The New Shocking Truth About Physician Referrals for Physical Therapy

The Shocking Truth About Physician Referrals for PT

Part 1: Is Your Practice Relying Too Much On Physician Referrals?



In sunny Orlando, Florida.

I had the chance to present and talk with over 175 Private Practice Owners about the challenges their presently facing in marketing their Private Practice.

And as a first time exhibitor,

(The experience as an exhibitor is a bit different than walking around as a skeptical PT Owner who doesn’t want to be sold anything)

I quickly caught on that the majority of Owners I spoke with were doing “pretty well”.

(See, I’m guessing most didn’t know at first that I’m a fellow Private Practice Owner and just assumed my glaringly obnoxious BPTM T-shirt that read, “93 Direct Access Patients in 1 Month” that I was there to sell them something.)

And as an admission, because I had just been burnt by a POPTS Practice who snuck into my Direct Access Marketing Course for 36 hours. We only scheduled Killer Marketing Interviews, no sales at PPS. (The Direct Access Marketing Course sold out in less than 3 days even though we raised the cap on admissions to allow another 15 PT Private Practice Owners in.)

So anyhow, most Physical Therapy Owners were doing “pretty well” UNTIL I asked this question:

“In the past 12 months, what percentage of your new patients came from each one of the following referral sources?”

Physician Referral?

Past Patients (returning for additional care OR referring other patients)?

The Public? (Through Direct Access or PT Workshops)?

Before I reveal what most owners said, answer this question yourself:

“What percentage of your new PT patients came from each of the following referral sources?”




While there were a few outliers, the most common answer was:

75% from Physician Referrals

And 25% from the remaining two: Patients and Public.


Most PT Private Practices Rely On Physicians For 75% of Their Patients

Direct Access Physical Therapy Patients Referrals vs Physician Referrals

My follow-up to that was:

“Is that where you want it to be?”

Almost 100% said, “NO.”

See, not so “pretty well”.

And as I’ve shared repeatedly,

I’ve been through it.



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When I started in Private Practice in 2003, the name of the game here in Pennsylvania still was Physician Referrals.

But Thanks to Direct Access (one positive) coupled with Hospitals buying referral sources (they now own and employ 70%+ of the referral sources in my immediate area). POPTS practices (5 of those in my market) and large corporate PT competition (Select and Drayer are both Headquartered less than 13 miles from my office).

Physician referrals are “so yesterday”.

And if I would have continued to rely solely on Physician Referrals,

I doubt we’d still be in business.

The WORST Number in Private Practice PT

See if your Practice OR my Practice is solely relying on Physician Referrals

We’re in BIG trouble.  WHY?

Well, as Dan Kennedy puts it, “The worst number in any business is 1.”

Meaning, if you’re relying on one source of New Patients, you’re in trouble.

Think of it as you would your investment portfolio.

We all know we need to “diversify”.

So we get the advantages of growth (to outpace inflation).

And have the advantage of safety (to protect from loss).

So why not look at diversifying your New Patient sources in the same light?

The BIG Secret: We Don’t Know How to Attract New Patients from Our Past Patients and Have No Clue How to Attract Direct Access Patients from the General Public.


But we didn’t get this in PT school.

Nor do we learn how to do it from the pesky Sales Rep who’s going to sell us banner ads or radio time or a Print Ad.

(He’s feeding us “BRANDING” and “Top of Mind Awareness”).

However, there IS a way to scientifically attract New Patients from both your Patient List AND the General Public (by virtue of Direct Access).

And I want to share it with you. IF you’re a Private Practice Owner looking to take your practice to the next level,

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go from say 75% Physician Referrals to 50% or less?

By the way, I’ll not only be sharing my experiences with you (now less than 25% of my New Patients are Physician Referrals and we’ve averaged 93 Direct Access Patient per month in 2015).

But I’ll also be sharing what other Private Practice Owners have done to become less reliant on physician referrals.

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Like Lee Sowerbutts…

In Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Who scientifically attracted more than 60 New PT patients from the Public.

For less than 6 BUCKS!

(I have another new story you probably won’t believe of how another Practice Owner attracted over a room full of 55 New Patients for zero investment. Crazy, right?)

Anyhow, showing you exactly how to do this is going to take more than a simple blog post.

So I’ve put together a new Webinar called: The POPTS Direct Access Webinar You’ll learn step-by-step what I’m doing and what other Practice Owners are doing to attract more New Patients WITHOUT talking to a single doctor.

(Someone just accused me of giving away too much good information on my webinars and I’ll take that as a compliment).

And you should know with 100% certainty that what I share on the webinars is super valuable.

And you should also know as a DISCLAIMER that the majority of Private Practice Owners don’t do a damn thing with what I share.

But if you’re interested in learning how to shift your referral percentages,

Then Register for the NEW POPTS Direct Access Webinar.

Here’s to a Prosperous 2016,


PS – You might be wondering, “Is this one of those webinars where I don’t really get any information, waste my time and then you try to sell me something?” Well, to be completely and brutally honest, no and yes. I’ll be sharing some super valuable stuff. IF you can implement. If you can’t implement, I’m not going to be able to help you regardless of how valuable my info is. (You can implement and take action, right?)

My Direct Access Marketing course and program is available for those Private Practice Owners who really want to take their practice to the next level and are serious about it. (In full disclosure, webinars are how we found most of the 200+ Owners who’ve enrolled in Killer Marketing).

PPS – Wondering how I got banned for life as an Exhibitor from PPS? I’ll share my mistake on the POPTS Physical Therapy Webinar.

You Can Click Here To Register Now (it’s free)

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