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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Kirk

Protecting Your Pelvic Virtual Physical Therapy Practice

Continuing on with our series on starting a pelvic health virtual physical therapy practice, up to this point we've discussed the pros and cons of starting your own cash based practice, along with the legalities that need to be taken care of before opening your doors. Moving forward from those concepts, it's important that we dive into the systems and routines that need to be in place to protect yourself as a cash based pt and your practice.

If you missed the legal set up for your pelvic health virtual practice, read the blog post here.


As we've touched on before, starting a practice can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. If you've made it this far, you've taken the time to weigh the benefits and the risks and decided to take the leap. I'm so proud of you for that and I want to help you get set up to protect yourself as a pelvic health PT provider in your new business, whether it's virtual or in-person.


If you're struggling to decide on virtual pelvic health PT is the route for your business, read the blog post here.




Understanding Liability Insurance

If you've had the opportunity to spend time in the clinic, home health, hospital, or any other setting as a practicing physical therapist, you're more than likely familiar with liability insurance. Oftentimes when we work for an employer, they take care of providing us with the liability insurance we need to protect ourselves in case of accidents or worse, malpractice.


In my experience, the companies I've worked for have had a specific liability insurance provider and plan they set their therapists up with. Not to mention, they foot the bill taking out the guessing game and financial obligation for the clinician.


When starting your own pelvic health practice, it's still important that you seek out liability insurance for yourself and your business. The key difference with the type of insurance you will opt for has to do with the fact that you are now functioning as an organization. With that being said, the liability insurance that will be best for you is called "Type 2" or "Organizational" liability insurance. This is different from the "Type 1" or "Individual" liability insurance your employer provides, so keep this in mind when shopping for plans.


Why Do I Need Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance protects you from various risks that come with working in patient care and with people in general. Liability insurance is also sometimes known as malpractice insurance because it protects you if an accident happens resulting in legal fees, misconduct allegations, or damages to property.

I encourage you to check out different liability insurance providers before deciding on the plan you go with. Some more common providers include HPSO, CM&F, MyPTInsurance, and so many more. Take the time to request quotes on coverage from each insurance provider you're interested in working with and don't be afraid to get in touch with them to ask what amount of coverage they would recommend. After all, they're the experts and could have valuable information to share.


Crafting Comprehensive Consent Forms

Other things that are provided to you in the employer clinical setting include consent and intake forms. Once again, as the solo practice owner, these responsibilities fall on you to develop and implement within your practice.


First and foremost, creating a consent form is crucial to protecting yourself when it comes to treating patients in your business. The following list is some ideas of what should be included in the consent form, but you are always welcome to modify things as you see fit:

  • Consent to treat the patient

  • Privacy policies

  • Cancellation and payment policies

  • Photo/video consent (if applicable)

  • PHI (Protected Health Information) disclosure


At the end of the form, make sure to have the client sign and date to ensure validity of the information you've received.


Thorough Intake Forms

The other form or paperwork that is key to having as a practice owner are intake forms. Intake forms can help provide you with insight as to what's going on with the patient before you ever speak with them in person. It's important to mention that intake forms are not as critical as consent forms, but they can be helpful for gathering information.


Each practice owner is going to have their preference on the extensiveness of their consent form. Personally, I function the best when going into a client's evaluation when provided with basic information only. I like to talk with the patient and ask further questions to clue me into their symptoms and current situation. Other therapists prefer a more extensive approach to intake forms, having the client fill out as many details as possible about their symptoms, other dimensions of health, and so on.


To get an idea of what can be included in consent forms, see the list below:

  • Personal and contact information

  • Emergency contact details

  • Medical and social history

  • Red flag questions for potential referrals

  • Holistic inquiries (e.g., stress levels, nutrition)


Keep in mind there is no right or wrong way to go about creating an intake form, do what works best for you.


Utilizing Technology for Forms

As we know, technology is helping processes, even in the therapy world to become more streamlined and efficient. The same can be true when creating and implementing intake and consent forms. If you're just getting started with your practice, there's no need to invest a bunch of money into a fancy EMR or form creation system.


One of the easiest ways to get started is by signing up for a Google Workspace plan, which is around $12 per month. Use Google Forms to create your intake and consent forms, allowing you to provide forms to your patients when appropriate and keep track of their forms digitally. It's also important to mention that Google Workspace is HIPAA compliant, allowing you to effectively protect your client's information when received.


Conclusion

Conclusion

As you get going in your journey of starting and launching your pelvic health practice, either virtual practice or in-person, protecting your practice is essential no matter the setting you choose or the niche of your business.

To learn more about niching down for success as a cash based practice, read the blog post here.


Making sure to protect yourself with professional liability insurance and consent forms, along with gathering important information with intake forms will allow you to be well on your way to treating clients without worry.


I hope this information has been helpful and if you have questions about starting your practice or need help with ensuring you and your practice are protected, get in touch with me! I offer business consulting services to practice owners to help them stay on the right path and grow their business.

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