The fact is undeniable: we are in a crisis right now. And while it’s true that this situation is unique, similar events have happened throughout history.

And we can learn a lot if we take a step back, look at what has happened historically and understand the bigger picture. 

From there, it’s important to adjust our thoughts and behaviors accordingly so we not only survive this, but we can bounce out the other end and rebuild more quickly and help more people.

Cycle of Market Emotions

For a short-term view of this crisis, you can use the Cycle of Market Emotions.

Right now, we are spiraling down. But there comes a point where we reach the bottom and this is also when you reach the point of maximum financial opportunity. 

And this is reinforced when we combine this with a long-term view of this crisis in the context of history. You can see from the last 100+ years of the S&P 500 that peaks never last forever and valleys never continue on forever.

In other words, this too shall pass.

And if you want to see how to best position your clinic to survive this crisis and come back stronger than before, make sure to watch the video above. 

COVID-19 is on a lot of owners’ minds these days, and for good reason: it’s a threat to the health and well-being of our loved ones and the businesses we’ve worked hard to build over the years.

Many practice owners are struggling in different ways during the pandemic: cancellations might be at an all-time high. You may have had to lay off personnel to cut costs. The venues you relied on for your marketing workshops may have temporarily closed, which will impact your new patient flow.

At Breakthrough, we talk a lot about the three pillars of a successful private practice: personnel, finance, and marketing. These three pillars haven’t disappeared during this crisis, but the way in which you approach them has certainly changed. Let’s look at what you can do with each of these pillars during the COVID-19 crisis to help your practice survive the storm with as little damage to your bottom line as possible.

Fixing Finances

The majority of PTs are having dramatic reductions in visits, which means we’re also seeing a drop in how much we’re billing out. Most PTs we’ve spoken with have seen a loss of about 75% of their business, while others are completely closed. 

Under normal circumstances, billing is about managing accounts receivables, posting accurate balances to patient accounts, and submitting claims. Right now, claims submissions and posting balances are down because patient visits are down. If you’re looking for a silver lining, you now have more time to focus on your accounts receivables and invest enough time to devote to converting AR to cash. 

Bob Kowalick shared with us a breakout he uses to determine where his monthly revenue is coming from in terms of the age of the claim. Through his research, he found that about 50% of revenue comes from claims made within 0-30 days of treatment; about 34% comes from a month ago; about 10% comes from 2-3 months ago; and the rest comes from 120+ days ago. He notes that once you hit 60+ days, the majority of that revenue isn’t attainable unless you have someone actively trying to do something about it—that’s at least 25% of your revenue that would be lost without someone working those claims for you.

Instead of laying off your entire billing staff, you can reallocate those hours to focus on accounts receivables and satisfy unpaid claims.

Managing Personnel

PT practice owners are facing numerous options when it comes to their employees. Some practice owners are entertaining layoffs. Others may opt for furlough, which allows employees to remain employed and receive benefits, but with a reduction in earnings.

But at the end of the day, we’re talking about making decisions that make the most sense for your business. Usually the biggest expense in a practice is payroll, and even though practices can’t survive without people, there are fewer patients to treat, less work to go around, and declining revenue—none of which can justify maintaining a full staff.

The natural, responsible action from any business owner is to preserve cash when times are tight. The stimulus bill issued by the government is designed to help fill the gap between the cost of your staff and the loss of revenue. Ideally, the funds you receive from the bill will help you avoid making any major personnel changes that will negatively impact your people (and later, your practice). The goal is to stay connected to your employees in a way that keeps them paid and retained. 

The biggest moving part to consider is how much of these funds you’re eligible to receive, what you can do with them, and how much of the loan can be forgiven. 

Fueling Your Marketing

In loose terms, marketing refers to how you position your services. You rely on marketing to get patients through the door, but we’re in a time where new patient flow is proving difficult for many practices due to shelter in place orders and general fear.

Right now, there’s a lot of interest among PT owners in telehealth, and at a time where people are wary of going out in public, it seems like a much-needed answer. 

However, I will say that not many PTs have had much success in turning telehealth into a revenue-generating service. Reimbursements are much lower for telehealth, which is why I tried to use it as a cash-pay service several years ago. (At the time, legal and compliance were very grey, so we shut it down.)

But for practices that want to offer telehealth as an option for patients (especially if you’re completely shut down), it’s important to look not only at the service itself but also how to implement it and what to expect as far as revenue goes.

One option would be to offer an e-visit to connect with existing patients virtually to discuss their health. You’re already treating them, so this is just like another communication with your patient. E-visits can be billed over a 7-day period of time using different codes that are related to the duration of the visit. However, reimbursements are substantially lower—starting at about $13 for a 10-minute visit. I wouldn’t go into any great expense if you plan on offering this as a service to existing patients. 

Telehealth is essentially doing an in-clinic visit outside of the clinic (e.g., exercises). Reimbursements are all over the place, so it’s essential complete verification for any kind of virtual services. You can have new patients become telehealth patients, provided you get prior approval. 

From a marketing perspective, it’s important for practice owners not to look at e-health or telehealth as income replacement options but rather as tools to keep in touch with existing patients. Once we’re on the rebuilding end of COVID-19, we’ll still have these relationships that will reactivate and continue to come to us for their PT.

The situation with COVID-19 is changing every day. To help owners get ongoing support and resources, we’ve created a free Facebook Community.

Click here to join the Facebook community – Private PT Practices: Standing Up Through Crisis today.

Mitigating the Impact of COVID 19 as a PT

COVID-19 is affecting businesses of all industries and sizes, and private practice is certainly not exempt.

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented event with no clarity on the best path forward. There are a lot of unknowns, particularly concerning the long-term impact of the coronavirus and how owners can start planning now to mitigate any negative effects on their business.

Private practice owner Mike Lewis (whose PT practice is located in Seattle where the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the US) joined us recently to share some insights for other owners regarding how we can deal with COVID-19’s impact on business. Here are the answers to the most pressing questions we tackled.

How can I best plan for ensuring my business can survive the financial impact?

Plan for ensuring my PT business can survive

First and foremost, practice owners should plan on keeping their marketing alive. Many owners make the mistake of pulling back on marketing when money is tight because it’s a cost they can control (unlike overhead, for example). But the fact remains that you still need new patients coming in, you still need to hold onto current patients, and people still need PT. Pain doesn’t take a holiday when a crisis emerges, and you need to be there during times of need.

The situation isn’t going away in two weeks, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it will last. Regardless, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. Take care of yourself and your family. Get enough sleep, go outside for a walk, eat well, and stay vigilant of any changes every day. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s best to prepare mentally and financially for the long term.

You also need to think about how you’re going to take care of your practice. This might mean cutting expenses at some point. Dialing back payroll and operating hours, reducing staff, and cutting any unnecessary spending can help you make up for any potential loss of revenue if your phones aren’t ringing as often or patients are missing appointments.

I recommend using our Gray-to-Black planning methodology. I go into more detail at our Facebook PT group, but this plan focuses on less-than-ideal scenarios: what would happen if you had a 50% reduction in income over the next 60-90 days?

Mike recommends talking with vendors or creditors to see if you can get some leeway on payments or pursuing lines of credit to keep business going. Also, make sure you’re reaching out to current patients to see how they’re doing to encourage them to continue with their plan of care. Now is a critical time to engage with them and show them you’re invested in their progress and are here for them.

What are the best practices for continuing to treat patients safely?

We don’t want to put patients or staff in a compromised position, so it’s important to respect boundaries. It’s not our job to convince or coerce staff or patients to come in, so be respectful if they decide not to come into the practice.

Follow reliable guidelines from the WHO, CDC, and local authorities to ensure you’re taking all the right precautions – we have put together a COVID Physical Therapy Guide to help PT Therapists and practice owners here. Look at how your clinic is set up to make sure clients can safely distance themselves from other patients. Consider steps like installing a hand-washing station, putting out hand sanitizers, and propping open the front door so people don’t have to touch it to open it. Limit visitors that accompany patients.

Anything you can do in accordance with expert recommendations will help create a safer environment and instill confidence in your patients and staff.

How would you go about implementing telehealth as an option?

TeleHealth for Physical Therapy

Telehealth in PT (and the medical industry at large) is an extremely hot topic at the moment. Telehealth isn’t a new concept, but it’s also not widely implemented just yet. During COVID-19, many PT practice owners have expressed interest in offering telehealth as an option to keep patients safe and continue to provide care to their patients.

Here’s the reality: several years ago, we actually offered telehealth as a cash-pay option. We ended up shutting the program down because, at the time, the rules and laws around telehealth were very grey. The laws are better defined now, but there are still misconceptions surrounding the service.

One question that’s come up many times recently is whether you can use telehealth to replace income loss. What I recommend is looking at the codes that CMS just put out. You might be surprised to learn that the reimbursement rate is considerably low—anywhere from $15 to $37 per visit. If you’re getting $90 per visit in the clinic, you’re not likely to replace that loss with telehealth.

Another thing to consider is that patients may not be able to adapt as quickly as you. This is a drastic change, and you may not be able to get your older patients to hop on a Zoom call. 

The way you might consider using telemedicine is with no expectation of reimbursement from the insurance company. You can use it for a check-in or follow-up with a patient (which is what we do at Madden PT) or if someone wants to hop on a call because they took themselves out of care.

Ideally, only take advice from PTs who had done telehealth before the COVID-19 crisis. There’s too much misinformation out there right now to dive in head-first with the wrong expectations.

How do you work through the decision as an owner to close or remain open?

There are two sides to this: first, you want to realistically look at your practice to see if you’re set up to provide a safe environment for your patients and staff. And second, you should follow the directives of your state authorities. Every state is a little different at this point, so make sure you’re tracking updates as they become available.

Even if the decision is made for you, and you’re forced to close temporarily, doing so isn’t easy. You worry about the well-being of your patients and employees and have no time frame to give them as to when you will reopen. But remember that it’s essential for you to keep their safety (and your own) as a top priority.

We’re all finding our way through these strange times. For more support, join our free Facebook community—Private PT Practices: Standing Up Through Crisis.

COVID-19 PT Facebook Group
What Private Practice PT Owners Should Focus on in Times of Crisis

It’s not an easy time to be a small business owner. COVID-19 is temporarily changing the way many industries do business, and private practice Physical Therapy owners are feeling its effects, too.

Depending on where you live, you may find many non-essential businesses around you shutting down. Your phone may be ringing less, and you’re likely experience more missed appointments and cancellations.

No one asked for a pandemic, but now that it’s here, practice owners must do everything they can to weather the storm as safely as possible. 

To Close or Not to Close During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

One thing many practice PT owners are wrestling with is the decision as to whether or not to close for safety reasons. It’s a valid argument—businesses around you are doing the same, and your staff may fear potential exposure.

We were in the midst of making this decision for Madden PT and consulted the CDC and local legislative websites to see what information they were sharing. These resources said that any healthcare facility or provider, specifically physical therapy, has a social obligation to maintain normal business hours. That made the decision a lot easier for us.

Your main focus, then, should be on the relationships you’ve been building for your entire career and the level of care you provide. Specifically, these are the relationships with your patients, your staff, and your community. As a practice owner, you need to be in the mindset of putting yourself in the best position to maintain those relationships. Here’s how.

Control the Controllable

You can’t control whether people show up for appointments, how they’re reacting to the pandemic, or how long the pandemic lasts. But during times of crisis, it’s important to focus on what you can control—and give those things all of your energy.

What you’ve always been able to control is the experience in your PT clinic. You can control how your staff interact with patients, the impression people get when they walk through your doors, and the level of care they receive. Those things are now more essential than they were before because there’s so much outside of your control that could influence your business.

Don’t worry about what other businesses are doing and what’s going to happen in the world tomorrow. Those things are not things you can control, so they shouldn’t claim your energy. 

Focus on the Value You Provide

We’re providing an essential service to our patients, even though it doesn’t relate to COVID-19. Our mission as PT providers will never change, even in the face of a crisis. Though fewer people may want to leave their homes during this time, they still need us now just as much as they always have.

At Madden PT, we’re checking in on patients via telehealth, email, texts, and phone calls to continue the relationships and make extra touch points. We’ll also use Facebook Messenger if that’s how a patient prefers to communicate. We’re not just talking physical therapy in these interactions but checking on their well-being and whether they need anything. We’ve also seen some practices that send people out with deliveries if their patients need anything (typically older patients), truly going above and beyond the call of duty.

Another thing you could do is to create a home exercise video or one with tips on how to safely work at home (e.g., good posture). Think about where you can provide value to your patients during their times of need—it might not give you an immediate ROI, but it will pay dividends in the long run.

Connect with Your Team on a Personal Level

Staying open during slower times comes at a price that practice owners need to anticipate. For some practices, this could mean temporarily downsizing to make up for lost revenue. You may have staff that choose to remove themselves from the practice to lower their risk of exposure, but in some cases, you may have to make the decision to cut hours or reduce payroll.

Before this becomes the case, go ahead and do some research and put together resources that can help your staff. This way, you’ll be able to assist them in the event that you have to reduce hours or make other changes that will impact your employees.

Connecting with your PT team on a personal level is your clearest path to encouraging them to step up as leaders in the practice. Have one-on-one conversations with every member of your staff and meet them where they’re at. Be realistic with them about the present outlook of the practice and how it may affect them in the coming days and weeks.

On a similar note, now is a good time to do a thorough self and staff evaluation to make sure you have the right pieces of the puzzle in the right place. Sniff out how your team members are feeling about the current climate. Are they nervous? Are they taking it in stride? Most importantly, can they continue to serve your patients with confidence?

You need your best employees on your front line. Maybe this means that you’re putting one of your physical therapists at the front desk answering phones and greeting patients if they’re better equipped to interface with patients and handle their questions and concerns than your front desk person. Whatever path you need to take, be honest and open with your team. They’re likely to reciprocate, which will help you work together toward common goals.

Plan for the Rebound

What Private Practice Physical Therapy Owners Should Focus on in Times of Crisis

Remember that our current conditions aren’t going to last forever. When we come out on the other side of the pandemic, our patients will still be here to support us, and we must be prepared to return the favor. This means having enough staff in place to continue serving patients, as well as continuing with marketing just like before to bring in new patients.

Pain doesn’t go away in the face of a crisis. Now could be an excellent opportunity to ramp up marketing efforts while more people are at home in front of devices. They might not want to reach for help during this time, but when it’s over, you could find yourself facing a much greater demand and should be prepared to serve new patients as quickly and efficiently as possible.

For more insights and resources to navigate these strange times, join our free Facebook community—Private PT Practices: Standing Up Through Crisis.

Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic Through Crisis

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind with new information and an ever-changing landscape for everyone including our admins, Physical Therapists, Staff and PT practice owners. 

A lot of hard decisions are being weighed and getting the right and most up-to-date information about our PT community is key. To help you and the community, we have created a free Facebook Community to speak with other PT practice owners.

Please join by visiting: www.CovidPTGroup.com

COVID PT Group

There are a number of free PT resources in the group and we will be hosting free web-casts with other industry experts going over topics such as telehealth billing and employment. 

Together we can manage and get through this crisis – we have to… because people in pain need our help.

Below is a guide that we put together with 4 Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic Through Crisis. 

These same strategies helped us through the last recession and continue to help our practice today. 

Again, we understand that there are extremely hard decisions to make in these uncertain times… please reach out if you’re not sure what to do or if you have any questions.

Download the Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic Through Crisis PDF   

Overview:

There’s an informative summary about COVID-19 as it relates to Physical Therapy…

We touch on how to provide care for patients while minimizing exposure and ensuring peace of mind…

And then finally, the top strategies and pitfalls many owners are overlooking.

Best Practices for Navigating Your PT Clinic Through A Crisis

How can I best plan for ensuring my business can survive the financial impact?


1. Continue Marketing.

a. Provide value to current patients by checking in on their well being. Keep in touch via emails, texts or phone calls. Make lists of who you’ll need to get re-engaged and when.

2. Reserve Cash.

a. Take a look at your books and trim expenses where you can. Talk with your vendors and try to negotiate better terms.

3. Think Through the Hard Questions.

a. What does a reduction in income look like for 60 or 90 days?What are the repercussions of that? How are you making it to the end of this crisis?

4. Communicate With Your Staff.

a. Maintain trust by being honest with your staff during this crisis. Let your staff know that you are available to talk with them about any issues weighing on them.


What are the business best practices for continuing to safely treat patients in the clinic right now?


1. Respect Boundaries.

a. If someone isn’t comfortable coming in, don’t push them. Support their decision. This applies to patients and staff members.

2. Follow Guidelines.

a. Take a look at your local guidelines. Reference the CDC guidelines. Print and post guidelines and steps you are taking so patients can read as well.

3. Clinic Set-Up.

a. Keep doors propped open to avoid touching handles, hand washing stations, sanitizer on the walls, sanitize all equipment, remove lobby chairs to space people out, offer masks during manual therapy, etc.

b. Rearrange your clinic to follow 6 foot social distancing guidelines and ensuring all equipment is washed and put away by staff only is essential. Be intentional about having staff cleaning in front of patients so they feel more comfortable.


How best to assess and approach implementing Telehealth as an option?


1. Understand Reimbursement Rates.

a. There is a misconception that practice can use telehealth to replace lost income. Make sure you understand the reimbursement rate for telehealth in your area before making the switch.

2. Keep Patients In Mind.

a. It is unlikely that all your patients will have the technological know-how to fully utilize telehealth. Plan with this in mind.

3. Find an Expert with Experience.

a. If telehealth is a must for you, only take advice from therapists who have done telehealth before this crisis. This is a very hot topic within our industry so watch for misinformation.

4. Madden PT Case Study

a. Madden Pt is using telehealth with no expectation of reimbursement. We are not billing insurance companies and are using this as an avenue to check in with patients and engage with them. Maintaining relationships with patients is where we are currently seeing the most value in telehealth.


How to work through the decision as an owner to temporarily close doors or not?


1. Safety First.

a. Ask yourself, “Are you, your staff and facility physically able to provide a safe environment for patients? Is it reasonable to do so?”

2. Follow Local Laws.

a. Many states consider physical therapy an essential business that is allowed to stay open, but this may change at any time. Reference credible sources before making any decisions and follow the advice of your area’s Department of Health.

3. Balancing Production vs Relationships.

a. Focus on maintaining relationships with your staff, patients and the community. 

b. Sometimes great leadership means delegating to internal staff who may have more experience in management/leadership/etc. if you feel overwhelmed or too stressed.

And then shifting gears….

Focus Points and Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Control the Controllables.

    – Focus on things that are within your control.

    – What can you control? Patient experience in the clinic and your staff’s interactions with them.

  2. Focus on the Value You Can Provide to Patients.

    – Emails, text messages, phone calls. Have a conversation with patients and see what they need help with.

    – Many people are working from home. You can provide material, videos, messages that are helpful to the community during these times, like exercises or correct posture. Consider sharing on clinic and personal social media pages.

  3. Focus on Your Team at a Personal Level.

    – Have conversations on the right things to do for each individual. This may be time off or extra precautionary measures. Meet them where they’re at.

    – Research resources to be able to guide them through potential changes in their employment. Have a plan to help them get through this.

    – Create an open door policy so staff feels comfortable coming to leaders about issues they’re facing. Never have an “I told you so” approach.

  4. How to Plan for “The Rebound”

    – Maintain relationships with patients. This will be the foundation after the crisis.

    – Support the local community. You can ask your patients if they have or know anyone who has a small business you can support.

    – Social distancing can create a lack of movement. There’s a decrease in mobile activity. People’s problems aren’t going away so realize there’ll be a big demand after the crisis. Be ready to serve as quickly as possible.

And there you have it.

We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and strong group of PT owners in our community, like you, to keep moving our industry forward. 

Good times or bad.

We hope this information helps.

Here for you,

Chad Madden & The Breakthrough Team

  Download the Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic Through Crisis PDF

 
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6-Step Framework For Communicating About COVID-19 With Your Staff

I know you have a million questions running through your head as a leader and PT practice owner with the weight of your clinic and staff on your shoulders (I am right there with you myself!)

…You’re trying to figure out how to handle communication with your team around the COVID-19 pandemic and what we need to do as Physical Therapists & PT Private Practice Owners during this time…

And here’s what I’ll say:

Our community needs us and we are essential to helping people in pain get back to normal naturally.

There are some immediate steps we can take as PTs and they are the same steps I took for my own staff communication at our practice in Harrisburg, PA – Madden PT.

*This information is accurate as of 1:30pm EST on 3/19/2020*

For more COVID Physical Therapy Practice Owner Resources and Guidelines and the most up-to-date info, please join our Facebook group: https://covidptgroup.com/ 

Here is the 6-Step framework for communication with your staff… at a minimum, these points should be covered:

  1. Acknowledge that we’re in a state of emergency.

    This is real. This is happening. Try to avoid “we’ll be OK” and other false assurances.

  2. Be transparent with your staff

    about the possibility of having to cut hours/pay or even close your practice temporarily. These conversations are difficult but necessary as it allows your team to prepare. 

  3. As a necessary service provider, we will remain open until we are ordered to close.

    However, if a team member is feeling stressed/worried/in a position they feel they can not serve – you should have an open door policy where they can discuss their concerns and take appropriate action.

  4. As a company, we’ve been through trials like this before.

    This time we are significantly more prepared and in a better position. We will do our best to hold the line as long as possible.

  5. Right now, focus on value you can be providing to our patients

    weekly phone call/email/text check-ins if they can not attend PT. Filming videos for people stuck at home. 

  6. The key for us is to weather the storm – cope – and be ready to ramp up as quickly as possible once this is passed.

    This event is finite: there is a beginning and end.

Follow those 6 steps to help you navigate this challenging conversation. 

The key on the personnel communication side is to be real with your staff, be transparent.

DO NOT make the same mistake I made in the past… DON’T have a lack of transparency and say “hey, everything is fine.”

That is not helping anyone.

Meet them where they are at. Share that it’s a dangerous time and that we are all trying to work through it.

Start that communication now.

We are all human and in this together. 

  Download the 6-Step Framework For Communicating About COVID-19 With Your Staff – PDF

Open up the conversation and dialog and join our PT Only Facebook group:

 
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Breakthrough Interview with PT Mike Lewis at COVID 19 Epicenter

Mike is a Practice Owner and is currently earning his PhD in Healthcare Leadership.

Mike’s Physical Therapy clinic is 3.5 miles from the Seattle nursing home where the first US cases of COVID-19 popped up.

See what his PT practice is doing to help the community, continue to treat those in need and combat the spread of the virus in this interview.

Highlights from the Call:
– How WAPT Rehab is handling workshops.
– What his team is doing right now with the patients who do drop off.
– How to “Control the Controllable” in your practice
– What your team needs from you the most right now. And what to do if you can’t deliver.
– Why he did not send out an email (as of yet) on the virus – but what he did do on his website.

Video Transcript

[expand title=”Full Transcript”]
Mike (00:00):
And I can give, I mean do you want a little bit of background cause it’s so literally from Kirkland, Washington. So I did hit record so, okay good. Yeah. So Kurt in Washington, you know everyone has met me at you know bootcamps sorta. My joke is always like when you go to Costco and you buy your Kirkland signature toilet paper that they could me cause that’s like right down the street now it’s going to be like Hey remember we’re the coronavirus girls in Washington. That’s me. I’m that guy. So the nursing home where all this kind of really got started, it’s two miles from my house. It’s literally down down the street from where I live. Our clinic is about three and a half miles from the nursing home where all this is going on. Everybody in the hospital that has recorded the first and the majority of the deaths associated with this is less than five miles from my clinic and about three and a half miles from my house. So we really are here in Kirkland. I mean we are ground zero. We have any 569 cases of about the 2,600 total in the U S have been here in Washington. The bulk of them, majority of them are right here in King County where I live. So we are literally right in the middle of the thick of it right now. So Vertel so run information, that’s where I am, that’s where I’m coming from.

Chad (01:01):
Your doors are still open,

Mike (01:02):
doors are still open

Chad (01:03):
and what we talked about is a, you’re probably two weeks ahead of many of us that are going to be watching this video the rest of the country. So you’ve kept your doors open and you’ve made a [inaudible]. Mike, just if you can go again circle around again at both you and your wife are in healthcare and where you’re at mentally as you’re navigating this. That would be great.

Mike (01:22):
You know, and as we talked briefly to before this chat, I think it’s important to understand everyone is going to come at this from their own unique perspective and their own place and you cannot assume that your situation is going to be similar to someone else. My wife and I are both physical therapist. She works at Seattle children’s hospital, like the largest regional, you know, hospital in the area. And so they have all of their policies and procedure in place. Their staff is trained or well versed on what’s going on. I work in healthcare and run my own business. I’ve made keeping up on this. So we’re fortunate in that both of us work in healthcare. We’re both very calm, both very rational. We can convey that to our kids as well. I’ve got two daughters, 14 and 16 I’m fortunate. They’re both, you know, middle school, high school.

Mike (02:01):
They’re old enough they can stay home and distance, learn on their own. They’re smart enough, they’re savvy enough and they can do that. That’s not the case for a lot of people. So I am very fortunate. My personal situation, what I have going on in my home life, we’re able to come maintain a sense of calm, a sense of cool. My wife and I could help, you know, when my kids are seeing things on social media, their friends are posting things. We can help them disseminate fact from fiction. You know very effectively too. So I understand. I am very fortunate that way. And then my wife also works in healthcare and we’re on the same page with all of this stuff.

Chad (02:28):
Great. So your doors are open,

Mike (02:30):
doors are open. And I know you just had a workshop literally propped open. We don’t close the front door anymore. The door enough.

Chad (02:37):
Um, can you give us like w what the, where you’re at mentally, uh, what your team’s doing there, what the workshop like exactly what happened today. That’d be great.

Mike (02:45):
So we just had a new workshop today and we had, there were total, we had over 50 people registered, which is fairly normal for a new workshop. We had an abnormal number move to the next workshop. If they were nervous at all, we immediately offer just to move into the next workshop, even before we offered a free screener. And I will let you know, let’s just stay in contact with these people. The next need workshop is six weeks out. And people were very comfortable with that as well. When I called did all my workshop phone calls in advance, the message that I told people was I was expecting somewhere between five to 10 people to show up. Clinic is clean, clinic is sterilized. We got enough courage to take a shower and if you want to while you’re here and we have everyone have their own space, we have everything spaced out, you’re going to be totally safe when you’re dumping here.

Mike (03:25):
So I said there’s no need to worry about that. We are prepared to have people in the clinic. So I started leaving that message with people on that if I got their voicemail as well. So we had a total of seven people show up, all seven on scheduled screens. We got one, uh, I E in advance, one free screen or advanced that turned into an IEP as well. So again, the numbers are down for what we would normally expect. But the important thing is we’re still doing it. We didn’t, we didn’t call it off. You know, the marketing has to keep going.

Chad (03:51):
Yup. And the, what I’ve internally led with in our team, and I, I you said this before is um, the peop knee pain doesn’t stop back. Pain doesn’t stop. Rotator cuff pain doesn’t stop because of the epidemic because of uh, COBIT 19 absolutely not. So the virus doesn’t change that and people need us now more than ever. And I know you talked about, um, your philosophy that you have with your team in terms of taking care of the people that are coming in. Can you share that with everybody? Cause I think that’s an important part.

Mike (04:23):
Yeah. So the term that we use in our family, we tell our kids all the time, just control the controllables. Focus on what you can control, stay focused on that. And don’t worry about anything else right now. So what we can control in the clinic right now is keeping the patients that we have, keep them safe, keep them coming in, you know, and project a sense of calm and confidence and clean everything all the time in front of them. Let them see you. Perilla your hands. Let them see you cleaning every single piece of equipment. You know the term is laptop down, eyes up, spend more time in conversation with your patients. They want to talk about this. You work in healthcare. They’re going to view you as someone who has additional resources and information, which hopefully most of us do. Spend more time talking with your patients, hear their stories, you know, sympathize with them and that people are really comfortable coming in because they see the extra steps that we’re making, you know, to kind of care for them, but also make sure that they’re staying safe when they’re here.

Mike (05:17):
They laugh, Tammy, I kid you not. A patient gets up from the lobby to come back. She goes and sterilizes the Sheraton sat in and so their family member, the next patient’s laughing because Tammy was over there scrubbing a chair. But the point is did they see us cleaning everything all the time. Appearance matters. Keep the patients you have coming in because that’s something that you can control. You cannot control how people, how people are going to react and perceive this. If they want to stay at home and close their doors, they’re not going to come seek physical therapy. I can’t control that decision. What I can control, keep the patients that are coming in right now, keep them safe, keep them happy, you know, and just make sure that they’re confident coming to see you.

Chad (05:52):
Yeah. I love that Mike. Um, I, I don’t say control the controllables. We just say control, which you can, but it’s the same exact thing. Yep. And, uh, I know for us, um, we, uh, I’m going to try to say this in a delicate way. We had some team members definitely, um, getting very caught up in the hysteria. Um, and then when we looked at all the rosters, all the census of, of all five clinics, um, we had two patients cancel out entirely. But the workshops continue to roll on. Um, we’ve kind of been fortunate, um, like I think most viewers will be today. Um, and I don’t want to jinx this for two weeks from the day because it could change. Um, I know we have people on quarantine in our area, um, but there have been no or minimal cases right now. Um, and I don’t know if it’ll stay that way, but we can’t really change. I can’t control that. You can’t control that. Yeah. And, and it’ll, it’ll drive us crazy if we have 55 team members focused on trying to control that.

Mike (06:52):
Yeah. Andy, you make a great point about staff. I think it’s super important that as a clinic owner right now, you have to evaluate your staff. I am fortunate, all of my staff, we’re all on the same page. Everyone is calm and collected. If you have someone answering your phones that is worried about this, you need to reassign them somewhere else. Great. And if you have a multiple therapists or clinic, you have the ability. If you have a therapist that’s very calm and rational, you might want to put them at the front desk, let them answer the phones, let them answer the, you know, the phone calls and the questions as well. You people, your staff member that’s calm and collected, needs to be the face of your organization right now. What people, even if they’re calling, calling into cancel an appointment, the your front desk staff has to be dialed in with your philosophy and how to have those conversations and I went over my staff exactly.

Mike (07:38):
This is what we’re going to tell people when they call. We’re going to tell them this. We don’t make any excessive promises that we can’t keep but we need to have a sense of calm and we are open. We’re here for you. We’re doing everything we can to keep you guys safe. As a clinic owner, this might be a chance to reevaluate your self and your personal life if it’s going to be challenging for you to run your clinic right now because of your home situation. Again, I’m fortunate I can spend more time at work because of what I have going on at home. Maybe as a clinic owner you need to make decision. I’m going to assign another staff member to basically run the business and you know, at this point in time, because I’m not comfortable doing it, maybe I’m someone who’s worrying about it or maybe I need to go home and care for my family instead. And you convey them. I said, you know what, we have a team member that has been assigned kind of our crisis coordinator. It’s Chad, he’s all set and ready to go is going to be in charge, you know, for the next, you know, four, six weeks or whatever too. Nothing wrong with that.

Chad (08:31):
Love that. Mike. Uh, one more question, um, here and I know you just had the workshop and I want to let you get back to your family. Um, and my daughter’s here, uh, giving me an elephant. That’s great. Um, the, I, I know you’re, um, taking your, you’re earning a degree right now. Um, and it’s in healthcare administration,

Mike (08:54):
I suppose. My in health sciences

Chad (08:56):
and my very concentration is leadership and administration and healthcare. Okay. So what are you hearing in the classroom around this? Because I’m sure there’s you’re, you’re getting access to fresh knowledge that most of us, yeah.

Mike (09:07):
Well the irony is when the first cases in Kirkland actually happened, I was actually in Utah at an onsite for our PhD program. My wife was in it with me as well too. And so our joke was like, we show up to class next day, we’re going to have a special table for us to have you sit quarantine in the classroom for it. Uh, so yeah, I D I am getting some interesting information. The one thing that I’m going to tell you, and I’m going to tell everyone out there too, that you have to impress upon your patients is do not trust information from social media. Do not trust reposts of articles on social media. Go to the source. And so on our webpage, I direct our patients there. They’d go to our webpage on our homepage, there’s a popup comes up immediately. There’s little information on there, a little blurb from me about what we’re doing to keep you safe. And I have links to the CDC, the Washington state department of health, King County, department of health, the city of Kirkland’s web page, all about their response to what’s going on. You need to tell patients to seek appropriate information. So like in my PhD program, one of the big points that they make if you’re going to go into education is there’s nothing you’re ever going to teach anyone that they can’t find on their own. It exists on the internet. Your job is to direct them to the true and correct information, not the false information.

Chad (10:19):
So that’s the big huge message. Awesome point. Did not know we were going to go here. Um, but that is great. The, have you done anything to promote to your patient list via email or direct mail? Anything around the Corona virus? No.

Mike (10:38):
And we made the conscious decision not to do that. We did it on our webpage. We direct people there too cause it’s short and sweet and it helps with SEO traffic of us and people that my web page, Chad.

Chad (10:48):
Yeah.

Mike (10:49):
Um, well we, we debated it, but we, I opted to continue our normal marketing business as usual because email and stuff are things that we’ve used for marketing in the past. That’s what are my patients expect. And so we’ve just been sending everything out that way. So we actually, I kind of made the conscious decision to not do an extra step yet. I reserve my right to change my mind. But again, the marketing machine that’s emailed direct mail, so I’m not changing that. That’s going, I’m not going to take up time and space away from marketing to replace it with something else.

Chad (11:19):
Um, I, I agree with you 100%. I know it’s a very unpopular decision and I did not want to come across as I’m indifferent, but there, there’s too much information as it is. Yeah. And or too much exposure right now, and I love what you said, point people to CDC, world war world health organization, local authorities that are covering this and get the information from the source rather than me reiterating, you know, we’re going to hand sanitize everything and wash our hands. We’ve been doing that forever.

Mike (11:54):
I know how to wash their hands. It’s new information. No one knew how to wash their hands.

Chad (11:59):
Yes. Um, and, and I, um, I, I’m very aware that, um, again that that might be unpopular, but I, I agree with you wholeheartedly that again, our specialty is in helping people with knee pain, back pain, rotator.

Mike (12:16):
Again, focus on what you’re good at at this point in time. And I do want to throw one more little nugget I want to throw out there for you guys as well. Every single day for the last week, um, at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, my front desk and I go through who canceled that day and we’re keeping a list of why did they cancel, you know, or is it we have had three patients who for various reasons, either they’re nervous, where we had a couple frankly that were on pulmonary rehab should not be going out to anyway. So we recommended that they not go out and stay home. We’re giving a list of patients to call back in four, six, eight weeks when this calms down, who dropped off for good reasons. We have a list of those people to call back. Other people that called back it’s allergy season and starting here in Seattle, people are getting, you know, a sniffly nose or eyes running a little tickle in their throat, not knowing what it is.

Mike (13:01):
It’s probably allergies, so our recommendation is, Hey, you know what? Stay home. You don’t have a fever. You call us back. We’re keeping a list of all of those people as well, so if we don’t hear back from that, we’re going to reach out to them as well. Anytime someone calls and cancels, if they’re nervous, we have two private treatment rooms available as the schedule. If it lightens up, I’m actually, I’ve agreed to work extra hours to get people in one-on-one after hours if we need to as well. For me, I can handle that from home. I live less than five minutes from the clinic. If I want to come in at eight o’clock at night to squeeze another patient in to generate some revenue to keep the train running, I’ll do that. I’ll come in on a Saturday morning and treat, you know, several patients if I need to as well. You have a staff member that’s willing to do that. You can flex hours again, even if they don’t take you up on the offer, you are clearly making an effort that you care about them and that you’re going to go the extra mile for your patients as well. So these are little things that, again, every clinic has to do, but we keep a list of every single person that cancels. Why did they cancel? And what’s our followup plan for that?

Chad (13:58):
Like I, I greatly admire what you’re doing. Really appreciate you as a human being, an individual. I know, I know this is a tough time right now for you to top one here with us. Share your knowledge and wisdom. I greatly appreciate it. I’m very indebted to you. Next bottle of scotch is on me.

Mike (14:16):
Can you hold it up in front of your computer in April?

Chad (14:22):
I’m sorry. Uh, we’ll figure out a way to make that happen. But I’m very much appreciate your time here Mike. And also you sharing your wisdom and leadership as well.

Mike (14:30):
Yeah. And again, I want to emphasize to chat if anybody wants to reach out to me individually, they can email me through work, they can send me a DM on Facebook as well. So I’m more than happy to have some conversations with people too. So what’s the best email for me? The best email, send it to my work email. So it’s Lewis,L , E w I [email protected] It’s my work email address is the best one. Got it. Pop up on the website. The website is, it’s WAPT rehab.com yup. And that’ll show you the pop up. Anyone using practice promotions? I think we were the first one that actually rolled that out and I think they actually have kind of templated that now too. Does anyone using dealer practice brochures that they could put that together? I think within just a few hours and get that up on your website for you too. So perfect. I know Neil’s on it. Yeah, he’s on it. Great. Thank you again for doing this. I appreciate it and good luck with all those kids, man. Like I said, my situation is very different than yours. Good luck or a run for our money right now. They’re, they’re giving us a run for our money, so I’ll keep you posted.
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Breakthrough Interview with Tom Dalonzo Baker How To Do PT Telehealth

Many Physical Therapists are considering making a switch to PT telehealth during this National State of Emergency.

Here’s an interview I did with Tom Dalonzo-Baker from Total Motion Release on the topic.

Highlights from the Call:
Continue to test-treat-retest as you would in the clinic.
Use “Directional Preference” treatment systems in a scientific manner.
Tom is offering a free training for owners who want to learn more.

Video Transcript

[expand title=”Full Transcript”]
Chad:
Hey, everybody, Chad Madden here with Breakthrough. Today I’m talking with Tom Dalonzo-Baker. Tom, just like you and I, is a private practice owner of Total Motion PT. Now you probably know Chip and Deanna who took over the practice. Tom is also the founder of Total Motion Release, you’ve heard me talk about this. We had a PTA take his course, I think it was 13 or 14 years ago now, and I remember just applying Tom’s methods in our clinic and seeing some ridiculous results that didn’t necessarily make sense to me. Anyhow, during this state of emergency, I’ll call it, as of right now, I wanted to get you some information about how are you possibly going to treat somebody with telehealth? So anyhow, Tom, long-winded introduction, but thank you for doing this. Welcome here.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Hey, thanks Chad. Absolutely. More than happy to help. It’s a great opportunity to telehealth, to hopefully open up to, for people to see that we can maybe help and give you guys hope for what’s going on in your situation.

Chad:
Awesome. So the first thing that I’d love for you to talk about is I from experience in telehealth, one of the biggest, when we’re in the clinic, we can do test, treat, retest. When we’re meeting like this with a patient, essentially we want to have that same exact fundamental element in there so we’re providing a valuable service online even if we can’t provide hands-on therapy or we can’t do hands on motion guiding. So with Total Motion Release, how does that work? How would you go through, and if you want to walk me through an exercise right now?

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Yeah, absolutely. So look, it’s important to have a system down just like you’d have if you’re working with them manually. And the thing you need to realize is that we’re only ever dealing with motion and that’s what’s really cool here, right? You’re either moving them or they’re moving themselves. So all you want to be able to do is to take that area, so if somebody’s got a shoulder problem, what are the motions that we want to take them through? So Chad, do you have a shoulder problem, I’d take you through what? Flexion?

Chad:
Yeah. Great.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Go through. I might take you into abduction. All right.

Chad:
Left is bad, Tom.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
All right, so abduction. I just want to really focus on that area, let’s just say here.

Chad:
Left is-

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Let’s get some-

Chad:
Oh, come on man. You’re killing me. All right.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Awesome. Okay, so is that enough? Is that enough to say that you got what you needed to get there, Chad?

Chad:
I’m aware that my left side has some issues, yes.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
All right, so what are some of the ways that we could go ahead and treat that?

Chad:
Okay, so like you and I talked about earlier, or at least what I would know, is if the right side is easier, most of us are familiar with the idea of a directional preference. So if the right side is easier, what I’ve done when I’ve implemented TMR in the clinic is I would have the person move the right side and let’s say two sets of 12 of abduction and then go back and retest. So we’re still using that test, treat, retest.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Correct. Absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, one of the things is we’ve got, and I think you were going to share this with us, on the website we’ve got, on totalmotionrelease.com, I’ve got a free training for you guys right now that is extensive. It’s right there. It even gives you two credit hours CEUs. And it’ll get you going into feeling incredibly comfortable on treating people in telehealth. This was just developed about four months ago. I gave you the latest and greatest information. These videos right here that you have are treating. I show you the pretesting, I show you the treatment, I show you the post testing. And it’ll give you a very good, wow, I can do that.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
And there’s three ways in which to test. The entire body. There’s three ways to treat the area of injury and we show you a system to do that so you feel comfortable like, wow, this isn’t that difficult. In fact, it’s pretty simple to do. And my first step is get up there, get the free training. It’s going to take you through 15 steps, and by the end of it you’re going to say, hey, I’m feeling comfortable with doing telehealth with people. On here I show you how long it lasts, I show you why it works, I show you theories behind it that are very simple to get involved with it. That fair?

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
So with your shoulder issue, Chad, we could go and try to treat into restriction. It’s not lifting very well, we could do it like we’re used to, like TheraBands and they don’t have TheraBands at home, so we may just treat it. Now we can also shorten that tissue by coming over here, we’re actually shortening the tissue on that side. So there’s two different ways in which to go about and tackle an issue. It’s either going into the restriction or going into ease. And when you get involved in that, it’s pretty simple and easy for your people, not only just your therapists but also your patients to grab ahold of that and say, I can do this. So very powerful, very good. I always say just get to the website, watch a couple of videos and say, hey, I think you’ll be able to say I can do that.

Chad:
Awesome. So two stories I want to share with everybody watching. Number one is we had a… So again, this is right after our PTA had taken Tom’s course. First patient we ever treated in the clinic had a full thickness rotator cuff tear diagnosed. It was two or three years before. She was in her late seventies or early eighties, and because of all the co-morbidities, did not qualify. They wouldn’t operate on her, essentially. So we had to go through, and we have this on video, it’s actually on an old mini disc. That’s how long ago this was.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
That’s a long time.

Chad:
We had her abduct each side, I think with the left side she ended up having maybe 70 degrees. It was very limited. Horrible scapular winging, the whole deal, just no control there at all. We go through everything, we found a contralateral hip restriction. We ended up having her do some seated straight leg raises, and I remember as George was going through this, I said, there is no way that this works. I can’t wrap my head around this anyhow.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
You’re doing legs to, quote, fix shoulder. Is that correct?

Chad:
Yeah, exactly. So anyhow, and we said, okay. Mary is a fictitious name. And I’ll say, “Mary, raise your arm.” And she said, “I don’t know why you’re having me do all these movements.” Her daughter was there and her daughter is very, very loud and she went off like a… She caught it and the patient, Mary, did not even realize that her arm got better. She was a seven out of ten pain before, now she had no pain at all. Her daughter is freaking out. Everybody in the room is looking over and we’re like, wow, there is something here that we can’t explain but we don’t really care. We just know it works.

Chad:
Second story is when I treated the gentleman from Calcutta, India over 18 months, we did tele-health. He was, I don’t know why I remember this number, 7,937 miles from Calcutta to Harrisburg, so we were 8,000 miles apart. I treated him once a month and I was paid for the entire treatment plan but we got to a point of where… And he had three level disc herniation on an MRI before the treatment. I wrote about this in both of our books on back pain and we were featured in a local paper and got some local press coverage out of it regarding telehealth. Big secret was I used TMR when we got him to a certain point and he still had some restrictions, primarily unilateral hip restrictions. We just couldn’t seem to shake it with normal exercise. I said, “Hey, let’s do a general screen.” We took him through five or six, I forget what it was called at the time.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Fab six.

Chad:
Yep, fab six. We took him through those movements and we found two restrictions. Off the top of my head I believe it was thoracic rotation was one and I think he had a hip restriction as well. We treated him with your system and that was the game changer for him. He was 70% better, and by the way, when he was done with treatment he went back and got another MRI showing complete resolution of all three levels of disc herniation. So if you’re watching this and you’re considering telehealth, you’re going to need a system to treat people where you’re getting effective before and after, rather than just taking people through exercises, which is I think an essential part once you correct their movement. TMR can do that for you. I’ll leave it at that.

Chad:
So if that doesn’t convince you to check out-

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Let me jump in here for a second because you know [inaudible 00:00:09:37]. I just want to add a little bit. We were talking about left to right side and all of a sudden he jumped from shoulder to leg. I want to give this idea that pretty much we as clinicians, if somebody comes in with a shoulder pain, we’re looking at neck, shoulder and ribs. That’s the general area that we go to.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
When you do understand about lengthening and shortening tissue, you’re going to have three areas of the body but you’re going to realize every extremity, every area of the body, the left side and the right side, the left side can be used to fix the right side. The bottom right side can be used to fix the right side. And the left side can be used to fix the right side. When you see that you’re going to be able to go, whoa, I can just move the body, seeing what’s going on in it and have an idea and a system to test and to give them that to treat. Because a big thing that you’re going to notice with TMR is your skillset is going to be given to the patient, which is incredibly powerful. So they’re going to be able to help the other 23 hours out of the day, too.

Chad:
Yeah, and Tom, we’ve seen that time and time again where somebody has a shoulder or a cervical issue, we ask them their medical history and it’s like, oh, nothing really going on. But I do have a total hip, total knee, or an ankle surgery, and then we resolve the restrictions that they have there and then all of a sudden their shoulder or their neck moves better.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
We’ve got jaw pain people, they can open their jaw and we go, “Hey, do a leg raise.” And the right side’s horrible, the left side’s really good. We do the left side a bunch, the right side picks up, their jaw opens up, and you go, what? And it may sound so far fetched, and we’re not trying to do that because the system can start anywhere from single digit addition if you will, all the way up to trigonometry. But it’s very simple and easy to progress through and I do recommend… There’s so many people asking about the telehealth, but some of you guys are so concerned about can we do it and can we be consistent so that people go, well, I don’t want to do that.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
My recommendation is if you’ve got concerned patients that they go, well, I’m not sure that’s going to work, offer them a session. Let them see it. You can even bring into Zoom and you can have multiple people. You can do your workshops via this too if you need to. Or you can just have, hey, on Monday night we’re going to do this, anybody who wants to attend to see how well it works, you can do that if you happen to be one of the places that is closed down. Hopefully you haven’t. I know Washington’s getting pretty bad.

Chad:
I am hoping we are essential.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
I was just at the chiropractor right before this meeting and stuff and he said everything’s flowing really nicely and he said a couple older patients have called in, so he wasn’t… He’s on the same idea.

Chad:
Yep. Yeah, we did have record attendance last week. I’m hoping that holds up this week as well. But Tom, I appreciate your time. I know you’re a busy guy and thank you very much for sharing your system here. I appreciate it.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Hey, you bet, Chad.

Chad:
Thanks.

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Tom and Melissa Cere Breakthroughs Practice of the Year 2019

Tony & Melissa Cere

Kinetix Physical Therapy
Gainesville, FL

Congratulations to our Breakthrough 2019 Physical Therapy Practice Owner of the Year, Tony & Melissa Cere! You may have seen them at summit riding the bull, or they may have been in your Direct Access Killer Marketing class, OR you’ve seen them ask a question on a Growth X call…

If not, we have a special Q&A with them today! Read the full interview below –

Tony & Melissa Cere Breakthrough POOTY Award Winners 2019

These two are non stop with implementing and they are on their way to open a 2nd clinic! Continue reading to see how they’ve earned the title of “Practice Owner of the Year.

What Breakthrough PT business and marketing systems have you implemented?

“All the KM strategies… green ink letters, 7 Step Killer Exam, Killer Testimonials, Physician Newsletters, etc.”

“We have all new employees go through the Direct Access Killer Marketing course. New hires then pick a couple topics and have to present it to the rest of our team during our meetings.”

“We have 2 workshops a month with Growth X and 1-2 Captured Audience Workshops a month as well.”

“We also have been implementing systems that were taught in Max Value, we outsourced our billing to Bob Kowalick, we outsourced our newsletters and website to Practice Promotions, and we also have two Lightforce Lasers!

“Our sole focus is workshops and community relationships. We’ve started interviewing patients about their experience.. Either written or an in person interview to make sure people are getting the experience we want them to get!”

What results have you gotten?

“ We’ve actually had a lot of headaches in 2019! But, looking at the big picture.. The growth we’ve had.. And the impact we had on the community.. the culture we have developed… We can finally say our team is on board with our vision and mission and that makes it so much better as owners to know we are supporting each other and seeing that change and growth mindset develop with our staff over the last year and a half.”

“We started tracking graduation rate. When we first started, some therapists were around 40-50%. Now we’re hovering around 80%.”

“Our workshops are great. We had 40 people show up to a shoulder workshop recently. We’ve had a lot of new patients which is why we are opening another clinic.”

What did you do to achieve these results?

“ Stick with the program. Meetings – talk about it, brainstorm about it. Meetings are great… if something isn’t working, bring it up and brainstorm.. “What can we do differently?”

“We’ve found that dividing up responsibilities between staff has worked very well. For example, we have 1 person responsible for workshop development, another person responsible for closing, someone responsible for marketing.

Employees with dedicated responsibilities are key.. We have to acknowledge that we can’t implement it all alone.. We can’t monitor it all.. But we need to make sure things are getting done.”

“Promoting morale! We have spirit week and dress down Fridays. Each month we pick a local nonprofit charity that we will donate to…in order to dress down, you have to donate to that local charity. At the end of the month, we match what employees are giving to a local nonprofit.

We also advertise it in the clinic and tell patients, and give them a chance to donate and be apart of something bigger as well.”

Advice for Breakthrough Nation?

“Implement what you’re learning.”

“Talk to other practice owners about how they’ve adapted certain things.. The network and group we have on Facebook has been super helpful in finding out best practices and is extremely encouraging.

It’s so nice to see owners at different stages…. there is just so much wisdom and everyone wants to help each other.”

“We’ve done this multiple times, but bringing our staff to Breakthrough events has really helped get our staff onboard, see what we’re involved in, and why we’re doing it.”

“We are grateful and humbled to be recognized as the POOTY. Our lives are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with and the experiences we have together with them. The people we have met and experiences we have shared since joining Breakthrough have helped to transform us as leaders, and we can’t thank you enough for developing an amazing and energizing community of like-minded practice owners who are on a mission to change our communities and the lives of our patients. Let’s keep working to Flip The Pyramid together!”

Thank You Tony & Melissa for a wonderful interview and Congratulations on being Breakthrough’s Practice Owner of the Year 2019!

Breakthrough PT Summit 2019 Recap

I’m still (almost) speechless at the amazing turnout and takeaways we experienced at the Breakthrough Summit.

This was our biggest event ever, with more than 350 PT’s and professionals joining us, along with a killer list of speakers that shared their strengths and insights to help other PTs grow their practice.

We had a lot of positive feedback from PT owners, and I personally received more text messages and emails from owners about how much their business was growing than in the last eight events combined. It was jam-packed with energy and high-value information, and I can’t wait to see what other PT owners do with what they learned.

It wasn’t all business, either. I’m sure you can find plenty of videos of our mechanical bull riding—more than 100 people tested their skills!

In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of the event, along with some changes in Breakthrough to look forward to.

Breakthrough PT Summit Guest Speakers

An All-Star Lineup of Speakers

Our speakers covered everything from taxes to teamwork and brought their expertise to the stage. Some of the hot topics included:

  • Judy Cirullo on unifying and motivating your staff
  • Chandler Bolt on what he’s accomplished with self-publishing and how to use a book to establish yourself as an expert in your community
  • Karl Dettmann on wealth management and building wealth legally and ethically
  • John Logar on PT marketing strategies for 2020
  • Chris Reading with U.S. Physical Therapy
  • Kathy, Carl, and Mel from Breakthrough on Product X (now Growth X)

New this year, we hosted round table discussions, which allowed the Breakthrough team to sit down and discuss PT with other owners.

We also took a deep dive into the political landscape of PT and how we’re battling things like declining reimbursements. Chris Reading was an excellent resource and was able to provide specifics on how we’re dealing with shifts in PT.

The Future of Physical Therapy Private Practice

Declining reimbursements and dwindling referrals were a hot topic at this event. With many owners wondering about the future of private practice.

The good news is that there is plenty of opportunity out there – all 50 states now have some form of Direct Access.

But Direct Access is simply a vehicle for patients, and it’s up to each of us to seize this opportunity and start marketing direct to the public.

It won’t be easy, but the future is bright for PTs who are ready to stop thinking like clinicians and start growing their rehab practice like business owners.

Developing New Solutions for Private Practice

If you’ve been with Breakthrough for a while, you’re probably already familiar with most of the names on our team. But soon, you’re going to start seeing some new names, including Summit presenter Kathy Borkoski.

Last September, Kathy joined our team as Head of Product and delivered an exceptional presentation on how we develop solutions for your PT practice.

But what’s more important is that Kathy and her team are working on our suite of Breakthrough products that will improve the end-user experience and allow you to achieve a higher level of growth.

Typically, product development initially takes a “duct tape” approach. We’re looking at the issues our owners face, then piecing together solutions that will help to eliminate those issues. Then, once everything is developed, we circle back to connect and streamline each element.

Now we’re focused on systematizing practice solutions that not only solve today’s challenges but will also help to solve future ones that result from growth as these challenges are introduced.

And at the event we revealed the following changes to the Breakthrough product lineup:

Introducing Breakthrough University

Breakthrough got its start with Killer Marketing, which is a Masters-level class focused on ways to market your practice by going direct to consumer. From there, we progressed to Max Value, All Star, and PT Experts, and a whole heap of other knowledge resources. Now, we’ve brought all of these elements under the same umbrella—introducing Breakthrough University.

Our core focus is and will always be to help owners grow their practice. Breakthrough University is an accumulation of all the data and learning resources we’ve developed over the last five or six years.

Product X Is Now Growth X

When we launched Product X, it was the only end-to-end business growth system with guaranteed results that turns people in your community into patients.

That’s still the case, but Product X has been renamed Growth X.

What’s unique about Growth X is that it specifically addresses the cold traffic problem. This is our solution to converting people in your community who may not know or trust you yet into patients.

We focus on building expertise around your name and, ultimately, practice growth.

Get Familiar with Launchpad

If you’re a Growth X user, you’re already familiar with the software component of the product, referred to as the portal. This is the dashboard that helps you manage going direct to the consumer.

We’ve rebranded the portal to Launchpad, which will continue to serve as the Business Growth Dashboard. It will also be the home of the full workshop process to help you manage and view the results of your workshops.

Breakthrough Summit 2020 Awards Ceremony

Surprise Announcement at the Awards Ceremony

To close out the summit, we hosted an awards ceremony to give everyone one more chance to network. Tony and Melissa Cere of Kinetix Physical Therapy took home the title of Practice Owner of the Year.

We also made a special announcement that we are hosting an event here in Hershey, PA over the summer. The event will be held at the Breakthrough office, so you’ll get an exclusive look at where the magic happens. We announced 12 owners who received a coveted Golden Ticket to the event. More details to come soon.

If you missed us at the Breakthrough Summit, we hope you’ll join us in the future. Sign up for details on our next event or contact a Growth Expert today to discuss how you can grow your Physical Therapy practice.