It was 2004, and I was loving my work as an athletic trainer in Northwest Tennessee industrial clinic. To say we were busy would be an understatement as fifteen patients in an eight-plus hour day was the norm for each of us on staff. I was the constant face of the clinic, but it also included a full time PT, PTA, and OTR. We were young, energetic professionals, and humping it to take care of the injured workers!
Our timesheets were due weekly – on a Tuesday if I remember correctly. One day it hit me…I hadn’t turned in a timesheet for a couple of weeks. Had I gotten too busy to remember it? I panicked, because as with many young professionals, my wife and I were living paycheck to paycheck. This certainly presented more than a couple problems, to say the least.
My initial frightened reaction was to call my boss…and to say the least, she had my back. This kind soul had submitted my hours for me – she knew I had been working like crazy, and didn’t even have an ounce of doubt about it. So she just submitted my 40 hours for me. God bless you Tammy!
Moving forward to present day, I make sure our therapists’ timesheets are submitted each Monday by noon, or they don’t get paid in a timely manner for their work. Submitting timesheets past the Monday noon deadline could result in at least one week’s delay of receiving their paycheck.
Notice I said “make sure”…and not “responsible for turning in therapist timesheets.” There’s a difference, albeit subtle, but I find myself explaining this concept time and time again. So, here are some recommendations to ensure this process goes smoothly, and our therapists get paid timely.
- Therapist should submit their timesheet to the facility or home health agency along with patient documentation.We process timesheets on a weekly basis, so this should be completed as soon as possible after the last day of service provided for the week. This is often accomplished via fax or in person. If your last day is on a Wednesday, submit your timesheet that Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest.
- If the timesheet is submitted via fax, the therapist should contact the facility or agency to confirm receipt of their timesheet and documentation, and ask them to fax to our office ASAP. Our timesheet requires approval (signature) by the facility or home health agency for the therapist to be paid. This system of checks and balances ensures the accuracy of the hours or visits completed. This is often where the process gets delayed – possibly a fax that didn’t go through or was misplaced.
- The facility or agency will review, sign, and fax the therapist timesheet to our corporate office. The timesheets received by Monday morning are crosschecked with our scheduler to ensure we have received everyone’s timesheets for the previous week of scheduled hours and visits. For those timesheets not in, we make the appropriate contacts to ensure their receipt. An assertive therapist should contact our office by Monday at noon to confirm the receipt of their signed and approved timesheet.
So there you have it. As I’ve said with other things, it’s not rocket science. But sometimes technology does fail and delay the process. Ultimately, as contract therapists, it is the therapist’s responsibility to submit their timesheets in a timely manner. We’ll fax those as needed for the approval and signature of the facility or home health agency, but that delays the process and risks a delayed paycheck.
If you’re a contract therapist, how do you handle your timesheets to ensure you get paid for your services? Or if you’re an employer that utilizes independent contract therapists, how do you verify accuracy of hours and consequently pay them?