A Shifting Landscape


Growing your business in changing times.

By Connie Ziccarelli

In order to navigate through all of the changes in our field, and health care as a whole, we need to embrace its constant growth and development. To stay competitive in an evolving industry, overcoming obstacles and finding real-life solutions is imperative to our success.

As providers, the complexity of these changes in health care can be overwhelming—and one can only imagine how perplexing it must be to the consumer/patient. Educating ourselves on the shifting landscape is key to building confidence in our patients. Trust in the provider-to-patient relationship is imperative and should be established from the first touchpoint through discharge at our practices.

As an industry, we have a tremendous responsibility to offer our consumers information, tools, and, of course, quality treatment. Empowering patients to take control of their plan of care educates them on the importance of continued care. We should personalize and customize the care to ensure consumer loyalty and longevity.

Providing solutions regarding the cost of care can be the answer to a pressing problem: the financial burden of improving pain through physical therapy. Payers are pushing for new payment mechanisms: pay for performance (evidence-based medicine), higher deductibles and coinsurances, and assistance in managing spending. Relying only on insurance payments is a thing of the past. Educating the patient on the reimbursement options as well as offering creative payment options is critical. Formulating a script can alleviate the task of collection after date of service—and the risk of nonpayment.

Simply stating what may not be obvious to patients will help them decide how to pay for treatment. For instance, “We accept checks, debit cards, credit cards, Health Savings Account (HSA) cards, and cash for the out-of-pocket expense today” brings to light the patients’ options, and they are not left with perplexing insurance barriers.

Adding a payment portal on your website provides patients with one-click payment opportunities. Offering automatic payments via their checking or savings accounts also offers an easy way to conduct business and can eliminate unnecessary overhead costs.

Verifying benefits and giving the patient a road map to their insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses before treatment begins is proactive. Discussing payment options will empower the patient and help grow your business. In health care, our industry should be known as having several payment opportunities, which can meet a real need for our customers. When an excellent clinical plan of care coexists with an excellent financial plan of care, you will see a formula for success that sets you apart from your competition in 2016!

Digital Security

Another challenge facing our practices in 2016 is the digital safety of our patients’ personal information. According to a recent study, 68 percent of patients are worried about the safekeeping of their data stored in smartphone health apps and tablets, and 76 percent are concerned about the overall security of their medical data.1 The fear of data breach is a valid concern in today’s tech world. Personal health care information encompassing sensitive health history and financial information in the hands of the wrong person can be devastating. Therefore, taking a serious approach and safeguarding the patient’s information must be at the forefront of our office management. Using third party resources that monitor systems against cybercrimes will help protect our patients’ data and build trusting and lasting relationships. Being entrusted with an individual’s private information is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Alleviating fears that digitally stored records could become public knowledge is of the highest priority.

Through growing and adjusting to these changing times, we will accomplish a culture of constant forward momentum.

“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.” —Anonymous


1. Don Antonucci. Top 5 health care industry issues and trends going into 2016. Website: www.regence.com. Published December 16, 2015. Accessed February 2016.


Connie Ziccarelli is the chairperson of the PPS Administrator’s Council. She is also the cofounder, principal, and chief operations officer of Rehab Management Solutions in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, where she manages, grows, owns, and operates a nationwide network of private practice physical therapy clinics.

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