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.

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.

Dashboard-Centric EMR

4 Advantages of a Dashboard-Centric EMR

In a world dominated by mobile apps, in which few daily tasks require more than a series of clicks, we feel EMRs should be no exception. Medical professionals may need to keep accurate and insurance-approved records, but that doesn’t mean the interface for doing so has to look dry and boring! A modern, aesthetically pleasing dashboard makes the most common functions of an EMR feel less cumbersome, and at the same time provides one-click accessibility. We designed TheraPlan around these principles, ensuring that our dashboard-centric EMR and landing page would provide numerous advantages to our users, including:    
  1. Quick access to patients’ charts and contact info: Upon logging in to TheraPlan, the first thing you’ll notice on the dashboard is a Patient List. Search for a particular patient, or review your entire caseload at any given time, without having to navigate to the Patient Information section of the application. If you’re a therapist on wheels, accessing the dashboard from your mobile device allows you to call the patient’s main contact phone number in just a couple clicks!
 
  1. Scheduling at your fingertips: If you’re using TheraPlan for scheduling appointments, our dashboard brings those to your attention right away. See your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule at a glance, and even check in patients straight from the scheduler tile. No outside apps or calendars necessary!
 
  1. Inter-company messaging: We all know that emails get lost in inboxes, and text messages sometimes get overlooked. When you need to communicate with your team of therapists or admin staff, simply log in to TheraPlan and send an instant message straight from our message center.
 
  1. An at-a-glance summary of unsigned documents: Forgot which notes you left unfinished? See them all in one place every time you log in. With this addition to the TheraPlan dashboard serving as your ongoing task list, it’s impossible to end up with incomplete documentation!
  A dashboard-centric EMR provides immeasurable advantages. TheraPlan’s unique brand of dashboard technology allows therapists to complete daily responsibilities with minimal effort: to work smart, not hard!   If you’re interested in seeing our dashboard for yourself, schedule a demo. We’re happy to show you how TheraPlan can simplify your work life.