Many people contact me and ask this question, “How do I start a speech therapy private practice and just take cash and not deal with insurances and minimize headaches”?
There isn’t an easy answer to this question, because with the increase of consumers forced to have insurance coverage, people want value. Patients want to use their insurances to cover medical services, and that includes therapy services.
I truly believe as clinicians and business owners, we owe it to our patients to accommodate everyone. That is why I choose to take cash, insurances, Medicare and Medicaid as forms of payment in our clinic
In this episode, I talk about this and other aspects of the cash-versus-insurance topic.
In this episode:
01:08 – Over 4817 listeners from various parts of the world
01:52 – The Perfect Student
02:35 – Question from Andrew
04:32 – Survey in your area for Pricing
06:33 – Multiple payer source
07:22 – Insurance is not always a headache
08:54 – Old school tactics
10:16 – Biggest marketing secret
11:49 – Membership section of privateslp.com
You just turned an Insurance client into a cash pay patient, so that’s another way to think about it. Why settle for only forty-five dollars a visit when you might get a higher rate of reimbursement.[Commercial]
Well, Hello everyone! You’re listening to the Speech therapy Private practice Startup Podcast; this is episode number 16. 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 and I want to say Thank you for listening. Thanks for all your emails, thanks for the feedback on iTunes I really appreciate it. And as of today, August the 6th 2016, we have over 4817 listeners from various parts of the world, like United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Israel, Philippines, Turkey, Singapore, we have people listening from all over the World. Its really nice to have all you guys listening and if you wouldn’t mind, jump in and chime in, go to Privateslp.com and at the bottom of each podcast post you’ll see a place for comments. I really appreciate you guys leaving comments and if you don’t mind leave some comments down there. Chime in, start telling me what you’re thinking so I can drive and steer this podcast to what you want to hear.
And also too if you’re interested in working with me, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put THE PERFECT STUDENT in the Subject line and tell me a little bit about yourself. Go in the detail and let me if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been working on your private practice for sometime, if you’re so practitioner, if you have employees, let me know some information about you so that I can help you better.
Right now I do have a waiting list but I am accepting people. Just again, please give me as much information as possible and make sure you put a valid email address in there because likely I do email people back and their email are bounced for whatever reason and I just can’t get in touch with you. I just want to make sure I can help you so give me as much information as possible.
I want to start today’s show with a question and this question comes from a person named Andrew and it says, “Hi Kyle, my wife wanted to start a private speech therapy practice in our area. She’s been working for a local school for the past 10 years and she’d an itch for a long time to go out on her own. She is almost to the point of launching her own business. She loves Speech but dislikes the business and technology part of it and that’s where I come in. I created a website, I setup her phone system, I registered her EIN, I took an old MacBook upgraded from 4 GB to 16 GB of Ram. And I’ll be doing the marketing and of course listening to your Podcast. We’ve learned a lot along the way and there are two things we’re worried about and hopefully you can help me with that.
Number 1 Pricing. How much should be charge for services? What if our local Speech therapy practices in our area charges fifty-five bucks for half hour and three hundred for the evau. My wife wanted to charge forty-five dollars for half hour and two hundred for the evau. I thought it might be too low. She wants to do private pay and I have to deal with the Insurance companies.
Number 2, How to get clients. This is one of my wife’s biggest fears. What if we put all this work in starting get out and we just don’t get in the clients. I assured her that her field as you know is a very in-demand field. She’s going to work part-time for the school while she gets it up and running. What type of marketing have you found that works.
Thanks for all you do, your podcast is great. Andrew.”
Well Andrew, I wanted to say thank you for that email. Those are great questions, so I wanted to take the time. I know you wrote this to me couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take the time to really think this out for you and give you a good answer. I really believe that taking my time and being through with my answer will help you and others. That’s why I wanted to go and make these questions into a Podcast.
Let me go and get started. When it comes to pricing, you want to do a cost survey in your area. Now there’s nothing wrong with fifty-five, fifty or forty-five dollars per half hour. That’s a very good solid price point. As far as the evaluation, two hundred fifty or two fifty five or three hundred dollars for the evaluation, obviously that’s going to take longer, because you got to do report, you got to send that report to the pediatrician or the doctors office. I get it. We are going to take more time on the Eval.
When I started my own private practice, I knew I wanted to be an employer so when you’re asking me questions about pricing and taking an insurance plan. I get it, I understand. There are lot of physical therapist out there who podcast and blog about the cash-based business model. I totally understand. Insurance companies can be a headache. I totally get it. You’re preaching to the choir. But let me tell you this, I wanted to be an employer. I wanted to change lives for the better not only for my patients but also the employees who work with me.
If you go back and listen to those earlier podcasts, you’ll hear me complaining about the places I used to work. For Christmas, we got a chocolate or cherry pie. It was my choice either chocolate or cherry. It was a frozen cisco pie. We had to by end of this fake culture in order to keep our job. It was horrible.
So when I started my own private practice, I wanted to grow it and scale it as big as I can get it. I am still doing that today; because of insurances I was able to that. I am going to share with you my own personal experience and I totally understand a lot of people don’t want to deal with insurance companies. I was always told from the get go and I did talk to a lot of private practice owners before I started. Why would you only limit yourself to one payer source, you want to take multiple payers. Multiple payers might be cash or insurance or what about working with an attorney doing leans for people who have been in accidents, who need cognitive training. There are so many different things out there, why would I want to just limit myself to one payer.
I think its smart Andrew that your wife is doing working part-time at the school and slowly building this thing up because you don’t want to go out there and borrow bunch of money from Banks because when you do that you are really working for the bank. I think what she’s doing is very smart and she’s got you to help with all the technology, website and marketing and that’s a really good solution. But please don’t forget Insurance is not always a headache. Lets say you want to just focus on forty-five dollars per half hour treatment, what if an Insurance company would reimburse you Seventy-six or Eighty-two dollars per visit, what’s wrong with that. And it’s just as simple as going to a computer program, inputting that charge, hitting enter and it’s done and maybe you get a cheque three days later. Sometimes it’s that simple.
I will be honest when I say that yes, there are headaches to insurances. Sometimes Insurances play those games like United Health care and Cigna, they play that game, like we need a prior auth or its got to be medical necessary. But don’t forget sometimes lets just use an example for United Health Care, if this were covered by your Insurance your co-pay would be forty dollars for those treatment. However, this is not covered in our cash rates forty-five, its only five dollars more. You just turned an Insurance client into a cash pay patient, so that’s another way to think about it. Why set off only forty-five dollars a visit when you might get a higher rate of reimbursement. That’s another way to look at it.
We talk about marketing; I’m kind of old school when it comes to marketing. We do have a Facebook account at our Office. I do have a Twitter account but we do advertise with Twitter and we do some Facebook advertising. When I am really finding that works, its just old school tactics going to the pediatrician’s offices, doctor’s offices, introducing myself, giving them a copy of my Insurance list and saying, “Hey, here are the payers that we take. If you have any patients who need Speech therapy, here they are. We take all medicate, Medicare plans, third party liabilities, we take all these payers. So if you have the need for speech, fax the referral, here’s our Fax number. We’ll get your patients taken care of. Meeting personally with pediatricians and physicians offices, getting to know your referral clerk that’s a big thing too.
Also I like going on television, I’ve been going on a morning talk show. I got invited monthly to do a morning talk show here in Tucson. That’s been very positive for me when I take that link from the TV station on their page; I send it out through Facebook and pay for advertising that way. And we just get a lot of marketing that way. Also too you can make pamphlet, you can hand those out of clinics. But I think the biggest thing as a clinic owner that we can do is treat those patients, get on work done, get those kids work done and treating with respect do wonderful treats. And those families will go back to that doctor and thank them for sending their loved ones to you and I think that’s the biggest marketing secret that I could share doing good quality work, not really focusing on the money part of it. Yes, it is important we got to pay the bills but if do a good job and you do this right, you will have the work.
I’ve talked about this in another podcast about not being flaky, scheduling people appropriately, not being late for appointments, making patients accountable for missed appointments, no shows and late arrivals; and it works on our side too. We’ve got a show up and do our part too. But if you do the right thing, take care of those patients; that will do more than Facebook, Google, Website and talking referral clerks. It will happen but it’s a slow steady process. And I think your wife is smart for keeping her job while she builds her private practice up.
It’s a lot of work and I notice in your question, you say what if this doesn’t works out. This a lot of work to get it started. It shouldn’t be too much work though to get it started. If you’re leasing a building, you’re going to have a lot of pressure there to meet your rental bill every month. I would recommend starting out may be a separate room in your home or an Office sweet where you’ve got a low rent and overtime you can grow and may be move from one office to two offices the three rooms, four rooms. I did a podcast about that recently in talks about your First Office. So if you check that podcast, that’ll give you some more information.
We have a membership section of privateslp.com, its almost done. I know people have asked me about it, “Hey, when this membership website going to be ready?” I’m being putting some content on there and I’m almost done. I go into specifics on how to bill it, collect it, document, also how to just get paid because we’re really good at that in our clinic. We’re really good about getting reimbursement from Insurance companies.
Andrew, I hope this has helped answering some of these questions that you and your wife have about starting your own private practice. To sum it all up, just do it. Don’t get in to the whole analysis, paralysis thing because I really believe a Speech pathologist, we are a certain type of personality, we are a certain type of people, we tend overthink things. We want to solve all the problems. Its almost like we have this perfectionism about us. We want to get everything done so right and perfect. Don’t fall into that trap, get moving, get started, get your first patient, get that person scheduled, take that payment, get a credit card, just start with square up. It’s an app in your phone. Its 2.75 % for swiping a credit card, yeah that’s expensive but move this up and cheaper later, get it to about five or six thousand a year from swiping or ten grand a year. Then you can go get your credit card system to a bank like Bank of America or something, but get started. Get into action, do something that’s in your future goal. Get that first patient scheduled; it doesn’t have to be perfect because when I get into that whole analysis paralysis, nothing gets done. Just like this recording, I got to hit record and talk, and go over my notes and just say it.
I hope you guys have had a good listen on this podcast. If you have any question, send me an email email@example.com.
Thank you for listening.