I was a bit naïve, and thought I knew all the reasons a facility could use PRN Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapy help. Well, I was recently humbled and introduced to yet another reason.
Now, you may be blessed with a large staff of therapists – so much so that caseloads on sick days and vacations can be absorbed by the group as a whole. If so, congratulations! But what about those facilities that aren’t blessed with numerous therapists on staff? If you’re a one-PT rehab facility, you could certainly use the help.
This is especially the case with a scenario I was recently presented. The rehab facility in question had one part-time PT, and another PRN PT. This arrangement was more than sufficient, but it wasn’t without a curveball. The facility was switching over to an electronic form of time clocks called Kronos. I’m somewhat familiar with Kronos from an employee standpoint as my former employer implemented this during my tenure…and I’ll just say that it had its advantages and disadvantages. It seems logical for a healthcare facility to progress to an electronic time clock system; after all, everything else in healthcare is going electronic.
However, there was a potential disadvantage in this particular scenario. Each employee must have their own Kronos user ID to log in to the system in order to clock in and out, which of course, isn’t free. I browsed the Kronos website, and couldn’t find pricing, but this particular facility was going to have to spend $200 on each employee annually in order to have them in the Kronos system. Ouch!
This begs the question from the facility rehab manager: Do we use our PRN staff enough to justify paying $200 annually for them to be in our Kronos time clock system?
Good question…and one I cannot answer. Only the facility can. And at best, it may be an educated guess and not a black and white answer.
But…would it be more economical for the facility to utilize contract therapists instead of their own employed PRN therapists? Maybe so, maybe not. And that answer may differ from year to year.
There are potentially more hidden savings with using contract therapists instead of PRN employed therapists.
1. Reduced HR hours to maintain personnel compliance.
2. Contract therapists may not have to attend mandatory HR training, which is usually a paid training, at least to some degree.
3. HR doesn’t have to pay for TB tests, background checks, drug screens, and more for contract therapists. These are all the responsibility of the therapist.
One last thing to ponder for this particular facility is the idea of contract therapists. If therapists are now required to be their own independent contractor, many are not used to this fact. Or maybe more accurate, the vast majority are not used to this fact. As such, the therapists will not want to pay for and keep current their TB test, background checks, drug screen, professional liability insurance, and other requirements that fall upon an independent contractor’s shoulders.
But there’s good news! MHSN can take care of these staffing headaches. A facility is able to choose from a pool of contract therapists for help as needed, and therapists within our network don’t have to worry about the responsibilities mentioned above; we do that for them.
So there you have it. I don’t know every reason for a facility to use contract therapist staffing…and I’m sure more reasons will continue to surface. In the meantime, do you Kronos?
What are your thoughts? Do you utilize electronic time clocks, and has it affected your PRN staffing of therapists? If you are a therapist on PRN staff somewhere, would you become an independent contractor if that facility asked you to?
It recently occurred to me that most therapists are intrigued by the idea of being their own boss. In fact, I’ve been told by several healthcare contacts that this is on the wish list of just about every therapist (PT, OT, SLP). And why not? Who can think of a better person for whom to work than themselves? Now that I think of it, why aren’t more therapists self-employed?
Below is a list of the top five problems I consistently hear from therapists as perceived barriers to becoming their own boss. And as an added bonus, these aren’t just problems, but also proven solutions. This should provide the necessary information for therapists to make informed decisions considering the route of contract work in order to be their own boss.
1) Taxes. Yes, taxes. For some reason, there’s a misconception that paying self-employment taxes will cost you more money. In fact, I’ve heard horror stories of therapists getting penalized for being an independent contractor. If your CPA can’t help with this misconception, or if they lead you to believe it’s everyone’s duty to pay W2 taxes, then it’s time to get a different CPA. You can pay fewer taxes and make more money as an independent contractor….and even more so if you become an LLC or incorporate yourself. For more details on this, check out the Kiffmeyer Tax Advisory Group, a group we’ve worked with and trusted for a very long time.
2) Documents, documents, documents. As a contract therapist, you may very well find yourself working for several different companies, and quite possibly in different settings as well. Each company will have their own HR requirements for employment, which can be daunting to keep up with. Here are just a few:
- Immunization records – TB, MMR, varicella, Hepatitis B
- CPR card
- Alzheimer’s inservice
- Background checks
- Professional license
Working for an agency like Metropolitan Health Staffing Network will remove this headache, and keep all of these requirements current so you can work anywhere at any time.
3) Professional Liability Insurance. Yes, as an independent contractor, you will be required to carry your own individual professional liability insurance policy, which should be a no-brainer. A couple hundred bucks for an annual premium is a drop in the bucket compared to what you’re insuring. Your own individual policy will protect your license, your career, and your ability to provide for you and your family. And for those that decide to also be W2 therapists, the same goes for you. The assumption that you’re fully covered by your employer is a very risky one, to say the least. You can get free quotes online from two of the most prominent providers, HPSO and Marsh, and have your policy nearly immediately.
4) Benefits. A lot of therapists fill the role of the proverbial “bread winner” in their family. With family benefits resting on the shoulders of these Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapists, you can easily feel forced to become a W2 employee. Simply put, it doesn’t have to be that way. Benefit packages from employers are becoming less attractive with employees’ premiums increasing, not to mention a myriad of other changes designed to save employers money. As a contract therapist, you make more money with higher wages (see #1 above), so why not get the individual policy that is tailored to your specific needs?
5) Reimbursement. What to charge for your services? Do I bill insurance companies? How long should my visits be? For answers to these questions and more, turn to the trusted online community of The Independent Clinician, provided specifically for privately practicing Speech Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists. Not all of their discussions will apply to you, but I’m confident you’ll find some helpful nuggets to assist you in your contract work endeavors.
So what did I miss? What is keeping you from experiencing the freedoms and other benefits of being your own boss? Please share so that we can help others in similar situations to yours.