I’m new to long-term care. Can you help me see what makes one therapy company better than another?

It depends on the needs and type of your facility. A skilled nursing or rehab will need a more aggressive approach than an assisted living facility, for example.

Any facility should seek a cost-effective therapy company, one that knows Medicare B and how to bill and what the regulations are for all of Medicare. 

Great companies excel at communication. They need to attend morning meetings and interdisciplinary team meetings. Therapy also needs to work with CNAs on residents’ ADLs. 

They need to be flexible with resident schedules and with residents while they eat, use the phone, take a bath and so on. They also need to work weekends since admissions occur seven days a week. It’s very important that a resident requiring a wheelchair has one that fits them correctly on admission. Sitting in an improper chair even for two days can cause skin breakdown or begin a contracture, so giving a therapist access to the resident on admission is extremely important.

The therapy company needs to be aware of changes in regulations, and provide in-servicing to all staff — not just about regulations but also to assist staff with lifting and moving residents safely. Because therapists should be part of the “team” even if they are with a consulting company, they should still wear the facility’s badge to show they are team players.

And as team players, therapists should attend and participate in facility events. When staff and residents see them involved, it proves they are part of the team. It makes everyone aware therapists are working for the good of the residents, staff and facility, which makes their company better than another that is not as involved.