Therapy Practice Solutions
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, Therapy Practice Solutions Virtual Assistant
As January quickly comes to an end, you’re likely looking ahead to the rest of the year. Now that your regular January tasks are out of the way, what is left to do for your business? What goals should you aim for? What legal requirements should you keep an eye on?
If you haven’t made a plan for your practice past January, don’t worry - we’re here to help! If you’re not sure, check out our Mental Health Therapist Checklist for the first quarter below, from the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions!
Diversify Where Your Income Comes From
When you own your private practice, you have a world of possibilities regarding income streams! Mental health practitioners don’t just have to stick to the therapy room; in fact, only having income from 1 on 1 therapy may not be the most effective way to increase your pay. As a private practice mental health clinician, you can:
Write a guided prompt wellness journal and sell these on a site like Amazon
Make templates for progress notes, assessments, and more and sell these on Etsy
Record an online, self-guided course and launch on a site like Teachable
Host a webinar, get approved for CEU hours, and sell it to other clinicians
Provide consultation for associate-licensed clinicians or those looking to launch their own practice
The best part about many of these avenues is they’re passive income - for example, you only have to make a guided prompt journal once and sit back as people buy it! In the first 3 months of the year, consider adding another income revenue to your practice.
Ensure Claims are Corrected and Resent to Insurance
If you are someone that handles insurance billing, you know the worst part about January - all the denials that come from submitting claims with inactive member/subscriber IDs on them! While you may not catch all claims with old insurance numbers in January, by the end of the first quarter these should be corrected, resubmitted, and paid.
One way to help minimize rejected claims due to old member IDs is to reverify all clients’ subscriber IDs in the first week of January. This may be feasible if you’re a solo practice, but may be harder if you’re a group practice. Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to re-verify insurance for you!
Make a Progress Note Plan
We’ve all been there - we convince ourselves we can let one progress note sit for more than 24 hours, and two weeks later, we have 40 progress notes to do. Yikes!
In the first quarter of the year, make a plan to keep progress note completion sustainable for you. Ultimately, insurance auditors can see when your progress notes were signed (if you are signing and locking them appropriately, that is), and if documentation is more than a few days after the date of service, this increases the chance of insurance denying the claim.
Additionally, doing your notes on time helps keep you protected - if you push your notes off for a month and something happens to the client (like illness or injury), your notes may be requested if they’re applicable or needed. You’ll want to have these on hand!
We hope this blog post helps you set goals for the first quarter of 2023! Is one of your goals to hire a teammate who can do all your marketing, website design, insurance billing and claim submission, phone/email callbacks, scheduling, and more? Our goal for 2023 is to make your life easier! Reach out today to Therapy Practice Solutions to find a Virtual Assistant who will make your 2023 dreams a reality. We look forward to hearing from you!
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, TPS VA
As January begins and thus a new year, many clinicians are talking about goal-setting. You may find resolutions to be a helpful practice as you begin 2023. Maybe you prefer something like intentions instead. You may even go full-therapist mode and set some SMART goals for yourself! Regardless of how you’re setting goals in January, you’re likely wondering: what do I need to do in 2023 as a mental health clinician who runs their own private practice?
Goal-setting in your business is beneficial in the same way it’s beneficial for clients. Goal-setting makes us feel more focused. We feel more motivated, like we have a plan-of-action that makes us ready to go. Goal-setting also lets us know if we’re achieving our benchmarks - it keeps us on track with our long-term plans.
If you’re feeling lost, it’s easy to wonder “what should I, as a mental health therapist, do in January?”. If you’re not sure, check out our Mental Health Therapist Checklist for January below, from the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions!
Update Your Website + Social Media Marketing
We get it - many clinicians don’t love website design or social media marketing. However, updating your website periodically lets search engines like Google know that your website is active and your business is running. Not to mention - your website should be up-to-date regarding your specialties, training, and fees, so an occasional update is needed!
Wondering what you should update if nothing is new for your business? Consider adding a blog to your website and posting at least twice a month. Blogs increase the amount of keywords on your website, meaning you’ll appear in more keyword searches. Making a blog relevant to your niche can help ensure clients who fit your target population are finding you when they’re conducting an online search.
Obtain (Re)signed Consents
All therapists should send out consents when scheduling a client for the first time, including a consent for services and a release to insurance, if applicable. However, did you know that consents should be recollected yearly?
While the requirement is to obtained a resigned consent a year after the client begins services with you, it may feel easier to just obtain a resigned consent in January of each year to not have to keep track of a bajillion different client forms (okay, less than a bajillion, but sometimes it feels like it!). Consider resending your consent forms to all clients in January of each year and bringing it up in your first session of 2023 with each client.
Send a Fee Schedule Increase Request to Insurances
Your fee schedule with insurance companies is your contracted rate, or how much insurance agrees to pay you for services. Insurances don’t advertise this of course, but you can submit a letter yearly to negotiate a fee increase with the insurance companies you’re paneled with.
The Group Practice Exchange suggests including the following in your letter:
- List your specialties as well as any formal training you’ve received (for example, if you serve those with eating disorders and have a CEDS certification, this would be relevant for insurance to know
- Inform insurances of your set rate (for example, if you bill private pay clients $180 per session, include this exact number)
- Compare your contracted rates with that insurance panel with your regular rate (for example, if you charge $180 for 55 minutes but insurance only pays you $75, mention this)
- Let them know what percent of your caseload uses their insurance (for example, if you see 30 clients weekly and 15 of them use BlueCross BlueShield, let BCBS know that 50% of your caseload are their members)
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, Therapy Practice Solutions Virtual Assistant
With the last week of December starting today, goals are likely on your mind. We aren’t talking about New Year’s Resolutions, though (because let’s face it - very few people make it through November with their resolution intact!). We’re talking about setting goals for your private practice in 2023!
Business goals are a vital part of running your own company, or even just working for yourself. Goals help us to stay on track with our dreams. They help us to make and take actionable steps. They make us feel more motivated to commit to change. And these are just some of the benefits of goal-setting!
If you are wondering what kind of goals you should be setting as a mental health clinician, the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions are here to help! Check out three areas of goal-setting for your mental health private practice, as well as some common goals you can modify for your own practice.
Practice Vision Goals
You likely had a pretty clear vision when you opened up your practice of how it was going to go. You may have been clear on your dream client, how you wanted your website to look, and what colors you wanted your logo to incorporate. However, you may have gotten bogged down in all the details of running your own private practice - like getting a business license, choosing a fee, making intake paperwork, choosing an EHR - that the vision slipped away as you prioritized getting all the little details ironed out.
If you feel your passion for your business has been overtaken by your daily administrative tasks, it’s time to set some goals to remember why you started your private practice to begin with! Here are a few goals to clarify your vision for your practice:
- Write a mission statement to add to my website that clarifies my ideal client and how I’d like to make them feel.
- Update my Psychology Today page to reflect my ideal population as well as my skills and training.
- Write down three feelings I’d like clients to get from their time with me (ie, safe, supported, confident, cared for, skillful …) and make an action plan on what that looks like in practice.
- Journal about why I started my own practice in the first place, and where I see it going in the next 5 years.
Work-Life Balance Goals
Speaking of reasons you started your own practice - one was likely to have a better work-life balance! Again, this is one of those details that may have been really important to you in the beginning, and as your practice grew and grew, you started to devote more time to work than to actual life. Here are a few goals you could incorporate to cultivate that ideal work-life balance:
Make a budget. At the same time, consider how many clients I’d like to schedule per week. Calculate how high my rate will need to be to fit my budget and my ideal schedule.
Ensure I am blocking time on my calendar each day for notes and quiet time and commit to not scheduling clients in that time.
Hire a Virtual Assistant to take my administrative tasks so I can devote more time to myself.
Make a template for my progress notes so the time it takes to write a note is cut down.
Commit to taking a full one-hour lunch with no work during it, and leave notes at the office (or in the home office) when I commit to be done for the day.
Marketing + Client Growth Goals
Marketing and taking on more clients go hand-in-hand; after all, how will new clients hear about you? While many clinicians understand marketing is an important factor of running a business, things like making social media posts or running ads on Google aren’t things that are taught in graduate school. Check out these goals for marketing as well as for growing your caseload in 2023.
Write out the social media theme of each month and make January’s social media calendar.
Start a newsletter and add a spot to sign up for it on both my website and my social media platforms.
Research SEO or hire an SEO expert to ensure my website is being seen by potential clients.
Ensure I have a clear vision of my niche population to better target my marketing.
Hire a social media manager to make posts for me.
Attend 3 networking events with other therapists or clients in my ideal population (for example, a convention for new mothers if your speciality is perinatal counseling) in the first quarter of 2023.
What To Do With Winter Cancellations
When you picture December, what do you imagine? Do you think of snow? Holiday traditions? Do you feel happier - like the holiday festivities coming up will be full of joy and excitement? Do you feel anticipation for holiday traditions? Are you excited to potentially connect with friends and family?
Or - do you picture stress? Do you think of how many gifts you’ll have to buy and wrap? Do you think of travel expenses, or how much it will cost to host your family in your home? Are you concerned about inflation, debt, or something else financially-oriented?
The reality of the holidays is that a significant number of Americans are stressed out due to financial concerns. Some of the top concerns include financial strain (with 62% sometimes worried about this), commercialism (with 53% worried about this), and the pressure of purchasing presents (with 47% worried about this). If you’re looking for advice on reducing financial strain that is not therapy-related, check out these tips.
If you’re a mental health therapist, financial strain may be even more prevalent during the holiday season. Many therapists experience a multitude of winter cancellations - that means clients canceling due to their own holiday plans. Not to mention, you’re likely taking some time off for yourself and your own traditions during the holidays!
Looking for tips on what to do with winter cancellations? Check out just three below, courtesy of the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions!
Prepare Financially in the Months Prior
You may not have done this in 2022, but make it a goal in 2023 to prepare financially ahead of time. While you’re adjusting your budget for 2023, be sure to include a fund for unexpected cancellations - essentially, giving yourself paid time off for the holidays! If you want advice on a budget for your mental health practice, check out this template. Preparing for a mass of cancellations, either from your clients or yourself, can feel easier when you’re setting aside a set amount of money weekly or monthly for your “unexpected cancellations” fund.
Check out some of these government-funded ways to obtain sick pay or PTO here!
Send Reminder Texts/Emails
Let’s face it - people tend to have a lot on their mind in December! You may find clients are forgetting their sessions as they have things to do, or are canceling at the last minute when they double-book themselves.
One way to help combat untimely cancellations is to send reminder texts or reminder emails. If you have an EHR system like SimplePractice or Theranest, you can have reminder texts and emails automatically sent out. If your EHR doesn’t automatically have this feature, check out just a few of these appointment reminder apps that are HIPAA-compliant.
Don’t Be Afraid of Your Cancellation Fee
Speaking of cancellations - you have a fee for a reason! As therapists, we have big hearts. We may find tougher aspects of running a business, like charging for cancellations, icky. However, if you’ve included your late cancellation or no show policy in your informed consent and explicitly listed a fee - which we highly recommend doing - you should feel empowered to enforce that policy. Charge for those late-cancellations and no-shows!
We hope this blog post helps you combat the financial strain from increased cancellations in the winter season! If you’re looking for someone to help you collect on balances and remind clients of their appointments, Therapy Practice Solutions is here to help. Not only can we help with clients, but we can help with social media, blog posts, website design, insurance billing, credentialing, and more! Reach out today - we look forward to hearing from you!
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, Therapy Practice Solutions Virtual Assistant
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many clients, therapists, and business owners alike are taking time to reflect on what we feel thankful for. Just some things you may be thankful for include your family and friends, career, education, or financial stability. Other things you may be thankful for include personal traits, such as your ability to be flexible and adapt to change, your patience, your kindness, and more. You may be grateful for your abilities as well, such as the way you run your business, for leading your team, or for the way you show up for clients every day.
If you are feeling a little low on thankfulness (we’ve all been there, especially when things are going poorly for us!), here is a list of 90 things to be grateful for today. If this list isn’t personal enough for you, try these 10 journal prompts from the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions to get into the Thanksgiving spirit today!
Can you think of a time you stopped and looked around to say, “man, I’m really lucky/grateful/thankful/blessed”? If you can, write about that memory. If not, what are some experiences that would make you feel that way, and how can you achieve them?
Who is your best friend, confidant, and biggest fan? Write a letter to them, thanking them for what they do for you. You can choose to send it or not.
Now, who in your life are YOU the biggest fan of? What makes you admire them? How have they made your life better?
Are your basic needs being met? If they are, are more than your basic needs being met (ie, have you gone on a vacation recently? Do you have a savings account? Are you contributing towards retirement?)? Take a moment to reflect on how your hard work and life circumstances contribute towards your success.
When you feel “thankful” or “gratitude”, how does it feel in your body? Describe it.
How do you show your thankfulness to others? Do you donate, or spend time with family and friends, or deliver words of affirmation?
Now that you’ve identified how you give thanks, when was the last time you did so? How did it make the receiving party feel?
Similarly, when was the last time you received gratitude from someone else? How did it make you feel?
How often do you feel joy? What makes you feel joy often? How can you incorporate more joy-producing experiences in your daily routine?
Finally, what does Thanksgiving (either the holiday or the action of giving thanks) mean to you? What does gratitude and gratefulness mean? Are they values in your life? Why or why not?
Resources to Celebrate Neurodivergence in the Therapy Office
October is the perfect time to celebrate neurodiversity as the whole month is ADHD Awareness Month, and October 11-17 is OCD Awareness Week! What is neurodiversity? Neurodiversity or neurodivergence is a term used to describe brains that function in a different way than is considered “neurotypical.” This may look like folx who have a hard time focusing, who need to stick to certain patterns, who have difficulty deciding how to tackle tasks, or anyone whose brain causes them to act, think, and perceive things differently.
While there are multiple forms of neurodivergence (including being on the Autism Spectrum, having a learning disability, and so on), today’s blog post highlights two forms: ADHD and OCD. Folx with ADHD are neurodivergent as their brain may cause them to have difficulties in remaining still, focusing, delegating tasks, time management, and more. Folx with OCD are neurodivergent as they may need patterns, may believe an action will relieve their thoughts (the basis of compulsions), and may experience intrusive thoughts.
If you’re a mental health clinician that works with ADHD and OCD clients, you’re working with a form of neurodivergence. If you feel like you’re lacking resources to properly assist your client in their way of thinking, the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions have you covered! Here are some of our favorite resources to celebrate neurodivergence, in and out of the therapy room:
Resources for ADHD:
ADDitude Magazine: this magazine is available in a hard copy format, in webinars, and in an electronic newsletter format. ADDitude is great at providing resources for multiple folx in the ADHD-realm - that is, there are sections for parents of children with ADHD, friends of those with ADHD, and ADHD-ers themselves. There are even free webinars for mental health clinicians to help you understand and work with clients with ADHD!
Inflow: this app is one of our top recommendations for clients with ADHD. The app, which can be downloaded on a phone or computer, helps ADHD-ers track their skill development. There are multiple skill trackers, such as procrastination, organization, and mental clarity. This is a great resource to use with your clients!
Routinery: while this app isn’t strictly for neurodivergent folx, it’s a great resource to use! Routinery is an app which helps folx track their self-care routines. This would be a great resource to use with a neurodivergent client who is having a hard time committing to self-care throughout the week, which can be hard when you struggle with time management and prioritizing tasks.
Resources for OCD:
MoodTools: this app is a tracker for your fluctuating mood throughout the day. While it’s designed for depression, you can easily track intrusive thoughts, triggers, compulsions, and subsequent thoughts and actions with this app. This app would be a great resource to use in session to help clients with OCD realize their thought patterns and triggering events.
GG OCD: this app will feel much more like you’re playing a game than building skills for OCD! GG OCD has a variety of levels in which clients will be guided through important OCD management skills, like self-care. Use this for your clients that are incentivized by completing a game!
nOCD: this app is much more clinical in nature. nOCD guides clients through Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) in a weekly format. This may be a good app to use while in session together.
For Clinicians Themselves:
International OCD Foundation: IOCDF has a training institute directly on their website. Aside from their direct training, IOCDF can connect you with local events (such as their Million Steps for OCD Walk happening throughout October!).
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Just like IOCDF, CHADD has a range of free and low-cost webinars to help you feel more comfortable supporting your clients with ADHD. Aside from training, CHADD also provides volunteer opportunities and updates on their legal advocacy for those with ADHD.
Neurodivergent Therapists: if you are a neurodivergent clinician yourself, this is a great resource! All events are led by other neurodivergent clinicians, and you can host an event yourself if you wish. They also provide support groups if you’d like to connect with other neurodivergent clinicians!