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5 Things We Learned at Physical Therapy Clinics

The Prompt team spent the past few weeks on the road conducting sales and meetings at physical therapy clinics as well as investor meetings. Here are 5 topics we learned about this week and how they can affect your clinic.

#1 – Using Multiple Systems to Run Your Clinic Causes Issues

The most common complaint we have heard from potential customers and current customers is that they cannot run their clinic on one system. For example, a clinic using an EMR system that integrates with another system to perform their billing. This arrangement generally involves a one directional integration where the systems lack the ability to communicate between themselves. This makes the clinic less efficient in many ways.

First, an owner of a clinic needs to access the EMR for reports on notes and visits but the other system for reports on revenue and claims data. Second, there is a data lag between the notes being sent to the third party system and the claim submission. Because they are two unique systems, the person in charge of billing cannot receive notification when notes are sent to them from therapists. Third, if there is a problem with the documentation, the biller has no way to communicate this within the system to the therapist. This causes them to either communicate via phone, email or text, exposing clinics to HIPAA violations. Finally, using two systems creates issues when the data does not transfer accurately.

In speaking with a biller who bills for a two clinic group in Bergen County, New Jersey, she had this to say.

“Our clinic was operating with an EMR system and a separate Billing system for a year now and it is inefficient,” she said. “For me to communicate with my therapists about notes, we have to do so via email for HIPAA reasons. Additionally, I have no way to invoice patients from the billing software. While it is two pieces of software to do notes and submit bills, we actually need 4 pieces of software to perform all of our job functions.”

Luckily, a solution arrived as Prompt EMR & Practice Management enables every action a clinic needs to perform from one system. Our Billing Master Screen is the most powerful claim review, submission and posting solution on the market. Additionally, an owner can get reports for every aspect of the clinic on one platform.

#2 – Patients Want to Book Appointments Online

Prompt surveyed 400 patients recently and 68.2% of them stated they would like to book appointments online. Unfortunately, the majority of EMR platforms in the space do not support this functionality. Some clinics counter this by using third party software to offer online booking, but these platforms often do not integrate with the EMR, leading to double booking and more work for front desk employees.

One patient Prompt spoke with said this. “I can book a haircut online. I can order groceries for a scheduled delivery online. But to book a physical therapy appointment, I have to call, spend a couple minutes on hold, and wait for the front desk to look up the available times,” he said. “It makes no sense why none of the clinics can allow me to access their schedule and book an appointment and eventually I got frustrated with the process that I stopped going altogether.”

Prompt eradicates that issue. First, Prompt has built a platform that helps the front desk perform their job better. Second, Prompt enables online appointment booking integrated into the real-time availability of the therapists, avoiding any double booking.

#3 – Many Clinics Operate with Multiple Tax IDs for No Reason

A common question owners asked us this week was, “How do you handle my multiple Tax ID setup?” Our follow up question was always, “Why do you operate with multiple Tax IDs?”

Here were two responses we received from  clinic owners.

  1. “I use one Tax ID for in-network carriers and one Tax ID for out-of-network carriers.”
  2. “I use two Tax IDs because I have found that it helps me get approved for more visits.”

Many owners are not aware, but operating on multiple Tax IDs, particularly in scenario 1, put the clinic at risk of violating the Stark Law. An example of this is:

  • Patient A receives treatment at your clinic with Blue Cross Blue Shield, which Clinic A is in-network with. You bill the patient under Tax ID A
  • Patient A changes insurance to Aetna, which Clinic A is out-of-network with. You bill the patient under Tax ID B

This is a violation of the Stark Law as you referred your patient from Tax ID A to Tax ID B, which by law, are two separate entities, meaning you received payment for a referral.

The owner of a reputable local billing company discussed this issue with us.

“Most clinic owners are not aware that operating on multiple Tax IDs put them at major risk of violating the Stark Law,” she said. “It is not that they do it intentionally, but the consequences are the same. Far and away the simplest and safest way to set up a clinic is with one Tax ID and to bill under the Group NPI number instead of their individual NPI numbers. It actually saves time when setting up a clinic and reduces the risk and complications down the line.”

For a good article on the Stark Law, give this a read.

#4 – Clinics Want Change

A common theme from our meetings in the past few weeks was that owners are frustrated with the “solutions” that currently exist and are actively seeking new platforms. However, one clinic owner expressed his frustration with his search.

“I’ve been looking for a new software platform to manage my clinic for years but unfortunately I was unable to find one that was easy to use and could perform all my job functions,” he said. “Prompt is able to do that for me and finally provided me with a reason to switch platforms.”

#5 – Patient Retention Continues to be a Major Issue

With 7 out of 10 patients not completed their course of care, patient retention is costing clinics thousands of dollars a month in potential revenue. One owner of a local clinic stated the problem as follows.

“On average, my patients are leaving 4-5 visits per script on the table,” he said. “We keep them in for 6-8 visits and then it is hard to get them back. With no ability to show them their progress, no online scheduling and a lack of ability to communicate with my patients, it is pretty fruitless to try.”

Prompt will improve patient retention with robust patient facing tools such as appointment reminders, online scheduling, weekly progress reports and clear patient invoicing.

Prompt EMR & Practice Management – A Fully-Integrated, Physical Therapy Software Platform

Learn more about how Prompt EMR & Practice Management is changing the landscape in physical therapy with a revolutionary approach to software. With built in documentation, billing and Medicare logic, Prompt provides therapists, front-desk employees, billers and owners the tools they need to reduce clinic inefficiencies, grow profit margins, and improve patient outcomes.

See how Prompt EMR and Practice Management can help your clinic! Fill out the form to your right to schedule a Demo today!

Prompt Staff

Prompt Therapy Solutions builds practice management software for physical therapy clinics ranging from single provider practices and startups, to large enterprise organizations.

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