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How to grow into a full-time career in behavioral health care

Recently graduated behavioral health professionals learn valuable insights and skills throughout their academic experiences that enable them to provide quality care, but sometimes find themselves under-equipped in matters pertaining to business and marketing. As a result, many providers begin their careers with considerable gaps in their caseloads, requiring some form of supplemental income while clientele slowly builds over time.

But getting from part- to full-time doesn’t necessarily require additional years of study and professional development in business. Observing a few important basics will help new and aspiring providers to fill their caseloads quickly.

Consider insurance contracts
It’s common for clients to discover behavioral health professionals through their insurance providers. Getting on an insurance panel is a great way to ensure the practice stays visible to any prospective clients. While payment collected from insurance is typically lower than if the practice collects from a “cash patient”, the steady volume of clientele is usually a good trade-off for most providers. It is ultimately at their discretion as to whether or not it’s worth it.

Nurture your referral network
Referrals are powerful, particularly in a tight-knit industry like behavioral health. As consumers are likely to favor a word-of-mouth recommendation for any product or service (even therapy), it behooves providers to create and nurture a professional referral network.

For many up-and-coming providers this begins with university contacts and colleagues. Over time, providers make connections at hospitals, in-patient facilities, conferences, and seminars. It’s important to think of a referral as a two-way street. Referring providers want to send their clients to other professionals they like and trust. Providing reciprocity will go a long way — even if it simply means sending a thank you card.

Create an online presence
Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages. Consumers use the internet to find just about everything, including therapy. Providers wanting to increase their caseloads will want to facilitate this path of contact as much as possible.

Depending on the budget, this could mean building a website. Paid listings, such as Psychology Today and GoodTherapy, are relatively inexpensive options that typically yield good results.

To learn more about how to market for your private practice, click here.

Never stop learning
Over the course of their careers, providers continue to learn and develop skills to make them better at what they do. It’s never too early to start attending conferences and seminars or look into continuing education. Acquiring more knowledge, tools, and strategies not only reflects in the quality of care providers can give, it might also help them connect with clients that are looking for a specific skill set.

Get an EHR
Managing workflows on paper is possible, albeit challenging. There is a lot of cognitive overhead, but more importantly, it is a tremendous time sink.

Electronic health records technology has come a long way, and certain tasks that have historically bit deeply into the provider’s time can now be handled efficiently through software automation. Scheduling, documentation, and billing are now a matter of clicks, as opposed to hours of writing and maintaining stacks of paper records – time that could otherwise be spent bringing value to the practice.

Getting from a part- to full-time commitment to behavioral health care doesn’t happen overnight, but by executing on some key strategies, providers can expect to grow their caseloads in a timely manner.

Interested in seeing what software automation can do for you? Click the button below to request a demo!

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