Top 3 Reasons Physicians Stop Referring

Many physical therapy private practices are seeing a decline in physician referrals today. Even though a variety of reasons can explain the cause, our survey of over 100 physicians taught us something VERY important. Here they are:


It doesn’t matter what the complaint is. “They don’t take my insurance!”; “They can’t get me in until next week!”; “The receptionist is rude!” And of course, the generic, “I just don’t like them!” with NO SPECIFIC reason, but the real reason is because…

  • you sent them an unexpected bill
  • you made them wait too long sitting in the lobby
  • you make them fill-out too much paperwork
  • you play rock music over the speakers
  • you made them more sore than they were before they came in
  • your staff can be over-heard complaining
  • they’re not greeted with a smile, etc.


Many therapists over-educate. They say too much. Doctor’s don’t like that. Why? Because the patient begins to get ideas in their head. What kind of ideas?…

  • “Why isn’t my doctor telling me these things?”…
  • “Maybe I’d better take matters into my own hands and search online”…
  • “Maybe the doctor is not good, maybe he doesn’t care that much about me, maybe he’s just passing me off to THERAPY!”

Don’t try to look good and smart and talk too much, you will lose referral sources. Don’t try the scare tactic with patients to get them to do what you want, they’ll go straight to the internet, you will lose referral sources.


Most doctor’s say they never read our reports. Why?

  • They’re too long;
  • They can’t understand all the jargon and abbreviations;
  • They can’t read the handwriting;
  • They can’t decipher all the check marks and boxes.

Most of the time, doctors will bypass the report and go straight to asking the patient questions to make a determination, but occasionally they will need information from the therapist and when they can’t find it easily, they get frustrated. Sometimes the report’s not even there! So, they’ll have their nurse/asst call you. Eventually, they’ll start referring elsewhere.

Important note: Most EMR’s suck. They not only get you into trouble but physicians hate it (and so does your staff). Learn the best way to create fast, easy, and love-able notes at the next IndeFree course.

Now that you know the top 3 reasons, what do you do about it?

Simple, do the exact opposite.

  1. Never let a patient complain, about anything!;
  2. Never over-educate!;
  3. Send them one-page reports with only the information they want when they need it, typed.
  4. Attend the next IndeFree Course

Go to to see how to make it happen easily! Don’t worry I’m not trying to sell you IndeNotes. We don’t make any money off that application/tool. These are the REAL TRUTHS, go ask the physicians yourself.

If you learned anything from this post, leave a comment!

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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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