19th July 2016
During my private practice coaching conversations I am often asked to help with this issue. Together we unpack the challenges and build unique solutions for the owner. Let’s take a look at the moving parts.
Billable hours is easily defined as the number of hours per day a therapist is expected to be delivering billable services.
Core to this discussion is the employee v’s contractor debate. When you engage employees you have to manage billable hours, when you have contractors you don’t. Simple. For employed therapists it’s critical to have the definition of billable hours and daily or weekly target written in the contract and position description. This sets clear expectations from the start. And from the start the expected billable hour target needs to be steadily worked towards by the therapists and the manager.
If it can be measured it can be managed. Therapists and owners need a simple way of measuring their billable hours. Some practices state that therapists generate ‘x’ hours of billable time per day, others aim for ‘x’ % billable hours across a week. Counting billable hours per day and tallying up at the end of the week is pretty doable from online calendars. This needs to be mapped across a month, printed off and stored in the therapists HR file.
Yes you may have to speak to your therapists about upping their billable hours. Be like a boss.
Performance management helps therapists hit their targets. The tendency is for managers to provide clinical supervision, focusing on tricky kids and technical therapy skills. This conversation needs to diversify. Stakeholder management, customer service, policy and procedures, time management and all other aspects of the therapists position description need to be listed, discussed, managed and recorded. Your business success depends on so much more than clinical experience and skill. Increasingly, employed therapists work towards KPI’s including minimum billable hour expectations.
Stack the deck. Help therapists hit their billable hours targets by ensuring a steady flow of new and returning clients and by having uber efficient admin systems. If therapists have time on their hands train them up to be powerful marketing agents, meeting and greeting future referrers, hand delivering promotional materials, running free screenings and generally spreading the word a strategic way. You don’t want therapists locked down in clunky admin systems. Review and adjust your support systems constantly. And no surprises when I say practice management software is critical for all private practices.
This article featured in the July Edition of Paeds Biz