3 Reasons for Early Discharge from Physical Therapy
I think that a lot of new PT and OT clinics just starting out think that discharging a patient before they're 100% ready is not ideal; they can make another $100 off that patient if they see them for 2 more visits and potentially get them a little bit further along. It sounds reasonable, doesn't it?! It could be justifiable to insurance because they did make a little more progress in those 2 visits. But was it worth it to your practice?! We also tend to see a lot of clinics that really push PT/OT productivity; is this you?
No one really knows what is going to happen with insurance changes in the face of a brand new presidency. Research by Medicare shows that the amount of money spent on therapy services has vastly increased over the years. Is this increase due to the fact that the baby boomers are older and requiring more medical attention, including surgeries? Is it because more people actually know what physical and occupational therapy is?! We all know it certainly isn't because reimbursement amounts have increased...LOL (well, not really LOL, kind of depressing actually)!
What if you discharged all of your patients when they were 75-80% better, and not 100%?? We all know that if you're reading this article, you understand that physical and occupational therapy actually reduce the amount of spending on overall healthcare of the patient. So if our goal is to empower them to be more independent with functional activities on their own, then why not cut them loose so that they can continue the plan of care on their own?
Here are 3 good reasons to discharge your patients faster than ever:
1. Worker's compensation insurance companies send more patients to the providers that get their patients better the fastest. Whoever saves them money, gets the patients.
2. Patient's that are discharged at the peak of progress tend to refer more friends and family to see you. You may not get them 100% better in your clinic, but you have given them the tools to be independent and they love you for it. They learn that you love what you do because you love helping people, not milking their insurance benefits.
3. Reduced risk of being audited. Why would you try to make more money with 2 more visits if it puts you at a higher risk of being scrutinized? Not to mention the time and stress of getting together the information needed for the audit just might cost you as much as you made. Medicare developed PQRS reporting so they could begin gathering information on the quality of care and progression during therapy.
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Katie co-founded HENO based on her career as a physical therapist and practice owner of over 10 years. Her understanding of the pain points many practice owners face has equipped her to create practice management solutions that optimize the efficiency and profitability of physical, speech and occupational therapy clinics.
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