remote option.
  • This transition makes more sense for some providers, depending on the size and setup of each clinic. It may reduce overhead and staffing costs.

These components do not necessarily mean you should plan on offering TeleHealth on a large scale or indefinitely, or that it is going to be viable for your clinic to do so from a business standpoint.

What is going to ultimately determine whether some therapy modalities transition online for good? You can probably guess the biggest factor: Medicare, Medicaid, and even private payers would have to continue to reimburse at the current rates for virtual therapy sessions. Furthermore, if Medicare and Medicaid cut payments to a lesser amount, it is difficult to predict patients’ willingness or ability to transition to self pay or a larger co-pay amount. This will likely vary based on a number of things, not the least of which is the state of the economy and the average individual’s cash reserves.

We think it’s critical for clinic owners like you to plan for this reality on a more permanent basis, even if it does not in fact play out that way. Just as our EMR is set up for you to document and plan for all possibilities, TheraPlan supports thinking ahead and we’d rather have you be safe than sorry, especially if times are hard.

What should you therefore consider right now to prep for this potentiality? Here are a few insider tips:

  • Ensure that you are using a HIPAA-compliant platform for teletherapy sessions and get a signed BAA with whichever company whose software you’re using. Read more about this in our last blog.
  • Streamline all administrative processes as much as possible, especially those that require frequent communication with insurance companies. With all the delays that have arisen of late, this is even more essential. Now is a great time to begin working with a credentialing service like Clinic Connection and an experienced therapy billing agency like EEP. Make efficiency your top priority!
  • If you have not already, consider moving to a web-based EMR like TheraPlan, which makes patient charts and documentation easily accessible for all your therapists, from anywhere. Our application will soon have an integrated TeleHealth platform, which pairs the scheduler and text messaging system and eliminates the need for multiple systems to maintain. Stay tuned for this release!

With all the changes that could be upcoming, now is the perfect time to get your clinic’s records organized. We highly recommend electronic records if you’re looking to keep up with the industry and have the best chance of surviving massive changes like what we’ve seen happen already this year.

We’re here to help. Schedule a demo of TheraPlan at your convenience and let’s get your clinic ready to weather anything!

Post-Pandemic Advice for Therapy Clinics: Why HIPAA Compliance is Still Paramount

Since we first became aware of the potential impact of Covid-19 on American businesses, those of us in the Florida therapy industry have been scrambling to keep up with all the changes and updates. Though none of us knows what the “new normal” will look like as of the date of this post, we will aim to continue providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information we have. 

In an effort to be proactive versus reactive, we have created this blog series to cover as many areas as we think you should consider, the first of which is the temporary relaxation of HIPAA violation fees and penalties. The rumors around these changes and what will happen going forward has caused confusion amongst many therapy clinic owners. The following is our opinion for your consideration.

If your therapy clinic has conducted treatments via telehealth during this unprecedented period of time, it’s likely that compliance was not the first thing on your mind. Understandably, you likely first needed to make sure your business survived the pandemic and that your patients could get the quality of services they needed.

Even if you have been paying attention to compliance, it may have felt unclear how best to maintain it with your therapists and admin staff working from home. The truth is that there have been some areas that have had some leniency when it comes to being HIPAA compliant, due to the need for clinics to make swift changes in the area of telehealth and the general strain on the healthcare industry. Insurance companies and non-commercial payers lifted previously strict requirements for teleconferencing software retroactive to the arrival of the Covid-19 threat in the U.S., even going so far as to allow audio-only treatments.

However, we anticipate that this lenience will not remain once the country has begun operating semi-normally again. HIPAA regulations are still in place and paramount to your clinic’s existence, and your patients’ privacy. It’s perhaps more important than ever to consider these requirements first and foremost as you make decisions about your clinic going forward.

Transitioning Your Therapy Clinic Out of Crisis Mode

In our last blog post, we provided you with advice for what to do during the crisis period, but it’s just as critical to consider what to do as we all transition out of this unusual mode of operations.

Whether your clinic will be opening its doors and phasing back into in-person treatments or maintaining virtual therapy sessions, here are some general nuggets of advice:

  • Clarify any new policies with patients right away.
    • Will you be allowing only a certain number of people in your waiting room at any given moment?
    • Ensure that you and/or your therapists have contacted each patient to let them know about any changes that affect them specifically. Relationships with your patients continue to be everything!
  • Decide how to address patients’ concerns if they do not feel comfortable returning to in-person therapy.
    • This means you’ll want to decide on medium-term plans for maintaining virtual services (over the next 3 to 6 months). It may be necessary to reevaluate, given the uncertain nature of things right now.
    • Complete benefits checks, even if they were done just before the pandemic. You’ll want to verify each patient’s insurance coverage and how that payer’s policies have changed prior to continuing to bill for treatments. *Be aware that this process may take longer than usual, given volume of phone calls and staff shortages at insurance companies.* 

HIPAA Compliance is Still Crucial for Therapists and Clinics

If part of your plan includes continuing with teletherapy sessions even after businesses open in your area, which we highly recommend, here are a few things to consider.

On an administrative level, the most important factor in maintaining compliance at this time is to use a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing option. If your therapists have been using software of their choice (such as Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime) up until this point, you’ll want to streamline sessions to just one or two platforms with which your business has a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Note that many companies will only allow for this kind of business-to-business contract if you are a paying customer using a particular tier of services, meaning you cannot be using the free version of their product. This may have been overlooked due to the criticality of getting your patients treated and the length of time it may have taken to get the BAA signed by your telehealth vendors, but the window of leniency is expected to be rapidly closing.

In order to offset the potential expense necessary to acquire a BAA, you will want to do everything you can to make sure that therapists are following HIPAA protocol to a T, so that you and your employees can continue to get paid.

To ensure that treatment is only being performed via these approved platforms, it’s wise to implement policies such as requiring therapists to set up sessions in advance using meeting scheduling features. Even if your clinic has not been called out thus far for software choice, know that the proverbial dust is beginning to settle in many ways. Insurance companies are looking to cut costs just as you are, and if they determine that treatment was not provided using approved tools, they will have every right to begin denying claims. Not to mention the greater consequences of any potential HIPAA violations.

Be Aware of Changes in Pay Rates for Telehealth

Right now, telehealth treatments are being paid at the same rate as in-person sessions, for the most part. We do not expect or assume this payment option for all specialties will continue. It may, and hopefully will, but you need to be aware of those changes as soon as anything happens. The team at EEP is very diligent in staying current on all rules, but your team needs to be diligent as well.

You’ll want to consider what mix of in-person and telehealth services you can manage by calculating minimum and maximum pay rates. Predicting each possible scenario will leave you with the power to make quick decisions to keep your revenue afloat no matter what challenges arise.

We recommend staying on top of further billing-related updates that are pertinent to Florida therapists. Our partner billing agency, Edwards Electronic Processing (EEP), provides a free video series for the Florida therapy community on Facebook and YouTube.

Keep Better Records with an EMR

One major factor of HIPAA compliance, pandemic or not, is how well you are keeping records for your clinic. Now that much of your business may be virtual, having a documentation system that is accessible from any device at any time is crucial. 

There’s no better time than now, when every decision is critical to your business’s future, to maximize your therapy clinic’s efficiency. Schedule a demo of our web-based EMR today.

Starting a virtual therapy session during Covid-19

Advice for Therapy Clinics During the Covid-19 Crisis

At TheraPlan and our sister company, Edwards Electronic Processing, our business has been significantly affected by the threat of Covid-19. We know it’s likely that yours has too. Because we have far-reaching connections within the Florida therapy community, we feel we have a responsibility to compile and provide you with pertinent updates as we become aware of them.

Thus, this is a bit of a different blog post. Following is a bullet-point summary of the advice that Stephen Edwards, our CEO, has been releasing to our Florida therapy community via YouTube video updates over the past few weeks. Please see the end of this post for links to resources that contain the most up-to-date information about this crisis and any new regulations that affect your business.

With this post, we aim to give you realistic answers to your most pressing questions, and we are guiding our community with a conservative approach. The following advice is from a business standpoint, not a patient care standpoint.

  • If your therapy clinic is still treating patients on-site:
    • Implement a no waiting room policy.
      • Use TheraPlan’s text messaging feature to allow patients to wait in their car. This helps you avoid a waiting room scenario and gives your therapists the ability to notify a patient the moment they are ready.
    • Disinfect your entire facility at least once per day, and each treatment room between patients. 
  • If you are transitioning to telehealth:
    • Make sure your platform is HIPAA compliant. Here are some options:
      • TheraPlatform
      • Skype for Business
      • Zoom (*you must have a business associate agreement with Zoom in order to make this a compliant platform)
      • TheraPlan is looking to add a video platform in the next 30 days. Be sure to follow both TheraPlan and EEP on Facebook for regular updates.
    • If you do not already have a list, by therapist, of patients that are eligible for teletherapy, create one! This will require having your admin staff or therapists contact every patient to have them sign a teletherapy acknowledgement and verify that they are willing to proceed. However, this does not mean the payer will pay for therapy in this form. (See below.) Add a patient to your schedule only after you have confirmed these details.
    • Consider one patient per payer and see if claims are going through or being denied. If they are denied, you will have to bankroll that payer.
      • Medicaid announced that they are going to cover teletherapy for speech, physical, occupational, and Early Intervention therapy services. This means that MMAs will have to cover it.
      • Florida Medicaid is also going to cover teletherapy.
        • Medicare does not yet cover teletherapy for your provider type. 
        • If you are going to treat Medicare Type B patients, they need to be private pay and you must have an ABN (Advanced Beneficiary Notification).
    • Start collecting for self pay patients. One way to do this is to have admin staff call those patients that were seen in a given day and take payment over the phone later that same day, not at the time of service. It’s much easier on families to do this on a per session basis rather than to send them a big bill at the end of a month. Billing every day will also help maintain your clinic’s cash flow.
    • We advise that you roll out teletherapy strategically and keep a couple things in mind about how this transition is working for insurance companies:
      • Start immediately with Wellcare, MMA, Title 19 and Title 21, because we know that teletherapy goes through their underwriters. You will get paid during the normal billing cycle. If a claim does not go through underwriting, it is not going to get paid.
      • These new billing systems that cover teletherapy could take awhile to be officially set up. It could take 45-90 days to go through an appeal if your initial claim does not go through the correct underwriting process.
      • Many payers have cut down their admin staff.
        • Expect your secondary claims, appeals, and claim status calls to be much longer than normal. We have gotten reports of two-and-a-half-hour wait times already.
        • Expect that payments from secondary insurance providers will also be delayed.
  • Measures for keeping your therapy clinic afloat during the Covid-19 crisis:
  • Additional FAQs:
    • Can Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs) treat patients via teletherapy?
      • From FLASHA, we learned that the answer to this question is yes. 
    • Where can I get valid information about what’s happening in the therapy industry?
      • To get the latest information about the medical piece of the puzzle, visit
      • For Florida-specific updates, visit the Florida Department of Health’s Covid-19 page.
      • Look to your licensing board for clinical updates.
      • Get insurance updates directly from any payer that you are in network with.
      • Do not seek out information from groups or comments on social media (such as Facebook).
      • Make sure that you comb through any communication to make sure it’s relevant to your provider type. If it is, understand the system still may not be set up yet to pay for that service.
    • What should my self pay rate be?
      • We recommend charging $1 per minute for teletherapy, so this can be split 50/50 between the therapist and the providers. Your therapists are likely going to need to take a cut if you are going to reduce the amount it costs for teletherapy. That might not be popular, but it is a reality of having to make payroll.

We encourage you to compile all the information we are providing you with and make the decision which is best for your clinic. 

For the video version of this advice and the latest updates from TheraPlan and EEP (our partner billing agency), subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Communication Hacks for Doubling Your Therapy Clinic’s Efficiency

Effective communication is key for any business, but is especially critical in the therapy industry. One small breakdown in communication can have lasting negative effects on your therapy clinic’s billing, scheduling, and treatment processes.

There are different types of communication, all of which must come together in seamless synergy to result in increased efficiency. Read below for the most stress-inducing categories of communication and the associated hacks we’ve learned over decades of working with therapy clinics.

Improve Your Clinic’s Communication with Patients

Since patients are the ones you are serving, they come first on our list. 

It is probably no surprise that the communication you have most often with patients involves appointment scheduling. We live in a busy world, and when the success of your business depends on people remembering their visits, it is beyond helpful to assist them in doing so. 

The best modern hack for avoiding high cancellation rates and minimizing patient frustration is to implement text message reminders. That’s why we’ve built them into TheraPlan.

A related factor many clinic owners fail to focus on is customer service training for therapists. Even when things go wrong, patients are more likely to be understanding if they feel they are heard and important to you. Your therapists are on the front lines of interaction with your community, so we say getting back to the basics of human decency by providing superior customer service is paramount.

Read this post from Clinic Connection for even more about healthy communication with patients.

Maintain Strict Procedures for Communicating with Primary Care Providers

One of the most common challenges we see clinics facing involves reaching out to Primary Care Providers (PCPs).

Remember that even if your clinic has it together, there is no guarantee that other clinics will. No doubt you’ve encountered difficulties with receiving timely responses from a doctor’s office regarding things like getting Plans of Care signed. It can feel like an endless frustration and take a lot of time away from other critical administrative tasks.

The solution is to control what you can control, which in this case is timing! We cannot stress enough the importance of requiring therapists to complete plans of care as early as possible. This begins with scheduling evaluations about 30 days prior to the end of an existing plan of care, which means your therapists need to be trained to pay attention to critical expiration dates.

To make things like plan-of-care tracking even more painless for your clinic, we have integrated quick communication right into our EMR with features like TheraFax. Send critical documents to doctors and insurance companies directly from our web-based application.

Ease the Frustration of Communicating with Insurance Companies

We would echo the great time-saving (and sanity-saving!) hacks in this post by our credentialing partners for the dreaded necessity of working with insurance companies.

Ensure Sound Internal Communication in Your Therapy Clinic

None of the above tips will have a sizable effect if you are not closely managing how well your employees tell each other important details. Standardization is the answer.

For everything from hiring to scheduling to credentialing, your therapists and admins should have no doubt about who to contact, or when and how to do so. This begins with establishing easily understandable procedures from the moment you welcome a new hire onto the team. 

Our quick tip for making sure procedures are implemented? A good old-fashioned Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The twenty-first century hack version of this is digital! Online document storage systems make it so easy to keep live documents, which track all edits and contributing authors. Keep one document that houses all pertinent rules pertaining to communication. Assign one person to update it regularly, ensure that therapists are notified of any changes immediately, and keep a record of their agreement to said changes.

As the clinic owner, it’s important to remove yourself from the small tasks of day-to-day operations so you can focus on growth. Having an SOP in an easy format, and using an internal messaging system that is not as cumbersome as email, means you don’t need to feel pressured to mediate every small misunderstanding that takes place. Delegation can be scary, but it’s absolutely critical to positive communication.

Ultimately, whether you choose to use a digital document or not, failing to pay attention to how well your employees are talking to one another could result in unnecessary conflict and even significant revenue loss.

TheraPlan Can Help You Audit Your Clinic’s Communication Protocol

We may be a software company, but we consider ourselves communication experts, at least when it comes to our clients. After all, an EMR is built to support the accurate and regular exchange of information. If anyone knows how important clear communication is, it’s our development and support teams! 

Not only do we have 25+ years of working intimately with clinic owners under our belts, but we have built an entire network of Florida therapy experts for you to consult about things like internal and therapist-patient communication.

If you think your clinic could use some obligation-free advice, reach out today!

Using an EMR When Credentialing for Therapists Using CAQH Account

How the Right EMR Can Help Therapists Keep CAQH Accounts Current

If you are a therapy clinic owner, we would venture a guess that you are no stranger to the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) and what membership means for the continuity of your team’s credentialing experience. It is essentially a central application hub for various insurance credentials, and seems like a no-brainer. Of course, there is also the fact that many insurance companies actually require that all credential submissions happen via CAQH. These choices by the movers and shakers at large insurance companies have certainly made this almost an industry standard in 2020.

Mandating CAQH membership for your entire team can therefore be helpful as you continuously balance rolling expiration dates and bringing on new hires. However, fully implementing clinic policies that support accurate and consistent credentialing is easier said than done. Keeping an up-to-date account that is attested every four months is not light work and needs to be a priority for everyone involved.

Despite the fact that credentialing is technically the responsibility of individual therapists, it ultimately falls on you, the clinic owner. That’s largely because not keeping up with it can present a sizable risk and potential revenue loss for your business. Whether you have admins or you’re managing on your own, it’s overwhelming to keep up with therapist credentialing for CAQH (personal data, current documents, and list of insurances, to name a few items). 

If your office does not already run like a proverbial well-oiled machine, this type of paperwork nightmare could overtake your administrative processes. In our experience overseeing the admin side of countless therapy clinics, many make credentialing more difficult than it needs to be. Like any other small business responsibility, efficiency in this area is very much about standardization. Have a central place (preferably digital and easily accessible) to house all the important data for each person in need of credentials, and you’ll immediately cut down on the time spent searching for correct info.  

No surprise, we highly recommend an EMR for this! As you may have already discovered, though, not all EMRs are created equal.

In the same way that we focused heavily on building user-friendly documentation templates into our software, we also designed TheraPlan to make getting organized for credentialing easier. In each user’s profile within User Maintenance, there is an accordion (section) specifically for keeping credentialing data and uploading a therapist’s pertinent documents and personal data. Here, you will see that it’s possible to add expiration dates for board certifications, which allows our application to work with you in making the process seamless. 

This section is only accessible by you as the owner, and any admin users you specify. Every move inside the system is traceable, so there will never be a question about who made changes to a user’s file. Once you’ve input all the necessary information the first time, the designated person in charge of credentialing for your office can then update it as necessary with just a few clicks. One additional benefit: TheraPlan is web-based, so it’s accessible from any device anywhere. 

Even if you are already a TheraPlan user or have implemented some processes for therapist credentialing with CAQH, you may need some additional guidance to avoid costly mistakes. For this reason, we’ve partnered with the credentialing pros at Clinic Connection and several other companies specializing in Florida therapy to help clinic owners like you. 

We invite you to reach out to us before making any changes to your credentialing processes. Not only can we get you set up with a modern, therapy-specific EMR, but we can connect you with our network of Florida therapy experts.

Therapy Clinic Services in the State of Florida

Why Your Florida-Based Therapy Clinic Needs State-Specific Industry Expertise

Have you ever tried to explain any part of your business to a friend who’s not in the therapy industry? Chances are, they were confused. They don’t understand why you can’t chat because you’re calling insurance companies first thing in the morning, why it takes so much effort to make sure your therapists are compliant with documentation, or why you’re staying up until all hours of the night to finish credentialing paperwork for a new hire. After awhile, you may just stop trying to discuss work at all with anyone outside the office. 

No matter how long your practice has been in business, you understand how complicated this industry can be. With constant changes to documentation and billing requirements, saying it’s a lot to keep up with would be an understatement.

Furthermore, it’s nearly impossible to get the support you need from outside sources because they’re just too general. National industry blogs, videos, and podcasts are great, but they won’t necessarily help you with the everyday tasks of billing, credentialing, HIPAA compliance, and more as a Florida-based clinic. So, you find yourself turning to Facebook groups and other local clinic owners for the detailed advice you need.

Florida Therapy Industry Regulations Are Unique

The biggest reason it’s so hard to find help, or even relatable content, is because therapy is such a state-specific business. The things you are required to consider in the state of Florida could be wildly different from someone who practices therapy in any other state. Then, there’s the matter of diving even deeper into speech, occupational, physical, behavioral, and other therapy disciplines.

Because requirements and the related changes often pertain to specific state-based insurance carriers or Medicaid programs, the advice you seek from outside sources may not always apply. Every state’s regulations are different, and sometimes there are even regional variations in things like early intervention therapy.

You Need More Than One Type of Support for Your Therapy Clinic

You may have had the inclination to outsource some part of your business, but it can be hard to know what is most important. Do you protect your therapists’ time first and pay for an EMR, or is it more important to hire a billing agency to ensure that they get paid quickly? Sometimes, bringing a new company into the mix can sound so overwhelming as a clinic owner that you just conclude it’s best to do it all yourself or with your current admin team. 

Add in the overwhelm of trying to work with a company whose staff is unfamiliar with Florida regulations, and it’s no wonder you’d want to handle the responsibilities alone.

Therapy is a Highly Interpersonal Industry

Yet another factor in your frustration could be the sheer emotional toll it takes to try your hardest to provide a service people genuinely need, while feeling like you’re up against the complex, and sometimes unfair, rules of our bewildering health care system.

We know what this feels like from your perspective and that of your patients. Our founder, Stephen Edwards, got started in the Florida therapy industry due to a personal tragedy, which has given him and our entire team insight into the patient’s view of therapy services. We fully grasp why your job is important to you, and not just as a small business owner concerned about revenue. You deserve to have the exact help you need to continue providing high-quality therapy to your patients.

Look for a Solid Network of Florida Therapy Experts

All of the above leads us to the solution we have created: a network of Florida-based therapy industry experts ready to serve clinics like yours. We’ve seen the inner workings of clinics and home-based practices of all sizes and with every mix of disciplines. Because we understand what it takes to run an efficient and thriving clinic, we’ve built a team of billing, credentialing, and auditing experts, EMR software developers, and Medicaid eligibility pros.

We don’t believe you should have to choose between these services because they’re all essential to your business’s growth. So, we’ve joined forces.

Think of our network of companies like a group of apps that integrate to make your life easier. When you use more than one of our products or services together, you get the benefit of seamless communication amongst a unified team of people who understand your challenges and are all working on your behalf.

Find out how we can make use of all these areas of expertise and create a customized plan together to take your therapy practice to the next level in 2020.

Therapy Industry Trends Discussed at ASHA’s 2019 Convention

The TheraPlan team recently attended the 2019 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in our home city of Orlando, Florida. We always love interacting with therapists and clinic owners like. At this event, there was ample opportunity for us to discuss industry trends with members of the speech therapy community. Along with our partner companies, EEP billing agency, Clinic Connection, and EligiPro, we personally addressed providers’ major worries regarding documentation, billing, and more. Here is a summary of some of the themes we heard.

It was no surprise that several therapy practice owners told us that their biggest challenge is keeping up the flow of their revenue cycle. Dealing with the complications presented by insurance reimbursement can make this feel impossible. Since TheraPlan was founded by therapy billing experts, we fully understand how it feels to spend hours on the phone with insurance companies and to always be frustrated about things like appeals. Industry regulations and commercial insurance requirements seem to be constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. This is precisely why we work so closely with EEP billing agency. We know you need experts on your side, and specifically those who specialize in Florida therapy billing. 

In addition to general revenue concerns, many providers approached us with curiosities about how to keep accurate records for specific billing requirements, such as grant programs and Early Intervention treatment. TheraPlan has designed its documentation templates to satisfy the requirements of your local Early Steps programs. You can feel confident that your annual audits will go smoothly when you use TheraPlan’s documentation templates.

Ultimately, the biggest frustration we found amongst ASHA attendees was something that is reflected in many of our interactions with therapy clinic owners every day: a desire to focus on the therapy and patient aspect of the business and spend less time on the admin. We believe you deserve to do so because your practice serves the community in a meaningful way, but also because you became a small business owner in order to experience some of the freedom that implies. In this industry, it can be difficult to leave work behind and have a life of your own, difficult not to spend every moment after hours doing paperwork or trying to make sense of claims, credentialing, etc. 

We know it’s possible to feel you are dedicating yourself to providing the best quality therapy possible while also running an efficient business and keeping it in the black. The detailed nature of TheraPlan’s documentation templates and the convenience of features like the to-do list were our response to real-world clinic owners who came to our booth to discuss their general sense of overwhelm. Our EMR users, who are not limited to the speech therapy discipline, have transformed their practices and we know you can too.

You may want to check out what the EEP billing team encountered at this year’s convention. Missed ASHA and want to chat with us about your own concerns? You can contact us any time. Click here to shoot us an email.