When Should You Hire a New Therapist?

In another blog post, I discussed three ways to find new staff for your physical therapy business private practice. This time, let’s address a question that arises before that question comes up. It is:

“When do I hire a new staff physical therapist?”

HIREIt’s a bit of a catch-22. In order to grow your practice and increase revenue, you need to be able to hire more physical therapists.

At the same time, when you hire a new physical therapist, you are taking on a new expense; one that cuts into your bottom line.

I’ve worked with hundreds of practices all over the country and I’ve found that practices go through three stages of physical therapy business.

As a practice owner, you’ll go through three stages as you evolve and grow:

  • I need new patients
  • I need better systems
  • I want to add more clinics / potentially sell my practice

As you evolve and go from first to  second (and second to the third stage), you need to hire more physical therapists. As you increase revenue, you can create jobs and live a life of freedom and independence.

There are 4 factors that will help you determine whether you should be hiring a new physical therapist or not.

  • The existing physical therapist (whether it is you or someone else) should have a full caseload.

 Having a full case load is extremely important. There are different schools of thought about an exact number, but it’s safe to assume that 50 and 60 visits a week constitutes a full case load.

Think about it, if someone is working full time, 40 hours a week, he should be able to see at least 40 visits … but preferably anywhere between 50 to 60 visits. This depends on several factors as well, like: a) the complexity of the patient, b) on the skill and the technique of the physical therapist, c) on the type of treatment whether modalities were used, d) whether manuals were used, and so on and so forth.

  • The full caseload should last 8 weeks or more (rule out flash in the pan spikes in patient visits).

 So if a physical therapist had a full case load for at least 2 months, you can be fairly certain that the full caseload is not just a bit of a fluke but actually a sign of a successful physical therapy business practice and of growth in the practice.

  • How long a patient has to wait to get in for the initial evaluation.

If a patient has to wait for more than 3 or 4 days to be seen by you in your clinic, that tells you that you are extremely busy, that tells you that it’s time to a hire a new physical therapist.

Think about it, if a patient is waiting for more than 3 or 4 days:

They’re going to look somewhere else …

… the referring doctor might say, ” You know what, they are too busy, I’m just going to send the patient somewhere else.” Again, don’t be complacent and assume that patients will wait, doctors wait.

There is a bit of a breaking point and you don’t want to test that because once you start to lose the patient and the referral sources, you’re not going to be in the happy situation of having a backlog of patients. So if the patient is waiting for 3 to 4 days for an evaluation, you need to critically look at your schedule and how your scheduling is done or you may just need to hire a new physical therapist.

  • A majority of your patients generally come to physical therapy at least 3 times a week and patient cancellation rates are minimized.

If you are so busy that you cannot see your patient 3 times a week and now the patient is being seen twice a week instead of 3 times a week. That’s a bit of a warning sign; either there is something wrong with the way you are scheduling patients, or you are just too busy and you need to hire a new therapist for your physical therapy business.

I am all in favor of hiring a new physical therapist (or PTA) and I hope you can do that and live a life of freedom and independence. That’s exactly how my coaching clients and my mastermind clients grow their business, reach their goals, and take time off.

Join us for the #1 Rated Physical Therapy Business Conference in the Country.

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April 21, 22, 23 in Orlando, Fl.

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