Yesterday, I shared how many hours I had to work to meet the demands of insurance requirements. I loved working with my patients but the documentation on the electronic medical record for 3 hours every night was killing me.
I literally went to work at 7:15 AM and left at 5:45 PM. I ate dinner with my girls then they went to bed. From 8-11 PM, I finished my patient notes. My husband sometimes got home from 2nd shift and went to bed before I did!
When I had that intestinal cancer scare in October 2014, for 10 days I thought I was going to die at a young age and leave my kids motherless. It was scary stuff and re-prioritized my thinking. In June 2015, I resigned and opened my physical therapy practice that didn’t take insurance. Do you know that it took 6 months of being home more frequently with my girls for my littlest girl to hug me?
Now she hugs me all the time and it’s the best feeling ever.
Did I make the right decision to resign and start my own practice?
Since I didn’t take insurance, I didn’t have to deal with insurance, right?
My People paid me directly for my services and I gave them an invoice that they could submit to their insurance to get reimbursed directly by their insurance company. The problem was My People were getting frustrated because they didn’t understand insurance and why their insurance wasn’t paying them back. I tried calling the insurance on My People’s behalf. I literally spent 1 hour talking with an insurance representative and trying to help her understand that my patient had paid me in full so the insurance needed to pay the patient. The representative kept asking for my address to send me a check. I kept saying, “You don’t need to send me the check. You need to send the patient the check.”
They didn’t get it. I was frustrated. My People were frustrated so I decided to go in-network.
I was worried because I knew how I could be limited by the insurance rules and I knew I wouldn’t receive payment in a timely manner or in a fair and reasonable amount.
At the same time I decided to go in-network, I started test piloting online physical therapy with video chat. I started finding success and rave reviews with the online sessions. These sessions are great for busy executives who need physical therapy at the convenience of their smartphone and in between meetings. Online video chats work well for stay-at-home moms who could schedule physical therapy during nap time without worrying about getting their infant into and out of an infant carrier. The sessions are also great for busy people trying to work and get their kids to sports. PT is right at their fingertips anywhere they have smartphone, tablet, or laptop access. It was great for me, too, because I could help My People on video chat from my own home!
As I noticed my bank deposits coming in from insurance companies, I quickly became disheartened and knew I had made a mistake in accepting in-network insurance. These are actual payments I received:
Yep, that’s right. These are actual insurance payments deposited in my bank account.
I knew I couldn’t continue like this. If I kept the current insurance contracts, I would go out of business. If I returned to out-of-network, then I would still face limitations from insurance with visit limits, deductibles, co-pays and worst of all - My People would have to deal with the insurance company again! Not fun!
So, I decided to change the game. I don’t want to play their game anymore. I want to take care of MY People! I want My People to WIN!
So, what did I do so My People can WIN and get the care they deserve at their fingertips?
Stay tuned and look for tomorrow's final blog in this series entitled My People Are Winning!
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