Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic Through Crisis

Best Practices For Navigating Your Physical Therapy Clinic 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:


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   


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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