We live in a world that desparately needs our services.
Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population, 3 billion people, are living on less than $2.50 a day, with more than 1.3 billion of them dwelling in desperate poverty. According to UNICEP 22,000 thousand children die each day due to poverty. Many of the world’s population are starving, dying of preventable diseases and beyond the reach of affordable healthcare services
The average North American enjoys a standard of living for most of human history has been unfathomable. Therapists in the United States earn on average $82,000/yr. Therapist’s income is 22 times higher than the global average placing most of them in the top 4% of the richest people in the world. If you want to check how your salary ranks go to How Rich Am I? . The fact that most therapists in the US are rich could skew how we percieve the problem of poverty and accessible, affordable healthcare.
Recent civil unrest in response to police shootings in the United States has accentuated the social and economic disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The economic gulf is widening not only in the US but between North America and the rest of the world. However, North Americans are not immune to the effects of poverty. From inner city gettos to rural small town poverty continues to cause havoc and pain in our patients lives.
If you are a North American therapist, the reality of our economic situation and professional status presents us with enormous responsibility to provide affordable and accessible healthcare.
So what are we to do?
The poor are our fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters.
This article addresses three fundamental questions therapists especially private practice owners will face when considering the cash practice model.
There are a lot of people who consider health insurance to be a necessary evil.
Insurance and government health programs and can be expensive and frustrating to use for both consumers and providers. However, when patients need medical care, they’re generally glad they’re insured. One of the first questions patients often ask is “Will my insurance cover this?”
At this point you might be saying something like my adolescent daughters used to say to me, ” Duh dad, everybody knows that.” Well, maybe because everybody knows it we are blinded to how much healthcare economics have changed.
One tactic of healthcare reform is to reduce total healthcare spending by shifting upfront costs to consumers. Yet many clinics still think because patients have insurance their practice isn’t functioning as a cash practice until deductibles are met.
If you’ve done any Google searches on marketing for physical therapists or participated in any online therapy discussions then you’ve probably noticed a movement taking shape. Everywhere you look, it seems like there are therapists embracing entrepreneurship, autonomy and lifestyle practice as never before.
Even recent therapy graduates, undeterred by huge amounts of student debt, are embarking out on their own to start up their own businesses. They are abandoning traditional clinical practice for upside opportunities of being their own boss. Promises of flexible schedules, higher incomes and a more exciting career are almost too good to pass up.
But are these therapists being led astray by a glamorized version of entrepreneurship?
Are they setting themselves up for disaster when the harsh realities of business hits them like the ALS ice water bucket challenge?
I think not.
I believe they know more than we think they do. Perhaps more experienced therapists can learn from their optimism and courage to push the envelope on new ways to deliver care.
When you entered the world of physical therapy, fresh out of school and ready to tackle to world, what were your goals? What did you see yourself accomplishing over the first five, ten, fifteen years of practice? Now here’s the big question: how much of that have you accomplished?
Are you satisfied with the current status of your profession and the state of your career?
Whether you are in a private practice, home health, school, a skilled nursing facility, or in a hospital the goal is clear: you want to build a practice that is fulfilling and builds upon your passions and expertise.
However, in today’s competitive, ever changing healthcare economy it’s almost a given that at some point you’re going to have to re-invent your professional self.
This article provides you a step-by-step approach to discover your calling and develop your professional platform. It will help you look at your strengths, your experience, your relationships, and your mastery to take the leap of faith into uncharted territory.
Real Magic Begins With Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs. The physical therapy profession benefits from a rich history of innovators and entrepreneurs. We all have been blessed by pioneers like Florence Kendall, Robin McKenzie, Shirley Sahrmann and many more. These therapy entrepreneurs(before entrepreneurship was hip) saw health problems in their patients and despite resistance created innovative ways to solve them.
The physical therapy profession exists to make a distinctive difference in the lives of individuals and society. This is starting point and ending point of our mission–changing lives for the better. It always has and will always be the mission of our profession.
Any professional group is composed of individuals that are it’s representatives on a daily basis. It’s important for every therapist to think carefully about answering a central question.
What is my mission?
It’s such a simple question but it goes right to the heart of how our profession stays effective and relevant during these tumultuous times. Every truly great profession demonstrates the ability to preserve its core mission while it responds to changing realities.
A new reality that therapists must adapt to is how therapy services are paid for in the new healthcare economy. Without sacrificing our core mission we must adapt our educational programs, delivery methods, strategies, clinical practices, marketing, business models etc.
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Can one person really make a difference?
Muhammad Ali was widely known as ‘The Greatest’. He’ll be remembered as one of the most significant and influential sport figures of the 20th century. Ali had an impact on millions of people throughout the world. His death caused me to reflect on his inspiring and somewhat controversial legacy.
How much difference can one person make out of 7 billion people on planet earth?
How about one therapist in the midst of the 200,000 licensed therapists in the United States?
If we focus solely on the numbers and professional accomplishments then individuals can become unimportant. Despite his greatness Ali never forgot the importance of connecting with people one on one. I know it’s important to capitalize on the strength in our PT numbers but we must not lose the worth of every individual therapist.
Do you want to make your life count for something? Do you want your career to consist of more than going to work, seeing patients and making a living?
The desire for making an impact and leaving a legacy is hard wired in most of us.
Remember the good old days in physical therapy?
Therapists relied on a stable industry with positive career growth and mobility. PT graduates were paid a competitive salary that allowed them to pay off reasonable school loans in a realistic time.
Good jobs were abundant in choice locations and specialties. Skilled therapists were allowed the necessary time to develop their craft as patients made substantial progress. Therapists had the environment to deeply connect with patients which often lead to a meaningful experience for both parties.
In large most therapists loved their work and encouraged the next generation to think about a career as a therapist.
Well, times have changed. An over emphasis on cost containment is eroding away the very heart of the physical therapy profession. There are lots of therapists who are unhappy with their jobs. And apparently therapists are not the only ones.
In a recent poll by Gallup reported that only 13 percent of the world’s workers are “engaged” in their jobs. The other 87 perscent feel disconnected from work and more frustrated than fulfilled. Similarly, only 54 percent of physicians said they would select medicine as career if they had to do it over again.
Warren Buffet, the ‘Oracle of Omaha”, is a celebrity in my home state of Nebraska. His reputation for value investing has reached mythical proportions.
Investopedia stated in a 2015 article that $8,175 invested in Berkshire Hathaway in 1990 was worth more the $165,000 by September 2013 as compared to $42,000 in the S&P 500. Needless to say his value investment philosophy has made investors in his company a lot of money.
Warren Buffet is known worldwide for being a genius at value investing. Value investors buy securities that are currently undervalued by the market based upon a determination of their intrinsic worth. Investopedia goes on to say “Buffet chooses stocks solely based on their overall potential as a company…Buffet seeks not capital gain but ownership in quality companies.”
Therapists regardless of their employment situation can learn a lesson or two from Mr. Buffet on value investing. All of us need to be mindful of not underselling our value or understanding simple business fundamentals.
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What would you do if you lost your top referral source for the 3RD TIME because of a POPTS practice?
In 2010, Chad Madden PT experienced two therapists leave his private practice to open up their own practice. He had just lost $98,000 in one quarter in his business. He was, in his own words, feeling sorry for himself and playing the victim.
Instead of looking for solutions he was wallowing in his problems.
Then things changed for the better.
Chad went from being a PT victim to a PT allstar by following some very simple steps that he is going to share with us today.