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3 Ways to Reduce Surprise Medical Bills

  1. Ask your provider if they are In Network with your insurance.
  2. Pay your co-pay or co-insurance each visit so it does not accumulate into a larger bill.
  3. Call your insurance company and know your benefits prior to your medical visit to determine if you have a deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance you have to pay.

What questions should I ask before seeing my healthcare provider? Many people ask the wrong question when they call a medical office. They ask, do you take my insurance? You should ask, are you In Network with my insurance? All medical facilities can take insurance even if they are Out of Network.

What does Out of Network Mean? A facility or provider is Out of Network when they do not have a contract with your insurance company. When a provider contracts with an insurance company they are agreeing to the insurance company’s negotiated fee schedule. A medical facility can charge whatever cost they want. If your insurance is Out of  Network, the fee has not been negotiated and you are liable for the full cost. Your next question needs to be, what is your charge? Some facilities will file Out of Network insurance for the patient. At times, the patient does not know the facility is Out of Network and is surprised with a large bill.

Why do providers choose to be Out of Network? There are many reasons a medical facility will be Out of Network. Many times it is due to the insurance company’s negotiated fee being too low for operating expenses. Receiving Out of Netowrk care does not mean you will receive poor quality care.  At times, it means you are provided better quality care due to providers being able to cover their expenses, but you should know your expenses up front.

How can I know what my cost will be upfront? Call your insurance to verify your beneifts prior to your visit and choose a facility that will verify your benefits, so you can plan to cover you medical cost. Ultimately it is the patient’s responsibilty to know what their insurance coverage, but good quality healthcare providers will assist in providing that information up front.

Pay co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles each visit. It is important to prepare for and pay your medical expenses. Having a healthcare savings account can reduce your out of pocket expenses and give you the freedom to choose  In or Out of Network care ,based on your needs. Healthcare providers are providing you a service and payment is expected following that service. Planning ahead can reduce large medical bills.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Karen S Shuler PT, DPT is a private practice owner of Lifestyle Physical Therapy, LLC . 

5 Reasons to Start Exercising

5 Reasons to Start Exercising today

  1. To be able to live and experience life
  2. Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
  3. Reduce Osteoporosis
  4. Maintain a healthy weight
  5. To Reduce pain

Today was a beautiful day and perfect for hitting the hiking trails. I have to confess after 10 years of working in private practice physical therapy I let life keep me from working out. I used the excuse,” I move and exercise at my job.” This was true for keeping my strength up, but my cardiovascular system has suffered. I am a physical therapist and I know better.

My husband and I started back to hiking last year. It has been a struggle. My heart rate would increase rapidly and I would become short of breath with little exertion. 8 weeks ago I decided to change that and returned to walking/running on the treadmill and strength training with weights 3 times a week. I started a Tabata training program due to research demonstrating increased results in women going through menopause versus 40 minutes of aerobic walking.  I am extremely impressed with the quick results that I have experienced with Tabata training. This week I was able to kayak 3 miles and hike 5 miles in the same day and today I finally made it to the top of the trail that we have been hiking over the past year. The best part, I was able to experience a beautiful view that can only be seen by hiking to the top. I am thankful to be able to get out and experience GOD’s creation.

We are immune to hearing that diet and exercise will improve our health. The truth is it does and it is backed by research. Even better, you can do it for free. Only YOU can make the decision to get off the couch and go for a walk, even if it is only to the mailbox.  Now that the weather is finally improving make the decision that you are going to live life this Spring and Summer. When you begin your exercise program: Start slow, gradually increase intensity, and be consistent. You will quickly begin to see your body change; which will keep you motivated. Soon you will be climbing your own mountain. #Getoutandenjoylife, #movementismedicine

This article is for education only. This information is not intended to replace the advise or evaluation of a healthcare provider. An evaluation is highly skilled and complex and involves an evaluation of different systems and elements to determine the best approach for each individual. Always follow the instructions of your physical therapist or physician in regards to your personal exercise program. 

Private Physical Therapy Practice + Affiliate Marketing

Declining Insurance Reimbursment

Are you a private physical therapy practice owner looking for ways to increase cash flow without having to: increase the number of patients you see, over burden your therapist, and reduce the quality of your treatments?  I know it is a struggle to be in private practice right now. I opened my business 10 years ago and have navigated declining reimbursement each year that I have been in business. The struggle is real and many clinics are closing and filing banckruptcy unless they think outside the box and increase cash flow.

Afilliate Marketing vs. Advertising.

If you have a website then you have an avenue for affiliate marketing or selling add space. Advertising is usually a one time price per month, but affiliate links can provide greater opportunity for earning commission as your client shops. You already have your clients purchase items related to their therapy from e-commerce stores on a regular basis. You simply become an affiliate for them and then provide opporturnity for your clients to use your site to purchase their items. You then earn a commission when an item is purchased. There is no increased cost to your client. You are providing a secure portal for them to purchase needed items for their physical therapy.  The greatest part is you don’t have to worry about collecting money or providing customer service. The client is taken directly to a trusted merchant to make their purchase. The client trust that they are going to a reputable site because you get your links directly from the merchant.

Rules of Affiliate Marketing

There are rules with affiliate marketing that you have to follow per the FTC. You have to provide disclaimers and let people know that you will earn a commission if they use your links to make a purchase. You also have to understand each merchant’s rules for using their logo and trademark information. You can NEVER spam clients in e-mails to provide links, but you can provide links to subscriber e-mail list. Each merchant is different and has their own rules.

What Merchants use Affiliate Marketers

You can become an affiliate marketer for just about any category that is related to physical therapy and there are no upfront cost.  You can be an affiliate marketer for AMAZON, iTunes, Walmart, courses involving physical therapy, and the list goes on. If you don’t want to have to go to each merchant and ask to be an affiliate for them you can join an affiliate site like ShareAsale and pick from a list of merchants. You have to apply to each merchant and be accepted, but the ShareAsale site is very easy to navigate. Creating links to add to your website, social media post, and subscribed e-mails is easy. You can even create a product page for your website. The alternative is to become an e-commerce merchant and sale products, but then you have to provide customer service. It is not a bad option and provides a good way to increase your cash flow. Unfortunately insurance reimbursement makes it difficult to give the clients what they need and provide for your employees as well, but there are other ways to increase your cash flow. As with anything, there is a learning curve and you have to create the opportunity for your links to be used. Disclaimer: there are links in this post that will result in a commission if you choose to sign up for affiliate marketing. Take a closer look at ShareAsale to see if affiliate marketing is a right fit for your practice. They will provide you more infomation and assist you in getting started.

Top 3 Reasons to get a Mammogram

An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. – Benjamin Franklin

Prevention. I have said it before prevention is your best medicine. I am going to confess I have put off having my mammogram due to life as Private Practice owner being 24/7 and overly demanding. That is at least my excuse. My life has started to slow down a bit , so my mom and a few clients reminded me that I could take the time to get a Mammogram. I do have a family history of breast cancer, but I am happy to say my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She turned 80 this year. We are very thankful to still have her with us. She had a mammogram every year and her breast cancer was detected early.

First Mammogram. Well today I did it. I had my first mammogram and I want to let others know that it was one of the quickest most efficient things I have experienced. I could have done it on my lunch break. I also want to dispel any myths that it is painful. It was not painful at all! I had a great technician at the Faquier Diagnostic Center.

Reasons to have a Mammogram. According to the American Breast Cancer Foundation(ABCF) there are many reasons to get a Mammorgram, but here are my TOP 3:

  1. A Mammogram can detect cancer 3 years before a lump is felt
  2. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in all women
  3. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer.

The ABCF site states that breast cancer rates have decreased since 2000. So education and early screening are helping the fight against breast cancer. Let us be a part of that statistic and continue to reduce the incidence of breast cancer. Exercise, eat clean, and get a mammogram.  I hope to see a cure for breast cancer in my lifetime.  For more information on prevention and to dispel Myths about mammograms visit the American Breast Cancer Foundation Site.  

Telehealth: Physical Therapy

There was a time when doctors made house calls and delivered babies in the home. The world has enlarged and life has become busier making house calls a thing of the past.  Now there is a new avenue that will allow healthcare providers to see you in the comfort of your own home. This new method is called Telehealth. 

Telehealth. What is it and What does that word mean? The Dictionary defines Telehealth as “the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunication technology.” The world of telehealth expands our access to quality healthcare. Technology is advancing rapidly and allowing for face to face interaction and possible diagnostic tools that can be used remotely.

The Benefits. You have a doctor you connect with,  you can see them from anywhere. There is a specialist across the country, you can now schedule a face to face meeting. The kids are napping, you can attend a telehealth visit while they nap. Don’t want to take time off from work, schedule a visit during lunch. This is just naming a few of the benefits to using Telehealth.

Can you see a physical Therapist via Telehealth? Physical Therapy is among the list of healthcare providers offering Telehealth options. Telehealth allows you to connect when it is difficult to attend an office visit. Have you ever stopped physical therapy due to relocating, going on vacation, or traveling for work? You can now continue your physical therapy with no gaps in your care. Have you ever wanted to consult with a physical therapist to determine if seeing a physician or a therapist first is the best option? Now you can attend physical therapy from the comfort of your home, gym, office, and hotel room.

What to expect with a telehealth visit. A one on one attentive session for the following: Evaluation, consultation, education, training, advancement of exercises, and instruction in self-treatment techniques.

Telehealth at Lifestyle Physical Therapy. At Lifestyle Physical Therapy, LLC Telehealth physical therapy is being offered for: consultation to determine appropriateness for physical therapy, chronic pain treatment, Chronic pain education, Early intervention for injury, follow up treatments, prevention and wellness, and progression of exercises between therapy visits. If you are in NC, SC, or VA we can provide telehealth physical therapy. Call our offices or send us an e-mail to set up a telehealth visit. If you are in another state place telehealth physical therapy in your search engine as there are many providers in each state. The sooner you can access physical therapy the fewer visits you will need to complete your rehabilitation. Taking care of a seemingly simple injury such as an ankle sprain can save you from future injuries resulting in avoidable costly healthcare expenses. Contact us at 803-831-1454 or e-mail us at Visit our website at

This article is for education only. This information is not intended to replace the advice or evaluation of a healthcare provider. An evaluation is highly skilled and complex and involves an evaluation of different systems and elements to determine the best approach for each individual. Always follow the instructions of your physical therapist or physician in regards to your personal exercise program.