Private Practice- Will You be a Survivor?

Money Money Money

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“A recent survey by Accenture has shed light on the matter of shrinking numbers of medical private practices and has revealed that especially small private practices are on the decline. The survey also shows that individual practitioners are in declining at the rate of two percent annually and would decline by five percent annually by the year 2013.” (Excerpt from Private Practices Surviving Healthcare Reforms:  Revenue Management.)

The glamour associated with private practice is often shrouded in the gut-busting challenge of juggling business and clinical demands. Dealing with downward payment trends and increasing management of services resulting in the need for more clients.  What is the key to being a private practice survivor?

In a word: REVENUE.

Generating revenue is key to growing your business & managing it is equally essential!

What are four ways that practitioners need to focus on revenue generation?

  1. Identifying your target market
  2. Creating & sharing your brand message
  3. Leveraging your relationships
  4. Jumping into an integrated personal and social media marketing approach and grow your business

What are the five ways we can optimize revenue?

  1. Understand your  costs, pricing and contracting
  2. Identify the key practice metrics you will monitor
  3. Master coverage issues & opportunities
  4. Establish patient payment policies & parameters
  5. Create systems to insure proper billing, documentation & receivable management

You can be a survivor & thrive in the next phase of practice!


Interested in this topic? Lynn Steffes is presenting at ASHA Health Care/Business Institute 2012, taking place April 28-29 in Memphis, Tennessee. Visit the ASHA website for conference information and to register–early bird registration ends March 13 so don’t delay!


Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT is president/consultant of Steffes & Associates, a nationwide rehabilitation consulting service based in WI. Her areas of expertise include marketing and program development, customer service initiatives, managed care contracts and payer relations, and optimal reimbursement and documentation strategies. Steffes is a 1981 graduate of Northwestern University and completed her transitional DPT in December of 2010. In addition to her work as a consultant, she is a frequent speaker at national and state meetings. She is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and serves on the board of directors for the private practice section of APTA.


  1. says

    Well, I have gone from being one of the 99% to one of the 2%. I suppose if you add them both together, I’m at 101%. But then, if I survive until 2013, perhaps another 5%. Retiring at 106% sounds pretty good to me, actually. At that level, I will have: (1) successfully exited 9 years earlier from the current health care system, which demands that I support a profit-driven mechanism for selection of clients and administration of my services, without much regard to need or professional ethics; (2)enjoyed an amazing run of client-driven journeys into the unknown, with interventions based upon their priorities, and reaching deep into my soul to deliver; (3) attempted and failed to “market” my services to “the right” people; (4) refused to become a provider for third party payers, whose only goal is to deliver the least to the fewest, and to alter the way we deliver our care, independent of anyone’s criteria for improvement except their own, (5) refused to compromise on my “case mix,” so that I would be treating the impairment “most likely to succeed” (children on the spectrum) and being incompetent and unhappy at best; (6)spent hours thinking and planning for the client and in finding alternative ways of funding my personal checkbook; (7) negotiated with landlords and utility providers to cut costs; (8)shared stories with others who feel as I do, and who, like me, are teetering on the brink of dissolution. I know my work is valuable, needed, respected, and provides me with a personal sense of purpose and accomplishment I never had as a traditional therapist, nor would have if I followed all the dictates necessary to become financially solvent as a private practitioner. I do what I do, and hope that I can continue to do it my way. I don’t devalue the information private practitioners need to survive. I hope they do. I hope I do. I just, hope.

  2. says

    Creativity is key. Networking and helping other private practice owners is also key. I find that the more I connect with business owners and share what I am doing, I have the opportunity to learn what they are doing. Many times, we both walk away refreshed, renewed, and inspired. As SLPs and business owners, we need to stay inspired. We also need to stay courageous and bold as we try new business plans, business models.
    One last thought…we become our words! We need to watch our words as we talk about our future, our profession, our hopes and dreams. If we think ourselves common, we will speak of ourselves as common. We are more than common, we are more than unique.