Tag Archives: Occupational therapy

2012 MSHA Annual Meeting and Convention Review

I’ve had a few weeks to now reflect upon another one of the great Missouri state association conferences – MSHA.  The 2012 MSHA Annual Meeting and Convention was once again a hit.  Over 1000 attendees, great speakers, and a wonderful variety of vendors from Missouri and Nationally.

View of our booth from the exhibit hall

So let’s get right to it…what do I and so many other professionals find unique about the MSHA Annual Meeting and Convention? 

First off, in comparison to the Missouri Occupational Therapy Association and Missouri Physical Therapy Association Annual Conferences, the MSHA is the giant of them all.  Over 1000 attendees – from seasoned speech language pathologists, to new grads, to current students.  All wanting to learn, network, and contribute to their profession.  It’s something that you absolutely feel in the air at the MSHA Conference.  Which may be why I thoroughly enjoy my conversations with speech therapists…these professionals are vibrant, flexible, and very down to earth.  Much like you and me! :)

Secondly, the variety of vendors are pretty amazing.  Sure, there are therapist employers, such as Metropolitan Health Staffing Network, but there are also book vendors (something very cool since I have 3 little boys at home), jewelry vendors, handbag vendors, app vendors, and more.  Start up companies.  Seasoned companies.  Companies from Missouri.  And National Companies.  This makes for quite the dynamic environment in the exhibition hall…you’re bound to find something or someone that you like!

I spoke with one particular vendor, whom I consider friends in the business.  The conversation brought out a wonderful idea (not mine, I’ll admit) of combining the MSHA, MOTA, and MPTA annual conferences.  Not each and every year, but what about once every 2-3 years?  Think about the attendance boost, the greater number of vendors, the higher quality of speakers, and the collaboration that it could bring.  Why not do this? More therapy settings are increasingly emphasizing communication and collaboration across disciplines – PT, OT, SLP, nursing, and more.  This would be a perfect setting to enhance and emphasize that concept and more.  It just makes sense, and yes, I’m sure there is a way for MOTA, MPTA, and MSHA to share the profits.  So get going and make this happen people! ;) 

Next, I noticed something this year at the 2012 MSHA Annual Meeting and Convention that I hadn’t noticed the previous year that really got me excited.  (We’ve only exhibited in 2011 and 2012).   It’s something that I have noticed in general about speech therapists, and I mentioned above that SLPs are for the most part flexible and vibrant.  (No offense, but much more so than PTs and OTs)  We’ll, this year, I noticed that more SLPs are open to any of the following:  picking up PRN work in a setting other than their “specialty”, SLPs near retirement looking to stay active in their retirement years, students not committing 100% to either a school or medical setting, and more SLPs that either have their own business or those that are piecing together the equivalent of full time work with a few part time or PRN opportunities.  The humble nature of their flexibility and enthusiasm in being able to work in many settings is energizing.  And quite refreshing to see.

Lastly, a couple of things to note.  I eluded to this above, but I witnessed fewer students that were adamant about working in either a medical setting or a school setting.  A big shift from the previous year.  Another interest worthy of mentioning was Vital Stim.  There was a bit more “buzz” about this treatment option this year – especially from the younger generations.  More SLPs desire to become Vital Stim certified, but have not yet for several reasons.  And deservingly so, but not because of their fault or lack of desire.  See why here…

So there you have it!  The 2012 MSHA Annual Meeting and Convention was a fun, informative, and exciting time.  It was our second consecutive year as part of the event, and we are already seeing trends changing in the field.

Hats off to MSHA for a job well done once again!

Were you at MSHA this year?  What are your thoughts on the conference and the observations I listed above?  It’s OK to agree, and disagree – so please, leave your opinion. ;)

Contract Therapist Timesheets

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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? 

 

 

Relationships that Matter with Physical Therapists and Beyond

You’ve no doubt heard me reference the importance of relationships at some point.  This is such a hot topic for me, I frequently suggest friending someone on Facebook with whom you do business.  Yes, it’s that important!  This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking strategy, but let me digress.

You can go back over 25 years with the Metro family of businesses, and at the core of every service provided are relationships.  Our business has evolved to its current state primarily through word of mouth referrals, which obviously don’t come without valuable relationships.  In fact, our president, who personally staffs temporary pharmacists in Missouri and Illinois, knows his Registered Pharmacists so well that he rarely needs a file to help him know which one is best for our opportunities.  Pretty cool, huh?

It’s the same story within the Therapy Staffing branch of MHSN where relationships are emphasized to such detail that we strive to meet everyone face-to-face.  Yep, that’s right – face-to-face…no matter their location.  Sadly, this is crazily uncommon these days! :)

Even with all the shiny gadgets and new social media platforms emerging daily, the face-to-face meeting still holds great value.  It’s seemingly a lost art in today’s hectic, mile-a-minute society – and one that I’d like to say we have nearly perfected.  And clearly, the face-to-face meeting is valuable for everyone involved.  Take this recent example:

As I’m regularly out and about, meeting with therapists and facilities, I often drop by unfamiliar facilities in an effort to form new relationships.  I recently dropped by a skilled nursing facility in Sikeston, MO.  Yes, Sikeston MO – I bet no one else in our field has stopped by there. ;)  This single face-to-face encounter has the potential to be very beneficial in many degrees.

  1. The rehab manager, a speech therapist, is local.  Future friendship? 
  2. The speech therapist expressed interest in PRN work with MHSN and while this wasn’t the purpose of the visit, it sometimes happens.
  3. The facility has contract or PRN therapist staffing needs, especially in rural areas such as Sikeston.  Future agreement?
  4. Motivation.  Yes, motivation for myself.  The positive experiences of this one drop-by can open doors for more relationships.  More relationships = more positive experiences.
  5. Success.  This motivation tends to snowball with other activities and relationships, which leads to future success.  And when we’re successful, it means more therapists are helping local facilities in need of PRN help.  Your success is our success.

It’s easy to see why we value relationships.  Sure, we’re advocates of connecting via social media and other more cutting edge avenues, but there simply is no substitute for a good, old fashioned face-to-face meeting.  The benefits for everyone involved are exponential.

What are your thoughts?  Do you still appreciate the face to face meeting?  Or do you prefer relationships that exist solely online?  Does a face-to-face meeting fit within your business model?  Be truthful to yourself and others – does your individual or company philosophy devalue individual relationships?    

Building Your PRN Pool of Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy Staff: The Most Obvious but Overlooked Strategy

Finding PRN therapists who are actually available and willing to help.  We’re not talking rocket science, but at times it may feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Especially so in those rural areas that we here at Metropolitan Health Staffing Network often get requests for.  But enough about us… ;)

I’ve had the pleasure of developing some excellent relationships over the past nearly two years of work with Metropolitan Health Staffing Network.  Some of these folks in HR, Recruiting, Administration, Therapists, and more have become real friends.  Not just business friendships – but FRIENDS.

With that said, I’d like to share a simple tip with my friends in the recruiting and HR world.  We often bounce things off each other, brainstorming if you will.  I’ve come across the following scenario regarding building PRN Pools of Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists more than once…so I have to share. ;)

Everyone is building their PRN pool of therapists.  With regulation changes, weekends, vacations, sick days, and you name it – it just make sense.  And facilities do this pretty well.  But one resource is often overlooked during the daily “treadmill of life” experience at work.  We often forget a priceless resource to help us out.  So, what is it? 

 

Former therapists.  Yep – it’s that simple.

 

Therapists commonly move around from job to job.  And for various reasons, their grass may or may not be greener on the other side.  Therapists may change employers for a higher salary, better benefits, better hours, a better boss, changes in their family status, a combination thereof, burnout, and more.  The reasons are endless.

But a therapist that leaves company ABC may very well go back to company ABC or help out company ABC as long as their tenure with company ABC was favorable.  This could mean full time, part time, or PRN status.

So how best to make sure you are taking advantage of former therapists…that are no longer anywhere near your payroll roster? 

My suggestion is to simply stay in touch.  You choose the method.  Email, phone, Facebook, and so-on.  See – it’s simple. :)  As we say here at Metropolitan Health Staffing Network when a therapist chooses to accept a perm position:  “We never lose a therapist, our relationship just changes.”  If you take that approach with your Physical, Occupational, Speech Therapists, COTAs, and PTAs, I’ll bet you will be pleasantly surprised someday.  It may be this year, next year, or 5 years from now.  No one knows really when it will happen, but chances are, it will.

What have you got to lose?  Like I said, it’s not rocket science…simply relationships.

So how do you build your PRN pools of therapists?  Am I way off here, or dead on?!?  If you already use this method, how successful has it been for you?  I would love to hear your story!   

 

 

 

How PRN or Contract Work has Personally Helped My Family

I had the urge this morning to share how PRN work has helped transform my family’s life – quite literally.  It’s obvious that I think PRN work is superior.  More family time, higher wages, flexible schedule, and tons of experience are just a few that both my wife and I have experienced, or are still experiencing.  And then there is the immeasurable factor of quality of life.

You see, my wife and I are both health professionals.  Both Athletic Trainers by trade, but have since moved on to greater interests for various reasons.  (My wife has her PhD, so she can do just about anything ;) ) PRN work has truly shaped our life, and our boys’ lives too – they just aren’t old enough to realize it yet! :)  Let me share a couple stories to better help you understand why I am biased and believe PRN work is superior.

Time travel to 2004.  Living in Union City, TN at the time, my wife and I longed to start a family, but that wasn’t the place we wanted to raise one.  We both had great jobs (mine in Industrial Rehabilitation with STAR Physical Therapy and hers teaching at UT-Martin), but family was our priority and we took a leap of faith.  In October I accepted a “traditional” athletic training job at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.  It was my wife’s hometown, our alma mater, and where we wanted to “settle down”.  My wife stayed in TN until December, then moved back and took a clinic job.  As you recall – we both had great jobs in TN, and now we were both in jobs that were not necessarily our passion at the time. :)

Long story short, we now loved where we lived, but wasn’t too fond of our jobs.  My wife handed me a newspaper clipping of a PRN or Contract Industrial Rehabilitation job in the Spring of 2005.  By June, I had started this Contract job, and it payed huge dividends for our family.  The PRN wage was spectacular, and the immense flexibility was priceless.  You see, in February 2005, we purchased a small house on a 6 acre stretch of land outside of Cape Girardeau.  By late summer, we were breaking ground on our dream home, and we were going to be doing a lot of the work – from General Contracting to a majority of the subcontract work too!

That’s the way it was for about a year, until the fall of 2006.  We had just moved into our finished dream home.  My wife had managed to survive the clinic job until then, but then she started her bouts of contract work.  Which was about the same time I went full time in the Industrial Rehabilitation field.  She started contract work at Southeast Missouri State University as adjunct faculty, as well as at a local gym – starting to lean more towards her interests of health and wellness.  She has been full time at the university for about 3 ½ years now, but will depart that position this Summer, as we are to have our 3rd boy in February.  And guess what she is going to fill her work days with?

Yep, you guessed it.  Contract work. :)  During her time at Southeast Missouri State University, she has continued contract work at the local gym, but has also picked up a few other contract assignments.  She experimented with wellness coaching (the real stuff, not this bogus telemarketer crap the insurance companies boast), and has gigs as adjunct faculty at other universities too.  She’ll continue on with Southeast Missouri State University as adjunct faculty too.  And it will all be fantastic…because of PRN or Contract work.

So there you have it, Contract work has helped shape our careers, our family, our home, our finances, and our future.  And it will continue to do so.  Why wouldn’t we?  In addition to everything positive I mentioned above, Contract work has also quickly eliminated car payments and any other debt other than our mortgage, and allowed “Santa” to bring our boys one heck of what of a swingset this year for Christmas.  It’s a no-brainer for us.

Now I want to hear your personal stories…how has contract work helped you in the past?  Or better yet, how are you going to use Contract work to better your career, your family, your finances, and your future?  It may seem like a leap of faith at the time, but looking back, I guarantee you that Contract work will be priceless.

 

Select Rehabilitation Acquires EnduraCare

The ever-changing LTC landscape is in upheaval once again.  Select Rehabilitation has acquired EnduraCare.  The acquisition will be effective on January 31, 2012.  Terms of the deal have not been disclosed at this time.  While this merger is not quite on par with the Kindred acquisition of RehabCare, it will affect a number of facilities and rehab professionals leaving many questions to be answered…

Landscape of LTC in Physical, Occupational, and Speech Setting

What is the magnitude of this deal? 

Select Rehabilitation, founded in 1998, is privately owned and independently operated.   Boasting over 4,000 employees, serving 300 facilities throughout 20 states, Select has become a national leader in the LTC setting.  Select provides comprehensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy services in a variety of geriatric settings.

EnduraCare , founded in 2000, is also privately owned and operated.  Serving an undisclosed number of LTC facilities throughout 21 states, EnduraCare has become one of the fastest growing contract therapy companies in the United States.  EnduraCare provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy services across the spectrum of LTC settings in the Unites States.

What will happen to the employees of EnduraCare? 

Details have not been disclosed regarding EnduraCare employee status.  Will Select Rehabilitation absorb and create positions for the professionals in HR, Recruiting, and Management roles?  Will Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists simply become employees of Select Rehabilitation?  Or will the thousands of EnduraCare employees be looking for the next best thing in their careers?  With all of this yet to be seen, one has to think and hope that Select Rehabilitation will at a minimum retain all of the Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists.

What does this mean for other LTC Therapy Providers?

With this move, Select Rehabilitation is without a doubt solidifying themselves as a major player in the LTC setting of physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  What about the other LTC Therapy Providers?  Are they next on the list to be acquired by these larger corporations?  Will we someday see only 2 or 3 major providers of therapy in LTC settings?  Does this acquisition (or those like it) make therapists desire to work for larger corporations?  Or will therapists be more likely to seek out the smaller providers or “in-house” opportunities in LTC?

With the LTC setting in such a dynamic state of acquisitions and regulation changes, how does this affect you as a therapist?  Is your job in jeopardy?  Will your job responsibilities change?  Will productivity become an even bigger factor in your daily tasks?  Or does it not affect you at all?   Please share your thoughts and opinions. 

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