Top 3 Policies You Must Have for Your Practice

Do you need a big thick folder on your shelf…collecting dust (aka Policies and Procedures manual)?

I remember when I started my first practice in 1997 and was struggling. In
desperation I went to past instructors for help and they would give me their policy and procedure manual saying, “Put your name and address on it.”  Not sure why they did that. Why they thought that would help. Back then that was the thing to have.  Needless to say, it


did nothing for my practice. I spent a week personalizing the big thick manual of papers but my practice still failed.

For most private practice owners the “policies and procedures manual” conjures up the picture of a useless big thick folder with a bunch of paper in it (usually collecting dust).

Is it important to have one? Do you have one? If so, when’s the last time you looked in it or referred to it?

You don’t need what was the old idea of a policies and procedures manual but you do need to have some very important policies in place. And it doesn’t hurt to write it down and stick it in a 3 ring binder.

Top 3 policies you MUST have:

There is a top 3 all-time most important list for me. But for the purpose of this blog I will say there are 7 departments/pillars to your practice and for each one you should clearly have defined the top 3 policies within each. Make sure your staff are aware of each of them. Reinforce them. Reiterate them. Refer to them often.  Write them down and stick it in a 3 ring binder.  It will help you become a more proficient, efficient and effective team. It will help your practice grow. It will lead to great successes.

Here are some of the top 3 policies you must have:


  1. Everyone must be greeted with a smile. Nothing is more important than the person walking in through your doors. This includes the staff and the owner.
  2. No person or persons outside of our organization is allowed to enter our premises, gain access to confidential documents, or ask/interrogate our personnel without prior authorization from the director/president/owner. Legal representation must be present during any audit, investigation or scrutiny. This policy is critical since the PT Board, Medicare Auditors (RAC), and insurances are becoming more and more aggressive at scrutinizing, requesting refunds and investigating practices. They’ve been known to visit strategically when owner is not present. This could be a life saver for you.
  3. Patients must be seen at the time of their appointment. No waiting allowed. This is a game changer for patients today.

receptionist not

This is not what your receptionist should look like.


  1. Employees should always represent themselves clearly to patients. A name badge that displays the employee’s name and title is required at all times while on the floor with patients.
  2. Every session should include a comparable sign or measurement that indicates the patient’s progress, or lack of. It should be communicated with patient each and every session.
  3. Allocate the appropriate task to the appropriate staff member. Utilize aides to help with cleaning, safety, documentation, prep and setups. In many states, aides can help with more patient related tasks if trained and competent to do so. Know your states PT/OT Board laws. Even more important, make sure you are clearly interpreting them (ask IndeFree for help) and make sure your staff are aware of them and follow them as well. Better yet, have it written, have them sign it, and throw it in their file.



  1. The codes and units billed must absolutely match the documented procedures performed.
  2. Total time of session must be indicated in patient records. And billing must account for the time patient was in the clinic. Do not under-bill or over-bill.
  3. Have a Billing Policies signed by every staff member that indicates your organization all understand billing procedures and policies (form available at IndeFree course). This helps you in case of audit or scrutiny.

There are four more departments but I’ll share those on another post (Administrative, Human Resource, Marketing, and Financial).

Stay posted! Comment below to be notified of upcoming blog posts!

P.s. Paper policies and procedures are a thing of the past. Now there’s IndeHub, a centralized place where you and your team can congregate for training, staying informed, videos, calendar, forms, paperwork, and more! Let me know if you are interested in seeing a demo!

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James Ko

I believe... "It's not the strongest practices that survive and grow, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change." I'm a physical therapist, private practice owner, and founder of IndeFree Association. I like reading James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, enjoy golfing and playing guitar. I love playing with Mac and Cozy! For over 15 years, I've helped thousands of practices grow and succeed. This is my dedication.

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