“I could lose my license over that!”
I heard this statement once again this week, and quite frankly, it forces me to lose respect for those that say this. Why? Because those that fall back on this statement, simply don’t understand what it takes to loose their license. And secondly, most don’t take the necessary steps to protect their license.
Let me set the stage a bit for you, so that you can completely understand. First, I’m not a therapist myself. I’m an Athletic Trainer by trade, with a Masters in Exercise Science and quite a bit of experience in Industrial Rehabilitation, Ergonomics, and injury prevention. So I’ve worked in many situations that would make the typical PT “uncomfortable”, and I’m sure many of these situations put my license at risk.
I can also make these comments because I’ve worked with loads of PTs and OTs in my career, and this statement of “losing my license” is a crutch for what seems to be most therapists.
The particular situation this week was simply a matter of trying to get a speech therapist to complete her documentation. She did not understand the documentation…but instead of asking for clarification proactively, she went to the usual “I could lose my license over that!” statement. Which quite frankly, boils my blood.
It takes quite a bit to lose your license as a therapist, but most don’t realize that. Think about it…we all know therapists that are shady, unethical, provide horrible care, think only of themselves, fraudulent, etc. Don’t get me wrong – these aren’t the majority. But what they are, are still practicing therapists – which means they are licensed.
So what does it take to lose your license in Missouri as a physical, occupational, or speech therapist?
Well, if you Google that question, you won’t find an answer. And you wonder why therapists don’t know how to lose their license. You will find a complaint form on the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation website. But that’s all I could find…so I called the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation to get the answer straight from the horses mouth.
What did I discover?
Not much really, and the state actually seemed aggravated by the inquiry. No wonder therapists use this statement as a crutch and don’t really understand the process and risks. I was told the obvious, that each situation is taken on a case by case basis. “So, what’s the process?” I asked. First off, someone must file a complaint via the form found on the website. Then, the state board will investigate if the complaint is valid or not. Other than this, the only groundbreaking information I received was that I should look at all the rules and statutes for each profession: PT, OT, and SLP. Helpful, huh?
If this is the helpfulness and friendliness (or lack thereof) that someone with a valid complaint receives should they call the state, then I really have to wonder how well our state licensing protects those Missouri residents receiving physical, occupational, or speech therapy?
On the contrary, I did find a good synopsis and reminder from the state of Massachusettes entitled “10 ways to lose your license”. It’s a bit comical, but a very good reminder too on what not to do.
Now, there’s also a sure fire way to lose your license. How? Get named in a lawsuit, and not have your license protected. That’ll put your license at risk! Often times, your license will come under fire in the lawsuit…and if you’re relying on your employer’s professional liability policy to protect your license, you may want to think again. Most employer provided liability insurance policies DO NOT protect the individual therapists license. The only way I know of guaranteeing the protection of your license is to have your own individual professional liability insurance policy.
And you know what, most therapists don’t have their own policy. But yet they’ll easily say “I’ll lose my license” if they get uncomfortable in a situation. In fact, I know a PT that works in an outpatient setting, who even goes onsite to do some injury prevention at local manufacturers, as well as an occasional home health eval on the side. And guess what – he doesn’t have his own professional liability insurance, and he’s muttered those blood boiling words of “I could lose my license over that”. Even worse, he’s the bread winner and insurance provider for his family. We’ll then Einstein, you might want to protect your license (and thus your income, family, and future) with your own individual professional liability insurance policy.
If you don’t know where to start for your own professional liability insurance policy, try these two most common insurance companies:
Both have online applications and instantaneous coverage options. And the benefits significantly outweigh the minor cost of these annual policies. Why not start today?
How are you going to protect your Missouri Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapy license today? Has your license or someone you knows been challenged? Share your story – I’m sure this stance does not agree with everyone, so please chime in here for everyone’s benefit.
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?
During my conversations with physical therapists interested in our opportunities, I’m always surprised if I don’t get a specific question in regards to the 1099 tax status. Most people wonder – “Does this mean I have to pay my own taxes?”
This is a topic that is typically foreign to most people, and the answer, simply put, is YES. But with it comes a myriad of benefits, which we’ve previously outlined, and will continue to discuss. And these are benefits that don’t commonly cross people’s minds.
1099 is for everyone, but W2 is not, and here are 3 reasons why:
1) W2 isn’t your tax status, but to employers it stands for “Where-To” and “When-To”. As a company’s W2 employee, they will tell you where to be and when to be there. On the contrary, 1099 is “code” for having the freedoms and luxuries of being your own boss – most importantly of which include you maintaining the rights to determine where you will be and when you will be there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a therapist tell me that they just don’t want to deal with that stress anymore and would rather work on their own terms. It’s impossible to put a price tag on freedoms like this.
2) 1099 means the government treats you as self-employed. This is fantastic for tax deductions and more, but even more so because it protects you. How so, you ask? Well, as a self-employed physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist, you need to carry your own individual professional liability insurance. Most W2 status therapists rely on their employer for liability insurance, which unbeknownst to them comes with many loopholes in the protection; one of which is likely your professional license. How can you continue to practice and provide for your family if your license is challenged, or worse yet, suspended? In today’s society, litigation is becoming more common, and the rewards are becoming more sizeable.
3) Marketability. Most therapists don’t consider building their marketability until it’s time to find a job – and even then, most just turn to Monster to find their next gig. How nice would it be to never have to worry about your marketability again because you’ve worked across a variety of settings and in a multitude of locations? By providing great care in these venues, you’ll find that you have become a desirable team member that others seek. You’ll find yourself turning down job offers without even actively searching for them. You’ll be like a superstar free agent in baseball (aka Albert Pujols), but without all the negative media hype. Pretty cool, huh?
So there you have it – three reasons why you should be a 1099 physical, occupational, or speech therapist. The complacent naysayers may disagree with these, but what are your thoughts? Employers, what are your thoughts on a 1099 vs. a W2 staff of therapists?