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There are two options physiotherapists can fall into in their careers; either work for an institution or in a private practice setting. The latter may not be the right choice for everyone, and as a matter of fact, it’s not the right choice for most physiotherapists. However, many physical therapists definitely dream of owning and operating their own clinic. If you think you have what it takes to run your own clinic, then you have come to the right place. This entry will talk about the things involved in starting your own private practice therapy clinic. This includes finding the right location for your clinic, having a good management strategy, choosing a specialty, purchasing equipment, etc.
What Kind of Practice Should I Choose?
Partnership or Solo?
One of the first things you need to decide on is the kind of practice you want to do. Do you want to run the clinic on your own, or should you get a partner(s)?
Well, two heads are better than one and the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) actually agreed with it. According to them, partnership brings a lot of advantages for startup clinics, it’s what makes ownership possible in the first place, and can definitely bring the things that you’re missing, such as money, experience, business acumen and connections. To put it simply, partnership can fill the critical spaces you need to be successful. Not to mention you have someone to share risk and reward.
Running your own business on the other hand means you have the freedom to make your own decisions, and get all the profits. This of course also means you would have to deal with all the risks involved, such as paying your debts, which is what APTA calls ‘administrative burden.’
What About Group Practice?
If neither of the choices appeal to you, then you may want to consider group practice. You will surely benefit from the experience of other savvy professionals (business-minded therapists). Also, you will not have to shell out huge amount of money to invest for space and equipment, as you can take advantage of an already-established practice.
Compensation: Cash or Insurance
In traditional setting, physiotherapists, as with most healthcare practitioners, enter into contracts with insurance companies to provide medical services that are part of the insurance’s benefits. This model, the financial burden is on the insurance company, aside of course, from nominal cost patients must pay. However, reimbursements from insurer decreases, while the cost of keeping a clinic and providing services increases, as more and more physiotherapists opt for “out of network” and prefer cash-based practice.
Cash-based physical therapy practice frees you from the hassles of paperwork that comes with medical insurance reimbursements, making it more appealing. However, though it’s ideal for you, it’s not practical for patients, as some are simply not willing or able to pay for their physical therapy needs.
To help you decide, there are a couple of things you should consider, such as your community demographics, location and operating hours of your clinic, your expertise and services your patients can’t get elsewhere, and how other physical therapy clinics (massage clinics, acupuncture, chiropractic, health clubs, etc.,) are performing. This will help you identify the gaps you need to fill for running a business.
How Can I Find the Best Location for my Clinic?
Location is everything for any business. Thus, it is important that you do your homework ad not jump into the first available space that you find.
There are things you should look for, such as small business fees and tax implications in your city and state, direct access services you can offer that your state allows, how people live in your chosen community, how much of the population needs your physiotherapy services, your competition, what makes your area convenient for your target clients, accessibility, etc. In other words, you should conduct an ocular inspection and study your preferred locations for their potential.