By Sandra Norby, PT, DPT
Happy January 2019! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday season and have set your resolutions for 2019 — and benchmarking is included in those resolutions.
Okay, maybe you are not the resolution type, but hopefully you already incorporate benchmarks into your business process.
Benchmarking. A beautiful word that brings objective data into our business lives. I am going to share a story that may sound familiar to you. Training and coaching physical therapists to choose current procedural terminology (CPT) codes that accurately reflect the prescribed treatment has always been a challenge for me. Physical therapists tend to undercode and that behavior is problematic for two reasons. First, undercoding gives the payer inaccurate data about that treatment. Second, if they are not coding to reflect the treatment, money has been left on the table. Basically, the treatment session has been undervalued monetarily. Benchmarking has been the primary tool I have used in our practice to educate and train our team on this critical topic. Using objective data from a large database turns the conversation from “the owner trying to make more money,” to “accurately reporting the use of our professional skills.”
I have been involved in Peer2Peer since its inception. Within this group of practice owners of all sizes, a two-year benchmarking study was conducted. As I sat in the presentation listening to the results last year, I had a huge “aha!” moment. I was able to tie the Peer2Peer numbers to our clinic numbers and then to our functional outcome scores. It was right there on paper—the therapist who was significantly under the benchmark for visits per episode of care also showed the lowest improvement in function and pain. I finally had the hard data to coach that therapist on why they should not discharge a patient at less than optimal recovery.
I am confident you can feel my passion for benchmarking and what a significant impact it has had on our business. I urge you to consider joining the Private Practice Benchmarking (PPS) benchmarking program that is now open to those not in the Peer2Peer network. For those of you new to benchmarking, please email me at email@example.com, and I will share my scripting for training.
Until next time,