Last week Account Matters was an exhibitor at the APTA NEXT 2017 Conference in Boston, MA. This was our first year exhibiting at NEXT and we were not disappointed. Our staff was able to meet so many compassionate professionals who wanted to excel in their workplace, but needed some guidance on how to take their role to the next level. Attendees were physical therapy students, physical therapy professionals, and business owners. All three of these groups have very different concerns when it comes to their careers and businesses, so we wanted to share each group’s concerns and how our business is built to make these challenges easier.

Students
We were surprised at how many of the students we spoke to expressed interest in opening their own clinics when they graduate. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss, right? But we were shocked at how many of them hadn’t taken a single business/management course during their time in college. We talk about this all the time in our office, how PT, OT, SLP students are taught how to deliver excellent care to patients, but not how to manage a business. This is where Diane McCutcheon and her 35 years of practice management come in. Our company teaches you the business management skills that school doesn’t.

Another big topic that students want to talk about is credentialing, or provider enrollment. Many students were unaware of the steps needed to be taken when enrolling with insurances. Most times the employer is responsible for credentialing their new employee but these young professionals should have a basic knowledge of what information is required before credentialing can take place. Students are the next generation of private practice owners so we want them to know there are resources for these daunting problems, and success doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

Physical Therapy Professionals
We spoke to many physical therapists working in private practices and hospitals who wanted to venture out and start their own practice too. These individuals had a lot of questions about what happens to their provider numbers when they switch jobs, how do they ensure their new business is HIPAA compliant, and how can they build a business that will succeed with a start-up budget.

These were all great questions for our staff because we were prepared with all the answers. Our staff was able to clarify how providers need to submit changes to the appropriate insurances in order to keep their credentials accurate and prevent future denials. We mentioned how the consulting side of our business has a great course on how to open a private practice that will keep them out of hot water. And as for the start-up budget, our company will be the first to tell you that you need to spend money to make money. Investing your limited money on things that will build a solid foundation for your business such as hiring the right people, implementing processes and up-to-date technology, training and development programs for administrative staff, should come before the flashy bells and whistles.  

Owners
Our staff had an absolute blast talking with the physical therapy private practice owners who stopped by the booth, mainly because they either knew too much or too little. I’ll give you an example; we were talking with an owner and she stated, “I have a billing company already.” So naturally we asked, “Are they doing a good job?” and her response was, “I don’t know.” This is something our company runs into a lot. Owner’s contract with billing companies or hire billing staff, and make just enough to pay the bills and make payroll, so they think are okay. But are they leaving money on the table? Are reimbursements being maximized? These are all things they leave up to chance. We were happy to explain to these owners that the staff at Account Matters processes claims daily, follows up on denials daily, and manages the accounts receivable, making sure owners know we are doing a good job.

Overall, the Account Matters team really enjoyed the chance to talk to physical therapy professionals face to face and get an idea of what their day-to-day concerns are because they are so different from ours. We enjoyed getting a chance to let everyone know that they are not alone in this fight, and there is a company who wants them to succeed and is willing to put in the hard work to make sure they do. If you have concerns similar to the NEXT 2017 attendees, drop us a line, we are here to help! 

NEXT Attendee Concerns: From Students to Owners