Business Planning Checklist for Physical Therapists

The Integration of Wellness Coaching into the Practice

The following was designed to provide a starting point for those desiring to integrate credible wellness coaching into their Physical Therapy practice. Be sure to review any legal or licensure requirements, as those are not addressed within this document. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but will provide the user with much of what will be needed to either submit a proposal to a supervisor or appropriately plan for direct integration.

Abstract/Summary: The integration of wellness into our practice provides an opportunity to enhance our results, relevance and revenue simultaneously with a minimal investment of both time and resources.

Defining Wellness Integration in Our Context: Physical Therapists and PT Assistants have always incorporated wellness into our practices. At the core, we are wellness providers. The concept here is to expand beyond standard Physical Therapy treatment or the common inclusion of providing classes for or opening up our facilities to the general public. Rather, this will integrate wellness coaching in and around our practice, addressing the wide range of needs among our patients and in our communities in areas ranging from nutrition and weight management to life balance, stress management and more.

Background Information of Note: The American Physical Therapy Association has highlighted the value of the integration of wellness into our practices on several fronts, including a national task force, various articles within the Association’s PT in Motion periodical, and as the featured topic of discussion at the National Conference Oxford Debate in 2013. With current tools and resources available, a program can be effectively launched in less than 6 months at an estimated investment of under $3,000 with staff we currently have in place. This will allow us to enhance the outcomes and overall experience of our current patients, expand our pipeline for future patients, further build our reputation with referral sources, employers and the community, and provide a potential additional revenue stream for our organization.

Conservative Revenue Estimates:

  • Revenue related to the effective integration of wellness coaching includes but is not limited to the following:
    • Direct revenue (see below for examples) tied to individual wellness coaching services
    • Partner with Occupational Health groups to offer employee wellness services
    • Offer employee wellness services directly as an extension of current offerings
    • Growth in referrals for related cases
      • Example provided in webinar discussed the significant increase in spine referrals that resulted from launch of a specialty Pilates program, including several PTs earning certification as a Pilates Specialist. This was not direct “Pilates” revenue but had a very significant impact on the facility’s bottom line.
      • Similarly, referral sources are seeking providers who can meet the needs of their patients who have notable health and wellness issues beyond the specifics of the referring diagnosis. By developing a credible wellness program under our same roof, the benefits beyond direct “wellness” revenue may prove to be significant.
    • Enhanced community reputation for facility
    • Reduction in cancellations, no-shows and “lost patients” (ie, approved by insurance for 8 visits but only attend 4) through integration of wellness coaching
  • Direct Revenue (for individual coaching on a cash-paying basis) – Based on variable costs of $49/month + $5/client/month for Coach and Client web portal tools and resources. Salary costs not built into these examples due to ability to schedule around standard clinic downtime (ie, utilizing lighter times in facility such as Tuesday mornings to provide wellness coaching) but could be added here. Note- these estimates simply showing conservative direct revenue without considering the (possibly more valuable) benefits noted above.
    • 25 Clients at rate of $50/month
      • $12,912/year plus benefits noted above (referral sources, outcomes, etc)
    • 25 Clients at rate of $65/month
      • $17,412/year plus benefits noted above
    • 50 Clients at rate of $65/month
      • $35,412/year plus benefits noted above

Proposed Investment: Initial costs for implementation beyond any potential liability insurance adjustments and marketing expenses include the following…

  • Coaching Certification — $1,695
  • Travel expenses (single trip involved – all else virtual) — $750*
    • Distance Learning alternative also available, which eliminates travel expenses
  • Web portal set-up — $99
  • Monthly web portal investment — $49/month + $5/client
  • Salary costs – minimal if scheduled around current downtime

Planning

30 Day Action Plan:

  • Determine which individual(s) would be best fit to fill role of Wellness Coach
  • This (these) individual(s) begin CWC certification process
  • Share 120 Day Action Plan with facility team and begin brainstorming about specific ways to market the new program
  • Begin developing fliers/signage/etc. tied to the above for immediate use upon launch

90 – 120 Day Action Plan:

  • Individuals pursuing CWC certification enter final month of CWC certification process
  • Identify pricing structure
    • We recommend 3 tiers of rates, built around expanded services or interaction with the coach at each tier. In a clinic setting, you may also consider offering packages of coaching that combine both face-to-face and telephonic coaching in your various models and identified price points.
  • Launch initial marketing strategies tied to:
    • Current patients
    • Referral sources
    • Community resources
  • Emphasis on internal marketing, including:
    • Getting entire staff on board, from front desk to technicians to other Therapists. Provide a list of “talking points” to be used with patients regarding interest and value
    • Schedule time during staff meetings to provide initial overview and then continue in future meetings with a “coaching case study of the month” (or similar)
  • Consider offering a complimentary coaching session to all current patients upon discharge with a discounted rate to continue the first 90 days
  • Consider offering the same complimentary coaching session to referral sources or someone in his/her office to experience the benefit
  • Plan details around scheduling of wellness coaching sessions to minimize overlapping busiest times in the facility clinically. For example, if facility generally has a lighter caseload on Tuesday mornings, this time can be utilized through the electronic scheduling process available, to schedule wellness coaching sessions.

12 Month Action Plan

  • Review results after 6 and 12 months for:
    • Total marginal costs such as those noted above. Do not include salary costs unless additional hours were purposefully scheduled beyond historical averages to cover this expanded service. In many facilities, the typically “down” times can be utilized for wellness coaching without incurring additional FTE hours.
    • Total direct revenue from coaching
    • Total indirect revenue
      • Enhanced referrals from specific sources or organizations when compared to historical figures
      • Increased overall referrals related to wellness coaching aspects
      • Reduction in turnover among employees contributing to this program
  • Potentially adjust current tiers around rates and services based on what has been most popular among current clients/patients
  • Consider value of expansion to include additional coaches, locations, and partnerships.
  • Identify and launch additional marketing strategies around services provided.

Additional aspects to consider if offering this proposal to organization other than your own employer:

  • Your time (including travel, if applicable)
  • Marketing expenses
  • Liability insurance expenses
  • Limiting initial costs
  • Time management aspects to maximize integration without affecting patient care

For more information, please visit www.CatalystCoachingInstitute.com or contact us at [email protected] We provide the nation’s premier CWC (Certified Wellness Coach) certification, approved for CEUs by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Board of Certification (NATA-BOC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In addition, we offer a comprehensive coaching web portal that provides the essential tools for marketing your program, providing ongoing resources to clients, and managing your clients in a HIPAA compliant-ready setting complete with electronic scheduling, SOAP note formatting and much more, for as little as $5/client/month. Contact us at your convenience for a complete tour of the web portal option or to discuss additional details around the CWC certification.