I am so fortunate to have made lots of wonderful connections during my first year in business. Hopefully, you've noticed that I have a Resources page where I highlight some awesome people who also help therapists in areas different but related to documentation. In this article I thought I'd highlight why I think they're good enough to share space on my page so you can learn a little more about each one. So let's dive right in!
Insurance & Billing
Barbara Griswold wrote the book Navigating the Insurance Maze and has a (somewhat regular) newsletter where she provides updates on all things insurance totally free. She's a therapist in private practice and contracts with lots of insurance companies herself so she knows what she's talking about! I've personally attended one of her live workshops and she is a fabulous trainer, engaging the audience and making the topic super relevant. She lays down the knowledge like few others and I cannot recommend her resources enough if you do anything with insurance companies.
The next insurance resource I have is straight from CMS themselves and it's the list of Place of Service codes. Many therapists have questions about what to include here when they're completing the CMS 1500 form (superbill) for the first time. Keep this list handy because it's easy to use and covers pretty much every possible scenario.
Lastly, I've got a resource I created myself- the Top 5 Things to Know About Billing to Insurance Companies. Just a quick checklist of the big things to consider so you keep yourself covered ethically and financially.
HIPAA & Privacy
While not every therapist is a HIPAA-covered entity, HIPAA is quickly becoming the standard of care in our field. And if I know anything about HIPAA I know that is scares the crap out of therapists! But have no fear, Roy Huggins from Person-Centered Tech is here!! Roy is a licensed counselor who debunks myths about HIPAA and provides practical advice on how to set up a secure online practice. He has a ton of free resources... like, way more than I could ever hope to write about here.
And if you are a HIPAA-covered entity then guess what, you need to have a Notice of Privacy Practices. Again, don't freak out. It's not a big, scary form you need to create yourself. The federal government actually created a pretty good template for everyone to use! So click on the link and select the version "NCC HP Provider- text version" for the simplest one to edit and make your own.
Emergency & Planned Transitions
Ever heard of a professional will? Probably... but do you have one? Probably not. Many therapists aren't sure of exactly how to draft such a document so they do what any good counselor would do when it comes to business practices that are confusing- stick their head in the sand! But not you, my friend, because you now have access to resources through Practice-Legacy Programs.
They are a group of lawyers and therapists who help mental health professionals plan ahead for potential emergencies, or even for selling off their practice or retiring. Check out their website and you can even check out my blog interview with Dr. Steven Frankel which is chock full of additional resources for starting your professional will.
Selecting an EHR
There are tons of electronic records (otherwise known as practice management systems) available to therapists in private practice. In my opinion, this is a good thing because increased competition has allowed for user-friendly systems that keep upgrading their features. But it can be really confusing figuring out which one will work best for you... or even if electronic will work better for you than paper! That's why I love what Eileen is doing over at EHR Assist.
She's a counselor (seeing a theme here?) who helps therapists and agencies find the perfect EHR to suit their needs. She's also an exceptionally nice person! She knows that most therapists aren't techy and she's great at helping to bridge the gap so you know what the heck all that mumbo jumbo means for your practice.
Therapist Business Consulting
Last but certainly not least is a category near and dear to my heart... business consultants for therapists. As soon as you decided to open your practice doors, I'm sure you realized you had little to no training in how to run a business... and that's exactly what a therapy practice is- a business. Like it or not, welcome to entrepreneurship!
Just like you, I also discovered that I knew nothing about how to create a website, write business policies, and just plain get the word out that my virtual doors were open. Thankfully, I found great coaches early on who provided support and also encouraged me to reach out and connect with others. If it weren't for them, this blog wouldn't even be happening right now!
So who are they? Kelly Higdon and Miranda Palmer from Zynnyme. I signed up for the very first round of their Business School Bootcamp for Therapists and was blown away by all the resources and training they provided. If you want to hear more about it, check out my video review here.
More than a year later, I'm proud to be their friend as well as an affiliate for Bootcamp. What does that mean to be an affiliate? It means that if you sign up for Bootcamp through the link on my Resources page (or the one above in this article), Kelly and Miranda send me a thank you gift and that means I can send you a thank you gift! Everyone who signs up through me gets a whole package of resources (video training, cheat sheets and more) to help make their documentation even better.
One of the things Kelly and Miranda encouraged me to do early on was to reach out to other professionals. I'm so glad one of the first people with whom I connected was Katie Vernoy. She specializes in helping other professionals create balance and find joy in their work. She also helps recent graduates with things like resume creation and interview skills.
I'll be forever grateful to her for (unknowingly) pushing me to set a date for my very first workshop because she wanted to share it and needed to simply know when it was! She confirmed that students and recent grads needed my workshop so I put it out there and sold out in just two weeks. That success jumpstarted QA Prep and encouraged me to keep working on trainings for therapists to this day.
My next big encouragement came from another wonderful counselor who helps therapists wade through the waters of marketing and starting a private practice- Tamara Suttle from Private Practice from the Inside Out. I reached out to her (with NO prior contact) and pitched writing a guest post on her blog. She responded enthusiastically and helped me with editing, following up with comments, etc. She provided me with tons of exposure to her audience and was so friendly along the way.
Aside from her blog, Tamara has a ton of other free resources, including a Facebook group and newsletter. She's kind of a big deal in the counseling world but she remains super accessible and truly wants to help grow the field's professionals.
And last but not least is a newer connection I've made with Stephanie Adams, a counselor who runs the free online Mind Your Own Business Conference. I attended the 2014 conference and was impressed with all the big names (ahem, Tamara Suttle again) that Stephanie was able to pull together to provide FREE and expert business training for therapists. As an extrovert, I love a good in-person conference but as a busy professional it was priceless to have access to the conference trainings online and view whenever I wanted. FYI- the next conference is happening in one week so sign up ASAP!
Phew! Now that is one EPIC list of resources!! And you know what's crazy? There are soooo many more I could include here. And perhaps I will, in the months to come. I love creating a community that supports one another so if you know of any other great resources that are missing, leave a comment below with the link... and share this with any therapists who need it. Happy writing!