Stop Relying On Physician Referrals & Take Control of Your PT Patient Flow

Case Study – Taking Control Of New PT Patient Numbers

As a Physical Therapist, you focus on delivering the highest quality of care to your PT patients. And delivering the best outcomes possible.

This is great when you work for someone else, but as a PT owner you’re not just responsible for outcomes.

You also have to have marketing strategies and plans in place to get new Physical Therapy patients into your PT clinic.

That’s what Mike talks about in his case study video.

Before working with Breakthrough, his Physical Therapy practice relied heavily on physician referrals. As a result, he never felt like he was in control of his new patients numbers.

Check out the video to see what worked for Mike and how he’s been able to accelerate the growth of his PT practice by taking control and marketing directly to the public.

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Mike Strakal:       I'm Mike Strakal. I'm a physical therapist from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have two clinics, one in Tulsa and Owasso, Oklahoma. The name of my practice is Physical Therapy and Balance Centers.
Mike Strakal:       I have been in private practice physical therapy since 1974, and I started out as a young young guy who was working with a company that contracted physical therapy when physical therapy, especially out ... There was really no outpatient physical therapy, and so we contracted hospitals. And you actually had to be in the hospital for your insurance to pay for your physical therapy.
Mike Strakal:       So I did that for about 10 years, decided that I wanted to get into the outpatient market, started to do some consulting with hospitals who were developing regional rehab hospitals, and I did that for about five years. And then I opened up multiple outpatient clinics just because I really do like outpatient PT.
Mike Strakal:       The main reason that I joined Product X was to be in control of my referrals. In 2015, Oklahoma got direct access, and so we were able to see patients for 30 days without having a physician's referral. I didn't have the expertise. I didn't know how to go about getting those referrals, and Product X just spoke to me because it gave me a script, it gave me a method, it gave me a plan that allows me now to start controlling not only the numbers of patients that I want to see in the clinics, but the types of patients that I want to see.
Mike Strakal:       My biggest problem has been always being dependent on physicians to refer to me. I really want the ability to control not only the kind of referral patient that I want to see, but also the numbers. And Product X gave me that opportunity.
Mike Strakal:       Product X helped me achieve my goals of increasing my number of referrals and the kinds of patients that I wanted because it gave me a plan. It was a structure. It gave me the ability to not only understand how best to get my message across, it gave me a strategy, a tactical strategy on how to get my message across through Facebook. And then, it also gave me a strategy on how to deal with the patients once I got them.
Mike Strakal:       Not being able to have a strategy to get new patients into the door. And then, we always knew how to evaluate them and give them excellent care. And so that wasn't a problem. But what was the problem was our inability to be able to find them in the first place, which we were able to do through the Product X modules. It was the fact that we didn't have a structured program that was succinct, and the scripts were very good at putting that together. And then finally, the ability to have, multiple months, after month, after month, of getting the workshops repeated so that if they missed one workshop, they could always come to another.
Mike Strakal:       Originally, we weren't really paying attention to the tenets of the Breakthrough PT marketing program as well as Product X. Our first time that we did a <a href="">PT workshop</a> worked out very well for us. But what we learned from the failures and the mistakes that we made was that we could get our people into our office sooner, and so we were able to, on the phone, generate interest from the patient to come in for a free screen. And then, once we saw them, we could give them exactly what was wrong with them. We were able to bring them into the clinic for a full plan of care. It's resulted in the fact that we don't see a lot of people at our workshops anymore because they've come in two, three weeks earlier for a plan of care, and being treated.
Mike Strakal:       My biggest Product X win is the ability to manage my practice, and it has given me the opportunity to not only see that we can control our own destiny, we can control the numbers that are coming into our clinic, and it's also given me the opportunity to teach my staff the tenets that I learned through the Product X. The successful ability to bring patients into our clinic without having to rely on physician referrals has been my biggest win.
Mike Strakal:       My practice now runs a lot more effectively and efficiently if I'm not there. My staff has been trained now, has an idea of what to do, is empowered to make the decisions to do it. And so, I can go with my wife, we can take time off. In fact, we're going to be taking off quite a bit of time this summer, and we're going to have the practice continue to improve and grow even though we're not part of the group that's doing the actual treatment.
Mike Strakal:       You know, many physical therapists and support staff aren't as enamored with an idea as I might be and my wife might've been when we came back from the first boot camp. And so, even though they're good people and even though they want to do a good job, they haven't been introduced to those concepts. And so, what we did when we came back was we spent probably close to five hours a week introducing them to not only the concepts of Killer Marketing again, but also the concepts of the tactical strategies for boot camp. Some people just don't want to do what you want them to do. And so, we had to have frank discussions of where we were going, and if they wanted to get there with us, they would have to get on the bus.
Mike Strakal:       And I would say that, without exception, every single one of my staff has been able to not only learn all of the tenets of the Product X, but they're very willing to learn more, because now what they're seeing is that we've come up with solutions to our problems, as opposed to kind of gnashing our teeth and washing our hands because we don't know what to do.
Mike Strakal:       The fact that physical therapists are really clinical people, don't really have a lot of business acumen. And even though the billing people, or the front office people, are comfortable answering the telephone, going through the process of the revenue cycle, they really didn't understand the structure of Product X and how it would make their job easier.
Mike Strakal:       And so, we were able to ... Basically, through role playing and seeing the successful outcomes of just having perfect strangers call us up and say they want to come to our workshop, and then getting them in, really gave them much more confidence in how to deal with, "I can't afford that insurance. I don't feel like I should be trying to sell them something they don't want." We were able to talk all that through. And so, having the library that Product X has was very helpful in getting me to be able to do that with my staff.
Mike Strakal:       So now that we are starting to be able to control our referrals a lot more, and we're seeing more business, we're now expanding our operations into our other clinic up in a Owasso, and we're taking some of those same people, taking them up to Owasso, and teaching the Owasso staff how the tenets of Product X can benefit that facility. And my hope is that we'll be able to do that three more times in the next two years.
Mike Strakal:       Because we bought Product X, we didn't really expect it to be much more than just a method that we could use to improve the kinds of referrals and the numbers of referrals that we would get into our clinics. But what we found was there was a lot of side effects as a result of the tenets of the Product X concepts, such as being able to pick up the phone and talk to just about any stranger with the idea that they want to come in and be helped by our treatment programs.
Mike Strakal:       It helped my people to understand the revenue cycle because they didn't have to go through, a lot of times, the insurance products, because we were doing cash pay. It helps my physical therapists and my physical therapist assistants in understanding that it is not their place to decide if a person should get treatment or not. It's really up to the person to get treatment. It's their job to lead that person to get that done. So it doesn't matter if it's a Product X patient or even the typical patient from a referral, they now are much better at being able to articulate why the patient needs physical therapy and how physical therapy is going to benefit them.
Mike Strakal:       Successful outcome for these programs has been pretty good in my opinion. We had 26 registrants for our workshop. We were able to provide patient care to 14 of those before the workshop ever occurred. So the numbers that are showing up at our workshop are less, but it's because we're getting them into the clinic faster.
Mike Strakal:       Well, I've been a physical therapist for about 45 years, and physical therapist is a very serious profession. We're here to help people who are in pain. But what I found is the fact that I have realized how much fun I'm having as an old guy as I am providing these workshops, as I get a chance to work with my staff, as I get a chance to interact with different therapists around the country. And I used to think about retiring, I used to think about taking all kinds of time off. But really, I'm enjoying myself so much because of what I've been able to accomplish. I don't know if I'll ever retire.
Mike Strakal:       Well, my big, audacious, hairy goal was to see 100 patients a day between my two clinics and to see six to eight new patients per week. Now that I see how powerful this concept is, I'm looking at, in the next two years, either acquiring or developing new programs outside my other two clinics. And I want to have at least five clinics. And so, I am going to continue to use the tenets of the Product X, as well as Killer Marketing and the other outstanding programs that Chad has developed, and I'm going to for sure see an increase in not only the number of visits, but my big, hairy, audacious goal will be 400 patients a day with 22 to 25 new evaluations per week.
Mike Strakal:       You have to understand what you're trying to accomplish with it. My personal feeling is I wanted to accomplish increased referrals of the kind of referrals that I wanted. In trying to get that point across to my staff, I may not have been the best leader or manager to be able to explain that to them appropriately. But because I was able to use some of the tenets and some of the research and some of the true leadership of the Product X BTPM programs, I was able to get them to understand at least what I was trying to accomplish. That gave me a new journey. And that journey was to understand how they learned best. And it also gave me an opportunity to know if they were on board or not.
Mike Strakal:       And so, the truth of the matter is, is that this is a management program no different than any other management program. What is important is that the manager, myself, or you, is going to have to understand how best to implement something like that. And I think that Product X is really an outstanding way to do that.

If you want to learn more about the systems discussed in the video, make sure you sign up for my new training webinar.

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