Prepare Your Rehab Therapy Practice for the New Year

By: Jennifer Heiligman, PT, MPT

When owning or managing an outpatient rehab therapy practice, there are some housekeeping items to consider at the beginning of each year.  With the new year quickly approaching we wanted to highlight some of those tasks to help your practice start the new year well prepared.

Reverify Eligibility and Benefits

For your current patients, it is a good idea to reverify their insurance benefits in January.  Implement a workflow that will require reverification be completed the first visit the patient has in the new year.  Eligibility, specific therapy benefits (i.e. number of visits per calendar year, number of codes per visit, etc.), authorization requirements, and any copay, coinsurance or deductible amounts should all be verified with the payer.   If you use OptimisPT as your EMR, the updated information should be entered into Optimis. The benefits should be reviewed with the patient and the acknowledgement documented in the patient’s chart.

Reset Visit Counts in Your EMR

As an adjunct to verifying eligibility and benefits for the new year, it is also important to reset the visit count in your EMR.  For those patients that are continuing therapy into the new year, resetting the visit count for the new year, when appropriate, will be one way to ensure accurate usage of the patient’s benefits.  If you are an OptimisPT user you can find instructions on how to reset the visit count on University.

Establish a Schedule for Quarterly Chart Reviews

In order to be prepared for a potential audit, it is important to complete quarterly chart reviews.  The charts should be randomly selected and peer reviewed for proper documentation and having met compliance requirements.  Reviewing Medicare charts is of utmost importance, however, a review of patient charts for other payers could be beneficial as well.

At the beginning of the year, establish who will be responsible for reviewing charts.  Will it be the clinic director, a senior therapist or both?  Create the timeline as well.  Will the review take place at the beginning of each quarter or the end?  In addition, create a document which specifically outlines each element of the chart that will be reviewed.  By doing this, it will ensure that each chart is reviewed consistently.  Areas of concern should include reviewing the documentation to be sure it supports the medical necessity of the therapy that is being rendered.  Does the documentation of the interventions that were completed justify what was billed for the visit?  Verify any compliance requirements were completed appropriately and timely based on regulations.  Our previous blog post, Are You Ready For An Audit, includes specific items to review.

If you are an OptimisPT client and you would like some assistance with completing chart reviews, we offer Compliance and Efficiency Reviews (CER).  Our documentation experts can complete the chart review for you.  If you would like additional information regarding CERs please contact Support.

Revisit Your Marketing Strategy for 2021

Decide on your specific goal(s) for the new year.  Is your goal to increase new patients by 10% over 2020?  Increase cash based revenue by 10% over 2020?  Or are you more focused on adding a specialty program, such as group classes for Parkinson’s patients or starting a wellness group?   Once you make your decision, then design your marketing strategy specific to your goals.

The beginning of the new year is a great time to reach out to your previous patients.  Continually marketing your services will help your business grow.  If you use OptimisPT you can easily send a mass email through the system.  A quick hello will keep your practice fresh in their minds should they require therapy services.  You could also offer incentives to get them back in the clinic.  One idea would be a Wellness program to help them meet their New Year’s resolutions.  

For specific socially distant marketing ideas, please visit our previous blog:  5 Socially Distant Marketing Ideas For Your Rehab Clinic.

With the new year quickly approaching, now is the time to not only focus on the health of your patients, it is also the time to consider the health of your rehab therapy practice.  By taking the time to establish processes for these housekeeping items now, it will help you have a smooth transition into the new year.

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