Adding select physical therapy components to your chiropractic practice can boost revenue and offer new patient streams
While there are patients who may believe that chiropractic care and physical therapy are the same, there are a lot of differences between the two. As a result, adding select physical therapy components to your chiropractic practice could not only allow you to offer more necessary services, but also boost your revenue.
Jonathan Walker DC, CEO of Ethos Health Group, as well as a provider with Florida Spine & Injury, doesn’t have a physical therapy degree himself, but he does have physical therapists on staff who hold PT or DPT degrees. The practices provide both physical therapy as well as chiropractic care.
He took time to answer our questions about the benefits of adding select physical therapy components to a practice.
Why was it important to add physical therapy to your chiropractic business?
For us, it was primarily due to patient access to specific services. My offices see a lot of Medicare patients as well as traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who benefit from the unique skill set of a physical therapist (PT). In the case of Medicare, they will not cover services like therapeutic exercise or manual therapy unless performed by a PT/PTA, and in the case of TBI, PTs can often add a lot of insight into areas like vestibular and balance therapy.
During a patient evaluation how do you determine if the patient needs select physical therapy components for their care?
Many patients receive both chiropractic and physical therapy in conjunction with one another — this is primarily seen with our Medicare patients. If the patients will benefit from services like exercise or manual therapy with their chiropractic care, we will have them evaluated by our physical therapists.
From a business standpoint, the biggest benefit has been capturing income from Medicare-covered services that are not paid for if rendered by a chiropractor. In addition, patients really enjoy having a chiropractor, physical therapist, and medical provider all working together in one facility and communicating regarding their care.
DCs do need to understand that PTs are the most in-demand health care providers right now from a recruiting standpoint. So finding one who will be a good fit with your team can take some time, but it is worth not settling on just anyone.
Also be aware of what you are paying per hour or salary, as their profession is reimbursed based upon time spent with patients, and this can place a finite cap on what you can justify paying a PT. Obviously this depends on your payer mix, how many patients they will see daily, etc., but it is an important consideration that is different for chiropractors and medical providers.