Physical Therapy Private Practice News

The world of physical therapy private practice has changed a lot over the past 5 years.

The game has changed significantly.

In the past, getting on major insurance plans, going door-to-door to physician offices, and doing a little hands-on was enough to get you patients from doctors and payments from insurance companies. Not anymore. Physical therapy private practice requires a whole new set of skills and most are not well prepared for the future.

Big Mistakes Made by the Typical Physical Therapy Private Practice

  1. Not creating a hybrid of insurance and cash patients
  2. Still relying on physicians for new patient referrals
  3. Not increasing the Revenue Per Visit, and decreasing the Cost Per Visit. Check out this calculator.
  4. Not taking advantage of Facebook, Google, Community Referral Programs, and Postcard Mailings
  5. And more…

Things have changed.

With insurance reimbursements shrinking, physician referrals lessening, higher patient deductibles, rules and laws changing, and patients turning into “consumers”, many of the existing private practices can’t keep up or adapt.  Many “old-timers” are closing their doors, while many are trying to sell (which is not easy to do). In the meantime, many new therapists are opening up new practices, some straight from out of school. Competition is increasing and growing more fierce–more than ever before. It’s becoming more like “survival of the fittest” and it’s not the oldest or strongest practices that are growing these days but the ones capable of adapting to the new landscape and environment.

physical therapy private practice

I truly believe there is no better time to be in private practice!

This is the BEST time to start, or try to grow, your practice if you learn to do it correctly.  -JamesPT

When I say good, I mean not with your hands but with what I consider to be the most important and valuable skill today.  This skill I am talking about will be shared with you later in this article (you must keep reading to learn it).  However, another important one that I will share with you now is . . . you have to be a good communicator and educator.  Getting consumers to understand exactly what it is you do (as a therapist), and why they need it is increasingly becoming an essential part of private practice success.

  • What are the solutions you offer,
  • What real problems do you resolve?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will it cost?

In order to thrive (let alone survive) these days one has to connect directly with the community and getting them to understand is just as important as getting them better physically. Getting people to talk about you to their family and friends is more important than ever before.

Why this is the BEST time to be in physical therapy private practice:

  1. 30 million MORE people will have access to healthcare in 2014.
  2. Medicaid is becoming more generous. Underserved populations need therapy.
  3. Any Willing Provider law expansion.
  4. Wellness and preventative services beginning to pay.
  5. Physician referrals becoming less and less significant for growth.
  6. Patients are converting into consumers and exercising their rights to choose who they go to, where they go, etc.
  7. Technology is saving more babies and lengthening life, subsequently creating more populations of those who need therapy.
  8. Health, wellness, and fitness becoming a national priority.
  9. Physical therapy field is rapidly growing (according to US News and World report)
  10. Higher patient copays leading to more cash practice advantages.

And much much more…

How to Grow a SUCCESSFUL Physical Therapy Private Practice

  1. First start by realizing that you don’t know it all. There are real solutions that can make your life/business much easier. Learn more.
  2. Get baseline data of your business: Cost Per Slot, Fixed Expenses, Variable Expenses, amount of payroll you need. Read this.
  3. Create a strong Marketing Foundation: Not just tips and tricks but automated systems that continually generate new patients. Using autoresponders, the Word-of-Mouth Generator, and more.
  4. Train your staff: There’s a systematic approach to building a strong team that helps you grow your business. What to say, when to say it, what to do, when to do it. Learn more.
  5. Believe in yourself. Don’t work hard but rather smart. Get some help.

Physical Therapy Private Practice PRINCIPLES

  • It’s not the practice owner with the most money or biggest facility that survives but rather the one most adaptable to change.
  • Know how to sell cash services legally and ethically
  • Create an experience for patients versus mere treatment sessions
  • Location will always be very important to consumers.
  • Physicians are referring far less than ever before so don’t sit around waiting for referrals.
  • Don’t do your own billing in the beginning (for now).
  • Outsource whenever you can when starting, or strapped for cash.
  • Start small and grow progressively.
  • Don’t overspend on items that do not directly bring a return on the investment
  • Don’t waste money… on “things” or equipment.
  • Don’t have too many employees
  • Track productivity
  • Don’t incentivize staff with money
  • Don’t offer more appointments than you regularly fill

Physical Therapy Private Practice TERMINOLOGY

  • Activation: The process of turning prospects into high value members. Versus merely answering the phone.
  • Profit: Goal of at least 20%
  • Circle of influence: The geographic range where 80% of your patients come from.
  • Search engine optimization: Your website’s ability to rank on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Email marketing: Sending emails to past and prospective patients, and doctor referrals.
  • Public relations: The art of developing a public perception of who/what/why you are.
  • Direct marketing: The act of connecting directly with consumers offering your solutions to their problems.
  • Advertising: The act of presenting your solutions to mass channels–typically TV, radio, newspaper, coupon mailers, internet, and so on.
  • Marketing: There are several definitions but the one most pertinent to you is the act of clearly defining your target market and making sure you are visible to them.
  • Craigslist: An internet megasite that is far untapped in terms of internet marketing.
  • Resource allocation: An important aspect of delegating the appropriate task to the appropriate human resource.
  • RAC: Recovery Audit Contractors. More audits are occurring than ever. Make sure your documentation and billing practices are refined.
  • EMR: Electronic Medical Records. Therapy is not required to be on EMR yet, which is good since there no real good solutions yet. If your paper is faster than digital, wait.

If you or someone you know is serious about success in a physical therapy private practice in this new economy, let them know about the Private Practice Secrets course by IndeFree.  To learn more, go to

Don’t waste time. Get On the FAST TRACK to Private Practice Success!

More Resources:

Physical Therapy Private Practice Coaching

Physical Therapy Billing

Physical Therapy Articles

Physical Therapy Private Practice Course

Occupational Therapy Private Practice


Additional Resources:

American Physical Therapy Association

World Federation of Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Aide and Professional Development



Share with Colleagues
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments