Pediatric therapy professionals are always learning, evolving, and finding new ways to help their patients. This ongoing process can include keeping up with industry journals, reading books, and attending seminars. Blogs written by fellow OT, PT, or SLP specialists are another fantastic option, and they usually take less than 10 minutes to read. You can learn valuable information about industry trends, get inspired by stories of patient successes, or dive deep into an innovative technique. This collection of high-quality OT, PT, and SLP blogs will make for insightful reading in 2021.      

Physical Therapy Blogs

Pediatric physical therapy blogs to follow.

Athletico Physical Therapy 

This national network of Physical Therapy clinics offers top-notch care for people of all ages, especially athletes. The Athletico Physical Therapy blog is a collaborative effort from many of the clinic’s PT professionals, which makes a very diverse and informative resource. Posts dive into every aspect of patient care, including the best way to treat specific injuries, how to motivate patients, and the importance of empathy.  

Mike Reinold 

Mike Reinold is a noted physical therapist and athletic trainer who has worked for the Boston Red Sox. His well-established blog covers a broad range of physical therapy topics, but with a focus on exercise and helping active patients stay injury-free. You’ll also find plenty of practical advice for professional development in the PT field, including managing your workload and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. Mike also explores these topics on his podcast.  

Starfish Therapies  

This pediatric physical therapy blog written by Stacey Menz is geared towards supporting both parents and PT professionals that work with children. She is the owner of Starfish Therapies, a clinic that provides rehabilitation services to patients from the age of zero to 22. Her blog offers detailed advice on how to encourage strength, coordination, motor development, and much more. Many of the posts have specific exercises and activities, including games, stretches, and tips for using mobility tools. 

Occupational Therapy Blogs

Pediatric occupational therapy blogs to follow.

The OT Toolbox  

Colleen Beck has been an occupational therapist for more than 20 years, including school-based settings and early intervention. She has worked with children with fine motor deficits, sensory processing dysfunction, and many other challenges. The goal of The OT Toolbox is to promote the healthy development of kids with play-based learning and evidence-based practices. Her approach is always very informative, and every activity suggestion has a detailed explanation for why it can help kids develop specific skills.    

Skills 4 Life 

Along with being a pediatric occupational therapist with 3 decades of experience, Karina Black knows what it’s like to be a special needs child. She struggled with school throughout her childhood because of a visual impairment and poor hand-eye coordination skills. She went on to found a pediatric occupational therapy practice in 2010. Karina specializes in helping kids with handwriting, dyslexia, executive function skills, and more. The Skills 4 Life blog is regularly updated with actionable, well-researched interventions that can help children develop necessary life skills.   

Growing Hands-On Kids  

Heather Greutman writes a popular resource for parents, teachers, and pediatric occupational therapists. She’s on a mission to help children reach their potential with enriching, hands-on play. Growing Hands-On Kids is full of creative ideas for engaging children in enjoyable activities that improve their fine motor skills. You can also read thoughtful posts on developmental milestones, handwriting skills, and the importance of creating a sensory diet.  

 My OT Spot 

This informative blog is an amazing resource for anyone that’s just getting started with a career in occupational therapy. Sarah Stromsdorfer is on a mission to help new OT professionals thrive by providing useful content for every step of the journey. My OT Spot has thoughtful advice on how to be more productive, managing the emotional challenges of being an OT, and using evidence-based practices.   

The Inspired Treehouse 

This popular blog is the collaboration of two practicing pediatric rehabilitation therapists. Claire Heffron is an OT, Lauren Drobnjak is a PT, and they both have extensive experience in school-based settings. The Inspired Treehouse is their joint effort to create child development resources for parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals. The blog covers topics like improving visual motor skills, advice for teletherapy, and fun seasonal crafts.   

Speech-Language Pathology Blogs

Pediatric speech-language pathology slp blogs to follow.

The Dabbling Speechie 

Felice Clark is a speech pathologist working in a pre-K to 5th-grade setting. Her blog is a great resource for helping school-age patients have fun while reaching their speech and language goals. The Dabbling Speechie has a wealth of creative ideas, including functional crafts, seasonal therapy activities, and engaging lessons. Felice is very passionate about the value SLP professionals can offer their patients, which also her makes her blog a highly motivational read.    

Speech Time Fun  

Hallie Sherman’s blog is brimming with practical tips for working with older speech therapy students. The current focus on Speech Time Fun is making the most of remote SLP sessions by using virtual resources. Recent posts have highlighted how to incorporate digital tools like Kahoot and Jamboard to practice language skills. Hallie also shares valuable content on her podcast and YouTube channel.    

Anna Dee SLP 

This excellent blog is a must-read for SLP professionals that work with toddlers and preschoolers. Anna Dee is passionate about the value of natural, play-based therapy for early intervention treatments. Her blog has detailed posts on enriching activities that kids really enjoy, including the use of toys, stories, and digital. Anna Dee SLP also specializes in actionable advice for helping patients with childhood apraxia of speech.  

The Speech Bubble SLP 

Maureen Wilson is a school-based SPL with down-to-earth advice to on handling the challenges of the job. Her blog manages to be both conversational and very substantive. A recent post offers thoughtful analysis of the research behind literacy-based speech therapy, as well as concrete examples of how to incorporate this technique. The Speech Bubble SLP also highlights activities, many books, toys, and games that are designed to encourage language skills. 

More Resources from Fusion Web Clinic

There’s always so much to learn in the world of rehabilitation therapy. Fusion Web Clinic offers many powerful tools and resources to help you optimize your practice and help patients more efficiently. Check out our resource library or schedule a demo to learn more about how our practice management software can help you streamline your workflow. 

Revenue Cycle Management (or RCM) is no small undertaking. The process of creating and submitting claims to insurance companies is complicated, let alone the fact that a good portion of insurance claims are denied requiring more detail or better data for payment. After all, even if you’re seeing a great number of patients, your clinic may be struggling financially because of an ineffective revenue cycle. Meaning you’re not getting paid what and when you should be.  

On a path with so many steppingstones like RCM, it’s easy for revenue to get lost along the way. With an understanding of the different steps of the revenue cycle for Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy, you can be better prepared to create a more profitable organization. 

Insurance claims are a critical part of the healthcare revenue cycle.
Insurance claims are a critical part of the healthcare revenue cycle for OT, PT, and SLPs.

The Steps of the Revenue Cycle 

1. Payment Policies 

Effective Revenue Cycle Management begins before any patients schedule appointments. It’s important to sit down as a provider or practitioner and draw up payment policies. These not only help you communicate with patients but can act as a roadmap for accepting payments. Determine what kinds of payment you will accept and how you will accept it. Don’t forget to lay out how long self-pay patients will have to pay and the consequences of nonpayment. Also consider how you will work with HSAs and what will happen if a client misses an appointment.  

2. Benefits Checking 

Once appointments are made, or ideally, as part of the appointment process, you should check the patient’s eligibility and insurance coverage. Doing so before any treatment takes place can prevent surprises down the line and help patients and caregivers better understand any cost sharing responsibilities they may have, reducing nonpayment.  

Determine the patient’s primary and secondary insurance status and coverage before submitting claims. It’s also a good idea to make a copy of your patient’s insurance card and keep it on file in case you need to reference it later. 

A health insurance card for a physical therapy client that will come in handy during the healthcare revenue cycle.
Taking a copy of a client’s health insurance card should be on every provider’s intake checklist. 

3. Charge Creation and Coding 

Alright, so you’ve created a payment policy, verified coverage, and started with treatment. Time to bill. Here’s where it gets tricky.  

As physical therapy professionals, your mission is to treat clients and bring healing into their lives. But running a clinic involves income and creating charges for services rendered. This process is not so easy to manage, especially with constantly changing billing codes and regulations. In fact, issues with coding are a common reason claims are rejected. Also, watch out for under or over coding, creating a claim that doesn’t match up with the care provided.  

Ultimately, understanding what could cause a claim denial can better inform your charge creation. This will help get money back into your accounts by reducing the number of denied claims and making sure you don’t accidentally sell yourself short to insurance payers.  

4. Reviewing and Submitting Claims 

Before you submit claims, make sure you know the W’s of claim submission for each payer. Who, when, where, and how. Double check your claims before submitting. Remember that copy of the patient’s insurance card? It’s worth giving it another quick look. Make sure no information has been accidently left out or there are any of the coding errors like we talked about before.  

EHRs equipped with PT, OT, and SLP billing may be able to enlist a clearinghouse to review or scrub claims before submitting to make sure they aren’t missing key information or contain obvious errors and are less likely to be denied. They do say you should measure twice and cut once. The same goes for insurance claims. 

5. Status Reporting, Payment & Denial Management 

At this point, the claim has been submitted on time and as accurately as possible. Now, we wait. Make sure to check on the status of your submitted claims. If they are approved with no problems, great, but you still need to follow up to make sure the payment ends up in your account. An EHR with claim status reporting is a great way to keep an eye on claim progress.  

Let’s say a claim is denied. It’s important to act quickly to correct and re-submit the revised claim. The more delays that occur in the claim management process, the longer it takes for you to see the funds in your cash flow. Thankfully, the insurance company can provide remittance advice – their reasoning for why the claim was denied.  

If you’re able to submit claims electronically through your PMS or a clearinghouse, ask if you’ll be able to receive Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) as ERA could save you even more time. With the notes you need to revise your claim delivered instantly, you can get revised claims resubmitted ASAP rather than having to wait for the mail.  

Get Help Managing Your Healthcare Revenue Cycle 

And so, the cycle of follow-up continues until all claims are reflected in your account. And, hopefully, if you’re seeing a steady stream of patients, this process is never-ending.  

As you’ve seen, there’s a lot of moving parts involved in building an effective revenue cycle. Just thinking of all that needs to be done to make sure claims are properly submitted can give someone a headache. A key takeaway? Let your EHR handle it.  

Trusting your EHR with your billing means your staff are freed up to focus on other initiatives. At every point in the billing process, your EHR’s billing services are taking small loads off your staff’s shoulders. And those small assistances add up. Claim submission, denial management, and following up on stuck claims are key functions where outsourcing billing through your EHR can add value. In addition, with a team of experts at your back, you won’t have to train additional billers to meet demands.  

Have Everything All in One Place 

You already trust an EHR with so many aspects of your practice. By enlisting your EHR’s billing services, you’re bringing all your patient care to one accessible log-in. If you’re ready to take your billing to the next level, find an EHR that can help. Fusion’s RCM services through our Assisted Billing solution are designed to help OTs, PTs, and SLPs get more out of the dollars and cents of their business. Schedule a demo of Assisted Billing today.  

Payment processing can be one of the most important parts of your revenue cycle—it’s also one of the most variable parts. Your organization’s patients may make their payment with HSA or FSA debit cards, credit cards, or a combination of different sources. As telemedicine grows, your patients may also be used to paying through online portals. Accounting for all of these different payment methods and pathways should be a top finance priority for your organization. But how does payment processing work? Let’s explore how credit card payments work for therapy practices and the benefits they bring.  

How does payment processing work? The parent of a pediatric physical therapy patient ready to pay for appointment and treatments with a credit card.
Understanding how credit card processing works can help your organization make the most of this feature. 

How Does Payment Processing Work? 

Most of credit card processing happen behind the scenes. Your patients and office staff ensure the billing details are correct and the payment method is entered, and then the amount appears in your account after two or three days. But knowing the steps in the middle can protect your organization. There are three main steps in credit card processing: authorization, settlement, and funding: 

Card Authorizing 

This process is nearly instantaneous. 

Settlement and Funding 

This process takes longer. But modern technology is speeding up the process so many payment processing tools can complete the process within 24 hours. 

Benefits of Credit Card Processing 

While there are many variables in collecting revenue that your organization can’t control, a better payment processing platform can give you the insight and internal organization you need to track payments and streamline payment for better cash flow. At Fusion, our payment processing platform is built to fulfill the unique needs of therapy practices by offering these solutions: 

How Does Payment Processing Work Once You Choose Fusion? 

Through our system, you can maintain accurate records of in-progress and completed payments. Your team can also manage billing and repeat invoicing through a single platform, which reduces miscommunication and delays.  

Fusion integrates with your patient records so you can invoice the correct parties, whether the charge is to a patient or a caregiver, through their preferred payment method. This streamlines the process and reduces potential delays caused by charging the wrong party or charging the wrong partial amounts to different parties. Contact us today to learn more about how our payment processing solution can integrate into your practice’s administrative infrastructure. 

In 2020, telehealth took a giant leap from an emerging practice to an integral part of the healthcare industry. Though remote pediatric occupational therapy (OT) has been around for several years, teletherapy strengthened its roots and helped it become a more sophisticated solution. While it may seem that clinic-based sessions would be more effective, telehealth gives new opportunities to families with barriers to traditional therapy models. According to studies, pediatric telehealth has a high patient satisfaction rate when done correctly. Here are 7 best practices to pediatric occupational therapy via telehealth.  

A pediatric occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist (SLP) using telehealth to work with her clients.
Female medical professional speaking with a patient via video call during the COVID-19 health crisis from her office.

1. Work with the Right Tools 

High-quality software is the key to smooth patient-therapist interaction during a pediatric telehealth session. Even though pediatric OT relies heavily on parents, patients are involved as well. 

Children who need occupational therapy may experience challenges with poor video quality and sound delays. That’s why it’s imperative to invest in exceptional hardware, software, and video-conferencing tools. 

To make certain that therapy session proceeds smoothly, make sure your internet carrier provides a fast internet connection. Also, practice using new technology with the staff before starting telehealth sessions to minimize hiccups during show time.  

Look for telehealth solutions that are mobile-friendly and work together with other features in your EHR. This way, telehealth, payment processing, reporting and reminders can combine for the ultimate therapy toolbelt. 

For any software that you decide to use for your telehealth needs, you need to ensure patient data privacy to comply with: 

2. Streamline Documentation 

When it comes to pediatric telehealth, some therapists may work from the clinic and some may be working from home. Regardless, the documentation produced before and after each session must be organized and filed according to the clinic’s best practices. 

With a variety of practice management and EHR tools available, keeping documents in order shouldn’t be a problem. By filing information electronically, it’s possible to keep it secure while having access to it anytime and from anywhere. 

3. Provide Pediatric Telehealth Training for Parents 

When any clinic implements pediatric OT telehealth, it needs to be easily accessible for and easily understood by patients’ and parents. While your team may have solid experience with telemedicine, many patients don’t. 

Besides learning how to take full advantage of telehealth, parents need to understand how to help their children with the technology. Implementing training and support documents (e.g. FAQ) can help improve the experience for patients, their parents, and staff. 

It’s also important to provide special training to therapists who don’t usually practice telemedicine. With this knowledge, they can take on telehealth duties during peak demand times (like the COVID-19 pandemic). Well-trained patients and staff improve the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of teletherapy sessions. 

A mother helping her child on the computer before her pediatric telehealth session.
Helping parents become competent in telehealth can ultimately improve the quality of teletherapy sessions with your patients. 

4. Use the Available Resources 

Whether you are newly implementing telemedicine for your pediatric OT services or have had it in place for a while, your clinic can benefit from using the following resources: 

You should also explore regulations (both federal and local) related to security, licensure, and billing. 

Many of these resources can serve as guidelines for your telemedicine efforts. However, each clinic eventually sets up its own pediatric telehealth structure and best practices. 

5. Learn about Reimbursements  

Even though telehealth reimbursement is becoming easier, some healthcare providers are still having trouble getting reimbursed for their services. To make sure you are paid for your pediatric telehealth services, it’s imperative to have a strong billing system in place. Simple errors made when filing claims with insurance companies could lead to denials, rejections, and time-consuming appeals. 

Many clinics struggle with telehealth coding because staying up to date with the latest changes and requirements can be complicated. Having a strong grip on the process of revenue cycle management (RCM) is imperative to avoid claim denials and getting reimbursements on time.  

So, when it comes to telehealth billing, it’s a great idea to employ an EHR like Fusion which can help you with revenue cycle management. For example, Fusion allows you to outsource billing and RCM to dedicated specialists and the service works perfectly in tandem with the other EHR capabilities like telehealth.  

6. Market Your Services 

Parents who are looking for pediatric occupational therapy options often don’t know that it’s possible to work with a therapist on a remote basis. That’s why clinics need to make and extra effort to promote these services and educate patients about telemedicine opportunities. 

Since telehealth makes it possible to help children remotely, you now have the ability to widen your marketing efforts to attract a wider audience that may not have been able to work with you in the past.  

Even though telemedicine isn’t new, many patients, especially parents, are still cautious about taking full advantage of it. It’s up to clinics to educate them about telehealth possibilities for pediatric occupational therapy. 

7. Ask for Feedback 

No matter how hard you try to implement a stellar pediatric telehealth service, it’s always possible to overlook some details. By asking families for feedback, you can learn how to adjust your telemedicine program, thus improving your clinic’s profitability. 

Besides listening to your patients’ comments, make sure to ask for the staff’s feedback as well. It can help you gain valuable insight and make the program better for all parties involved. 

Improve Your Pediatric Telehealth Services Today  

Using telemedicine for pediatric OT can help your patients get the necessary therapy on time regardless of their ability to visit the office. Meanwhile, the right approach to pediatric telehealth can help you streamline your services and improve the clinic’s bottom line. 

Implementing and maintaining a telehealth program is impossible without the right tools. At Fusion, we have a set of powerful solutions for clinics that offer pediatric OT telehealth services. To learn more, contact us today for a free live demo.