Simple Numbers, Big PT Practice (Here’s How) | Nitin 360

Simple Numbers, Big PT Practice (Here’s How)

To grow a practice, it’s important to be in continuous marketing mode.

Marketing is the engine that drives your practice.

In any given week, the number of initial evaluations should meet, or exceed the number of discharged patients if you want to grow your practice. Understandably, this can be a challenge, and that’s not your fault since it’s not something you are taught in physical therapy school.

This means that you’ve got to be in constant marketing mode. You can’t take your foot ‘off the gas’, and you’ve got to plan ahead with your practice. In fact, you should have a monthly marketing plan in place for your practice (something that I do for Mastermind and Referral Ignition Elite clients).

The only way to be in constant marketing mode is with the right systems (like the Referral Ignition systems) and the right people (I created a detailed training program called Hiring Rx, where you’ll discover how to identify, attract, hire and motivate staff members).

Planning your marketing will allow you to:

  • Increase income
  • Prepare to bring on additional therapists.
  • Build your expert status with patients and physicians
  • Reduce stress and eliminate the frustrations of ‘slumps’ in referrals
If you are a private practice owner and treating therapist, it’s hard to juggle marketing with patient care.

It gets really busy, I kno
w. In fact, since my wife and I are both physical therapists, we understand exactly how busy it gets.

As the clinician and the billing provider, you are constantly treating, documenting and billing. It’s easy to get lost in day-to-day stuff and lose sight of the big picture, the reason why you are in practice to begin with.

If you take a step back and look at the forest through the trees, you’ll realize something profound.

A majority of the income generated by the primary physical therapist is spent in rent, utilities and salaries.

Let me prove it with a simple numbers test. This test will tell you if your practice is growing (or declining).

To use this text, you’ll need four pieces of information, what I like to call ‘practice metrics’:

  • How many patient visits you complete each week.
  • Your average reimbursement per visit.
  • Your average expenses each week (rent, utilities, staff and miscellaneous expenses).
  • Your income goal as a practice owner.
This data is the pulse of your practice, and reveals vital clues about where you are, and where you should be going.

Based on your income goals, you can actually reverse engineer your success. With simple numbers, you can pave the way for big success.

I’ll use a couple of scenarios to explain this better.

Simple Numbers, Big PT Practice

SCENARIO ONE

A practice has one physical therapist, and all the revenue in the practice is generated by that physical therapist. This ‘primary physical therapist’ is also the owner, and has an income goal of $300,000 a year.

Let’s say the primary physical therapist:

  • Completes 60 patient visits a week
  • Gets reimbursed $80 per patient visit
  • Brings in $4800 in weekly revenue
(Assumption – the practice has marketing mechanisms in place that bring in 20-25 patients a week, with each patient scheduling an average of 3 appointments a week.)

Hopefully, you’ve noticed the fact that we have identified all four of the key practice metrics here.

In this situation, let’s say the weekly expenses (including rent, utilities and payroll of staff including the front desk salary) are $2000.

The net profit of the clinic (total income minus total expenses) is about $2800.

Keep in mind that it’s possible to dig into this and get really microscopic, but let’s remain at a very high level here for the purpose of this article.

Even though the net profit is $2800, the income goal of the practice owner, which is $6000 a week has not been met.

By the way, an income of $6000 a week is equal to $310,000 a year (52 weeks in a year multiplied by weekly income $6000 helps estimate annual income).

For this example, I’m assuming that the corporate structure is a limited liability company (LLC). With an LLC, the profit of the business becomes the income of the owner. If you have another corporate structure, it’s best to seek the advice of an accountant or certified tax professional.

This is how a one provider private practice looks like.

Now, let’s say that ONE additional provider are added to the clinic.

SCENARIO TWO

Keep in mind scenario one (net profit of $2800) continues and the practice starts to grow. This creates the need to hire an additional therapist.

If an additional therapist was brought into the clinic, and he / she also had the same productivity, then that secondary physical therapist also:

  • Completes 60 patient visits a week
  • Gets reimbursed $80 per patient visit
  • Brings in $4800 in weekly revenue
Assumption – with effective marketing, and planning, you are able to fill up the schedule of the secondary therapist. The secondary physical therapist has similar efficiency and similar revenue generation potential (treatment time, documentation time, billing methods) as the primary provider. Expenses do not increase, since systems and software (like Therapy Newsletter for marketing, In Touch Biller Pro for billing) are in place to automate and streamline several things.

If you are not sure when is the right time to bring on another physical therapist, look at this article on “When is the best time to hire an additional therapist?”

Now, let’s assume that the salary of this full time physical therapist is $40 an hour including benefits, you are looking at $1600 a week in expenses.

The rest of your expenses don’t go up. They stay the same and have already been taken into consideration in scenario one.

The net profit for the clinic from this secondary provider (total income minus new expenses which include the salary of this physical therapist) is about $3200.

The combined income from the primary ($2800) and the secondary ($3200) is now $6000 a week. This is $310,000 a year in net revenue for the practice.

In this scenario, a one-man private practice owner can achieve financial independence by adding just one more provider to the practice. There is a simple, but powerful lesson here.

The Powerful, Life Changing Lesson

As you add more providers, a significant portion of their income drops straight to the bottom line of the practice. With the first provider on the other hand, a large portion of the income is used to cover costs like rent, utilities, payroll and miscellaneous costs).

The only way you can identify where you are, is by identifying your own ‘practice metrics’. Here they are again:

  • How many patient visits you complete each week.
  • Your average reimbursement per visit.
  • Your average expenses each week (rent, utilities, staff and miscellaneous expenses).
  • Your income goal as a practice owner.
Like I mentioned earlier, this data is like the pulse of your practice, and reveals vital clues about where you are, and where you should be going. Your practice metrics are as important to your practice as is blood pressure, pulse rate and cholesterol levels to an individual with a history of heart disease.

Don’t ignore it. It could be the difference between a practice that’s struggling and one that’s ready to serve patients and continue to grow and become highly profitable.

Building a practice is indeed a numbers game, when you look at the forest through the trees.

3 Comments

  • Eric Heyland says:

    I've never looked at my practice that way before. I always leave it to my business manager but now that you have simplified things, I will look at those numbers myself and see where I am exactly right now. I have not done so in the past because I am not very good with numbers especially when it comes to analyzing them. The way you presented them is so simple that even a knucklehead like me can get it. Thanks.

  • Greg Wright says:

    Yes, you are right. These things are not taught in physical therapy school. I was lucky that I have a mentor who told me to take up management courses before I start with my private practice. Those courses did really help me a lot and gave me a deeper insight on all aspects of the business but they did not make things easier though. Your post is a simple yet powerful tool that I can use and I do not have to pay for it! Thanks.

  • Tammi says:

    I posted a link to this article on Linked In, APTA group, as a comment under "Salary Frustration."

    One thing I took away is the impact of expanding a practice to a second location before the first location is profitable. It increases expenses that eat up the profit.

    I'm not sure how often expanding locations is used as a growth strategy, but this is an easy way to determine it's impact on the bottom line, especially if the practice owner(s) are splitting their total treatment time over 2 facilities.

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