For part 2 on my highlights of the 2012 PPS annual conference, I’ll cover how I found a potential answer to one of the most common objections I hear about Cash-Based Physical Therapy: “My practice is in a rural/poor area … people here wouldn’t be able or willing to pay much out of pocket for Physical Therapy.” In many cases, this may be true, but read on to learn about options you may not have considered before.
I attended a session given by Sheila Denman PT, MA, MS, CEIS titled: “Partnering with Business for Cash Based Business Opportunities.” Sheila owns ATI Physical Therapy that aside from providing traditional clinic-based PT, also provides onsite Physical Therapy, safety and ergonomic evaluation/consultation, corporate wellness, etc for different types of companies. And a key component of these worksite services is that they are cash-based.
The top two most rapidly increasing expenses for industrial/manufacturing-type companies are Workers-Compensation premiums and Health Insurance premiums, and many of these businesses are now fully realizing that investing in superior Wellness/Prevention/Treatment services will likely save them far more than these services cost to provide.
This type of business is not necessarily something I would want to pursue for my practice, but I had an “ah ha” moment as she spoke. As I mentioned above, I often hear Physical Therapists who don’t live in larger cities, or who are not in affluent areas, say something along the lines of: “People in my area would never take me up on cash-pay PT Services. Sometimes it’s hard just to get a copay out of them.” Sheila described many of the companies and industries for which her company provides (cash-based) services, and I realized that these companies were often operating in rural or semi-rural areas where the average income was quite low (Ex: companies in the petro-chemical industry, food packing/preparation, commercial farming/ranching, etc.). Then it hit me: Most of the people/workers in these areas would not be willing to pay much out of pocket for Physical Therapy, but their employers will if it they understand it will help their bottom line!
So now when someone thinks their geographical area would not be supportive of cash-based PT services, I’ll know to ask them about the area’s industries and explore the possibilities described above. Thank you Sheila! Are you skeptical that a cash-based PT practice would be a viable business model in your area? Are there industries and businesses like those described above nearby? Perhaps with some creativity, savvy marketing, and hard work, you could find a wealth of private-pay revenue streams for your practice.
Aside from the great information I obtained in the PPS educational sessions, the conference was hugely valuable in the networking opportunities that it provided. I had the pleasure of meeting Nitin Choda PT, DPT, who is a genius when it comes to marketing PT practices. In the next post, I’ll be interviewing Nitin on how to utilize email newsletters to market your practice, build your company brand, improve client retention and increase new patient referrals.