Like in any realm of business, there are a large number of models and marketing strategies for physical therapy private practices that have proven successful. Of course, every practice is different and what has worked for one may not necessarily work for another. In many scenarios and cities, replicating the way that I built and run my Cash PT practice in Austin should work quite well; and in others it would potentially crash and burn.
Sharing with other cash practice owners
For this reason, I want this site to be a place where a wide variety of cash pay practices and services are represented. When Congress approves belt-tightening cuts that moratoriums and extensions simply can’t mitigate, this and other related sites need to have a large and diverse amount of information on how private practices can weather the storm. So I will do my best to highlight other successful cash-pay physical therapy practices, and we can all learn from the variety of approaches and marketing strategies out there. I’m happy to begin this component of DrJarodCarter.com by interviewing Aaron LeBauer of LeBauer Physical Therapy (Greensboro, NC).
Can you give us an overview of your Cash Pay PT Practice?
What are your treatments like? How long do you spend with each patient? How much do you charge? Do you have any employees? Etc …
Aaron: I have a small and low overhead cash practice and see all of my patients on the hour, so each treatment is approximately 45 minutes, and I charge $125 for the first visit which include an evaluation, treatment and I teach my patients to treat themselves using myofascial release techniques to the appropriate areas of their body. Each additional follow up visit is $95 and I accept cash, check, debit cards and all major credit cards. I provide each patient with a receipt that is customized in Quickbooks to provide their diagnosis code and treatment codes along with all of my practice information, signature and tax id number so they can submit the charges to their insurance company. My treatments are done in a quiet and low light treatment room on a portable and adjustable height massage table. I specialize in John Barnes Myofascial Release techniques which I combine with traditional Manual Physical Therapy, mobilization and manipulations, deep tissue massage and soft tissue mobilization. I teach my patients gravity and yoga based therapeutic exercises, when appropriate, which my patients perform on their own at home.
I use Quickbooks to track my patients and physician demographics, sales of self treatment items, and my income/expenses. I have a two room suite in an office building, a desk, some chairs, a massage table, small stereo, and sheets. I keep my patient records by hand on forms I created in manila folders. I have my office phone forward all calls to my Android phone so I can take calls and schedule patients where ever I am, if not in the office.
What types of patients do you see and what are the general characteristics of your average patient?
Aaron: The general characteristics of my typical patient are people in their late 30’s to early 60’s who have pain or movement problems that have not responded to traditional therapies. Usually the soft tissue component of their problem has not been addressed or has been ignored. I also see patients directly, without a physician’s referral, so that they can receive treatment for their acute injuries faster.
How do you market your services?
Aaron: The most effective marketing method for my practice are former and current patients who tell their family, friends and co-workers about my services. It is my policy or guideline to ask each patient to tell their circle of influence about me and I have this automated in my patient-only email autoresponder and ask personally when appropriate in conversation. Otherwise, Google has referred the most people to my practice who have no connection to any of my current patients. This is why I try to have a strong internet presence and spend a majority of my time developing my website, blog and internet presence. I have a website, blog, and Facebook fan page that I use to connect with potential patients as well as publish articles online. One of the ways I accomplish this is to have a ‘prospect stimulator’ or form on my website where anyone can give me their name and email address in return for a free eBook or report. They become part of my list and receive my bi-monthly newsletter. Many of these people do convert into patients and it is a great way for them to become loyal and refer their friends, etc. I am currently experimenting with another method of building my list using the ‘fishbowl’ method, where I place fishbowls or ballot boxes with an enticing offer at other businesses in the community. Also, each of my new patients is added to the newsletter list along with a patient-exclusive email series that compliments their treatment. I have been featured in the local newspaper in a “job talk” section and a business profile, and each brought in more new patients than the paid advertising I’ve used.
What aspects of your services are most compelling for prospective patients to schedule the first visit with you?
Aaron: I believe the answer to this is the conviction that I am the best therapist by the person that referred the new patient. I hope that the number 1 reason to schedule with me is my reputation which includes being a therapist who listens, cares, touches my patients and really helps people through their healing process. Many of my patients express that they want to get better without using medications or surgery and I hope others realize that I can see them immediately, without an additional visit to their physician. One of the other compelling reasons prospective patients schedule with me is that my treatments last an hour and use hands-on techniques. There is nothing quite like the healing touch of another person.
What do you say to patients who are wary of the cash-pay business model?
How do you get them to come in for treatment if they are concerned about cost and want to use insurance?
Aaron: I provide all of my patients with a receipt or “super bill” with all of the information they need to submit their own claim to their insurance company. I tell them that I am happy to answer any of their questions and that it is usually just a simple form that they need to fill out. I also have an “insurance benefits worksheet” posted on my website in my FAQ page that will help prospective patients through the phone call they can make to their insurance company to verify their benefits and figure out how to file their claim. I do not think there is anything I can say to convince a person, who’s number one concern is to use insurance, that therapy with me would still be a benefit to them and could possibly even be less expensive. Of course this all depends on their individual plan, benefits, deductible and co-pay. If this is a main concern or deal breaker, I generally offer to refer them to someone else locally.
Check out Aaron’s fully cash-based practice and different marketing methods at:
- LeBauer Consulting