As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, practice owners are looking beyond the boundaries of insurance-based programs and plans for payment. Have you considered offering cash payment plans for your services and treatments? How would accepting cash payments or switching to cash-only impact your practice marketing?
First, let’s start by saying that the decision to “go cash” is a BIG one! You will need to devote time and effort into analyzing you practice’s third-party payers, income, financial trends, and patient demographics. More information and guidance can be found on the APTA’s website with specific articles for APTA members. Take a read through these resources and consult with your business partners, colleagues, and advisors on your options. If you do decide to pursue cash based PT, here is how you can enhance and expand your marketing to see even greater results.
Promote your cash payment option
Accepting cash for physical therapy treatments is a big deal. First, start building “buzz” about your new payment options by incorporating that messaging into existing marketing:
- Add a callout “Accepting cash payment plans effective April 1, 2015” to your newsletter and physician mailer.
- Update your website’s page on insurance and payment
- Include a flyer in your new patient packets
- Post on social media
Reach out to past patients
Do you have a list of past patients whose insurance is no longer accepted in office? Or, is there a provider group in town who has recently switched to cash or cash-only? Send out targeted marketing campaigns to these groups and work on establishing referrals relationships.
- Knowing that cash-based physical therapy services matters to a specific patient demographic is valuable data. Why? Because, these patients may only have access to services from a limited number of clinics.
- Additionally, it is important that you highlight the key differentiators (ie. That you gladly accept cash payment) to these audiences.
Measure the response
Next, monitor the marketing you are sending out and the number of new patients or referrals specific to your cash-based PT offerings. Are you seeing 2-3 more patients per month? 10-15? This information can help you make educated marketing and business decisions for the future.
- Seeing a lot more new patients? You could do a larger community marketing piece, such as a postcard, that focuses on cash payments for PT. Emphasize that no referrals are needed and that you will coordinate payment plans on an individual basis.
- Not seeing a huge lift in visits? Re-evaluate your marketing—see if you are communicating to the right groups. Remember, not every area or community has a high demand for cash services.
Encourage cash payments
Happy cash paying patients can provide testimonials that promote your treatment and business. Look for stories of patients who otherwise might not have seen results. For example, those without insurance or whose insurance no longer covers PT.
- Send Thank You notes to patients who gave testimonials or those who referred family and friends.
- Personally (either in the office or through a hand-written note) thank the providers who specifically referred cash patients to you, thus building the referral relationship.
Marketing to the cash crowd can be a challenge. Each clinic will have different promotional needs based upon their patient demographics and the environment of local providers and doctors. As always, be sure to spend time researching your target groups and reviewing your business plan. Search online for informative articles, such as this post from Web PT, and talk with former classmates or colleagues about their experiences.
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We have helped clients successfully transition through the third-party payer battlefield and into the cash payment PT marketplace. Our expert marketing programs can help you today!
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