7 Deadly Mistakes Made By New Practice Startups

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44. Onboarding New Patients in Your Speech Therapy Private Practice

Converting new referrals into weekly patients can be very exciting in your speech therapy private practice, but if done incorrectly, it can cost you big time in the form of lost revenue, unnecessary wasted time and most importantly poor patient satisfaction.

In this episode, I answer some recent listener questions about non-therapist clinic ownership and then dive right into the correct way to bring new patients into your private practice. I also highlight very important steps so that the whole process of patient onboarding is accurate and smooth.

In this episode:
01:04 – Over 39,959 listeners to the show
02:18 – Welcome Dana, PrivateSLP All Access Community
03:35 – PrivateSLP Blueprint
05:45 – Private Practice ownership,
06:40 – Partnerships
08:14 – Onboarding your first patient
09:25 – Demographics
09:47 – Insurance Information
12:55 – Privacy policies
13:48 – Consent release and assignment


Before you go out and spend a ton of money on getting a lease, a building and turning on electricity, phone systems, computers and all that jazz, make sure you have a healthy positive relationship with a therapist who can help you in your private practice.


Well, Hello everyone you’re listening to the Speech Therapy Private Practice StartUp Podcast. This is episode number 44. My name is Kyle Meades and I’m a Speech Pathologist since 1993. And these podcasts are designed to help you improve your business and your life one Podcast at a time.

Welcome back to the show everyone. Thanks again for all the emails and all the questions. As of today, today is Tuesday, October 23rd 2018. We have well over 39,959 listeners to the show and I’m super grateful and delighted you guys are out there getting good valuable free information. Because let’s face it. Value is what you get in the absence of money and these podcasts are free for you. So if you wouldn’t mind just please go to your iOS or Android platform of your choice and leave some good 5 Star feedback out there, that way other people just like you can get the same valuable information that you’re receiving right now.

And also I wanted to let you know we have a space available for the Perfect Student, that’s where you fly into Tucson, Arizona; work with me hand in hand and we’ll hope you get credentialed and set up your billing, you learn how to manage your referrals & patients, and how to bill and how to collect them, all those fancy things like that but you do have to fly into Tucson to work with me and that takes time. But if you can’t do that the next best thing is to work with me in the PrivateSLP All access community, that’s where you can find me every single day I’m logged in and it’s just a great place to work with other people. I would like to welcome one of our newest member. Her name is Dana and she is working on her Private practice and I know she’s getting good value already and she is asking many questions and I’m just so glad that she’s here. There’s over right now just 101 threads to choose from. With over 437 messages we have just different sections of the community. There’s a results section, discussion section, a place where you can meet other members in your community, trainings, there’s live trainings, we’ve got live trainings on employees & payment and things to consider when you’re moving from paper charts to electronic charts and how to double your practice in ten months even if you’re not ready. There’s things about copays, deductibles, co-insurance, how to make your Website and how to make sure you’re getting good patient satisfaction and getting good feedback. There’s also trainings on key performance indicators, mindset goal achievements, speech therapy codes, accounts receivable. There’s something what I teach called the BTS principle, that’s behind the scenes. There is just a ton of information and that’s just the live training.

If you keep looking in the community you’re going to see things about marketing insurance, what I call the PrivateSLP blueprint. Also the referral roadmap how to just supercharge your private practice and get those referrals coming in. Also new patient intake courses and MPI trainings, even how to set up your phone systems, computers and all that stuff. This forms and their media releases on financial hardships, contracts that I use on a daily basis for my own business. There’s a place in a section in there called for the chart, their super bills, daily note forms, case history forms, home programs, time spreadsheets, visit payment authorization, tracking sheets and visit logs. All that’s in the PrivateSLP All Access Community, and all you have to do is sign up and you’ve got immediate access to all these things plus me and I’m here to help you. If you can’t sign up just yet. I do understand that everyone. It’s not for everybody and this is just for those people who really want to change their life. And sometimes people just aren’t ready. And if you’re not ready that’s Okay. If you want me to answer some questions, all you gotta do is send me an e-mail kyle@privateslp.com and I’ll help you. I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve pick up the phone after I receive an email. And people are surprised they say, “Wow, you really do call me” and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to help you. Ask me a question and I’m not going to take the time to type this out. I want to talk to you and I want to meet you. And I want to see what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, so I can help you if I can. So don’t be surprised if you send me an e-mail or if you go to the contact form at privateslp.com, if you leave me one of those voice messages don’t be surprised if I pick up the phone and call you back, because I truly want to help you be successful. So that’s all available privateslp.com.

Recently I had a couple people ask the same question so I’m going to throw that out there before I get into today’s topic which is Onboarding your first patient. But recently a couple of people had asked me and reached out to me via email. They wanted to know if you have to be a Therapist to start your own Private Practice. I mean in a nutshell the answer is No. But it’s kind of like owning a restaurant. You got to have a really good Chef if you want to have a very popular restaurant, Right? I mean if you’re going to offer good tasty food you better have a really good Chef. Well, it’s kind of the same thing in the therapy world if you want to have your own Private Practice you can, you’ve heard me say it. You can have it but you’re gonna have to pay therapist to work in your Private Practice so before you go out and spend a ton of money on getting a lease, a building and turning on electricity, phone systems, computers and all that jazz, make sure you have a healthy positive relationship with a therapist who can help you in your private practice.

Now another part of that question is do you recommend Kyle that we have a partnership. I can’t answer that. I’m not you but I do know in the people that I have spoke to in the past. Partnerships generally don’t work. And I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m just telling you from personal experience and things that I see, things that I hear and one of those things is about partnerships. If you don’t have the right relationship with others that relationship will not last. And I’ve seen that time and time again in the Speech Therapy Private Practice world. So it’s up to you if you want to make a partnership and have your own practice with a therapist. If you’re not a Speech therapist yourself but if you really think about it if you’re a Speech Pathologist and you want to start your own Private Practice you’re in a good spot because you don’t have to really pay yourself when you’re first starting out to do all the evaluations and do all the treatments. You’re in a good spot, so you can slowly grow it over time. But if you’re not a therapist and you need a therapist to start that business, you’ve gotta have some money in the bank to do payroll, meet payroll and pay for those evaluations and treatment. So it’s just something to think about. Consider the restaurant like I said you have to have a good chef to have a popular restaurant with good tasty food. So think about that when you starting out, and I hope that answers those two questions.

Today, I wanted to talk about Onboarding your first patient and this is something that I received a few emails in the past and so wanted to throw that out there now. So when you’re onboarding your first patient, first of all what is Onboarding mean. That means the process of getting that patient in to your business, getting that patient evaluated, treated and getting that patient good customer service, good quality service because you can’t have a business unless you have an offer that converts. And for Speech Therapy Private Practice our offer is Speech evaluations and Speech therapy. So the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to receive that referral. And then once you received that referral the next step is you want to contact that family to get that patient’s schedule. Now normally, the first visit is going to be an evaluation and when you do an evaluation of Speech therapy, it could be a language eval, speech eval, voice, swallowed, dysphagia, autism whatever it is you are doing. You’re going to have certain amount of forms to get that family on boarded into your clinic.

Now with those forms it’s going to be your demographics. And what are demographics? Demographics, when somebody fills out that paperwork that’s their name, their address, their city, state, zip code, whether that person is single, married, divorced, widowed, separated, domestic partner, their phone number, emergency contact, name, telephone number, that’s all demographics. Then you’ve got what’s called Primary Insurance Information. If you even accept insurance is now if you don’t accept insurance as you could probably skip this step but you need to have a clear set of rules. So when that patient comes to you, is it going to be cash? Is it going to be check? or is it going to be Credit card? But you need to make sure you get paid before the time of service. If you do take insurances, you want to make sure you accept that copay before you perform that service. I have spoken to many clinic owners who have just waited on insurance companies. That’s the wrong way to do business. You don’t sit there and wait for insurance companies to pay you because you might wait a long time. You have to make sure that you collect copays or coinsurance before the time of service.

So back to the basics on Onboarding a patient. You want to get that primary insurance information if you take insurances. That’s the Insurance Carrier’s name, address, city, state, policy number, all that’s the primary insurance information. Then secondary insurance information, you have to get that information as well. Some people may have a form of Medicaid or form of Medicare, they may have other insurances like private insurance for e.g. BlueCross, BlueShield or Tricare. So you want to make sure you get primary and secondary insurance information and then once you get that demographic information and insurance information you want to move on to your policies. Those are your personal clinical policies that might be late policy or cancellation policy or a copay policy or what about if somebody no shows, what if that parent leaves the premise while you’re doing therapy and they just leave their child they don’t come back. I mean you have to think about these things. What if someone has a financial hardship or what about insurance billing a payment? Who’s going to do those things for you? All those should be very clearly set out so you can have a important and successful relationship with your patients and your families.

And then moving on after you do that you want to make sure you get a good case history for that child or that adult that you’re about to treat. The identifying information like the child or the adult patient’s name, address, date of birth, how to get in touch with them and who referred that patient to you. What’s their present communication status and what’s the educational history of this person? And what’s the family history in pregnancy, birth, medical information and developmental history? All those things will give you the clinician a good way to actively help and treat this patient. And then you want to have them maybe fill out some more information about ideological history, speech and language history. Has that patient been in other clinics around your town and received other evaluations? Let’s say this is their first visit, did they have another evaluation that’s an appropriate amount of time or you can treat that patient. Then we don’t have to do another Eval charge. I mean those are the same things that you want to look at.

Then once you do those things you want to move in to what they called Privacy policies. And that’s where you disclose how you treat their health care information how you perform your treatments and payments and how we disclose your health information to public health authorities for the purposes like preventing or controlling diseases, injury, disabilities, reporting child abuse from neglect. I mean that really happens. So law enforcement, I mean attorneys and when you get summons to turn over medical records all that must be in your Notice of Privacy policies. These things really happen. When you have your own Private practice. You’re going to figure out really fast that when you get a summons in the mail that says you need to produce these records. You gotta do it. And patients have information rights to. All those need to be in your policy.

And then there’s something what’s called a Consent release and assignment. That way, do you have permission to use that patient in Social Media? What about if the payment goes directly to the patient and not to your office? How are you going to get that? That needs to be in this consent release and assignment as well. That’s a lot of information. But the good news is if you’re a member of the PrivateSLP All Access Community, all this is right here for you. This is what’s tested tried and true works for us here and it’s something that can work for you too. All these forms have been reviewed by our legal team and so I know they work. And that’s immediately available for you for download if you need that. But if you don’t have access to the All Access Community that’s okay too because you can take this information. There’s a transcription button there at the end of this podcast you can download this and we’ll all be there for you in a nice neat format so you can just have that and use that in your own private practice.

So I hope this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions about your own Speech Therapy Private Practice growing starting out scaling. All you gotta do is reach out to me kyle@privateslp.com. And as always thank you for listening.

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