40 Transcript

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[00:00:00] Hello, and happy holidays to everybody. This is The Testing Psychologist Podcast episode 40. I’m Dr. Jeremy Sharp.

Before we get started today, I want to give a quick shout-out to our sponsor Practice Solutions. You’ve heard me talk about them before. They’re a full-service mental health billing company They do it all. They do everything from claim submission to sending statements, to collecting payment to collections, and they will help you with all aspects of billing. We’ve been working with them for the past few months, and we are noticing, it looks like about a 30% increase in collections from before we started working with them.

So if you’re interested in a billing company, I recommend you give them a call. You can do a free consultation and see if they might be a good fit for you. If you go to practicesol.com/jeremy, you can get a discount on your first month’s services as well.

All right. Now, onto the podcast.

Hey y’all, welcome back to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I am Jeremy Sharp. Happy holidays to everybody out there. Hope that you are maybe getting some time off. Let’s see, as this episode is released, we’ll be getting pretty close to Christmas time. So, hope you are all doing well and enjoying the holiday season so far.

I feel like this time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s just flies by. It’s like I blink and then all of a sudden we’re in January. We’re right in the midst of that. I don’t know about y’all either, but our practice is hectic here at the end of the year as people are trying to get in end of the semester [00:02:00] and maybe grades weren’t quite as good as they were hoping and also trying to get their deductibles met, or sorry, they have their deductibles met and they’re trying to get services before the deductible resets.

Either way, things have been hectic. But that is all good. My reframe here lately, I got tired of saying that I’m busy. I feel like I was just saying I was busy for a long time. So my reframe is that now I say I am getting the opportunity to help lots of people on days that are particularly busy. So that’s where I’m at.

Today, I wanted to talk with you about a few different things. Just a few little tips and things that I’m going to be working on here over the holidays.

I tend to take about two weeks off over the holidays, usually the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s. Sometimes that’s more aspirational than others, but the idea is that I [00:03:00] block off two weeks to catch up. Usually, by the time I get where I am right now, here at the end of the year, I’ve maybe gotten behind on reports or there’ve been things that have been left over from the practice and there are some loose ends to tie up. So I am taking two weeks off and I wanted to talk with y’all about how to maybe utilize that time.

My hope is that each of you might be able to take some time off during this holiday season as well. So hopefully you have a little bit of time away from clients. You might be able to block out a few good chunks of time to work on some other things in your practice.

I tend to do this about twice a year where I go back, revisit, revamp things, take a look at everything, and make sure that everything’s running smoothly. Christmas is one of those times and [00:04:00] sometime during the summer, usually June or July, I will do this as well. So, hopefully, you have the opportunity to do this too.

If you are sitting at your computer or you happen to be in front of your schedule, it might be a good time to check and see, do you have two days where you could maybe block out 3 to 4 hours on each day just to look at your practice and try to make some things more efficient and tune things up a little bit because I’m going to give you three quick things that you can look at to move in that direction.

The first thing that I am going to be doing here over the break is taking a good look at my report templates. You may have heard the podcast two episodes ago with Dr. Jacobus Donders, he wrote a book called Neuropsychological Report Writing, and we talked a lot about how to write efficient reports that were useful and not too long.

[00:05:00] I got a lot of feedback from that episode about how… I think he said that he writes his reports in about 20 minutes not including thinking time, but he dictates reports in about 20 minutes and they end up being 3 to 4 pages long. A lot of you had an, Oh my gosh reaction. It has sparked a lot of discussion too about how to make our report shorter, more efficient, and more helpful.

Taking that as a springboard, I’m going to be looking at my report template to make sure that I have tightened everything up, and maybe you could do the same. I’ll start at the top and try to look at it with completely fresh eyes. So I look at the header, I’d say, is all that information necessary? Is it clear? Is it exactly what the reader wants or needs? And then move from there down through your various sections. So [00:06:00] taking a critical eye and saying to yourself is this material needed?

Now, some things that got brought up in the prior podcast that might get cut out are rewriting history a little bit so that you are only including information that is relevant and not just regurgitating info that everybody should probably already be aware of. So cutting down your your background and history. I’m giving serious thought to maybe even eliminating the results section entirely and just letting the score tables speak for themselves at the end of the report, and jumping straight to the clinical impressions and recommendations.

Now, in those recommendations, you can make sure that you are tying everything together succinctly, but also in a very helpful way. So you’re not again, repeating information that’s already present in the report.[00:07:00] You’re also not repeating information that other people already know. The interpretation should be a section where you’re offering new information. You tie everything together from the testing, and then you relate that directly to recommendations.

Speaking of recommendations, that is the second thing that I’m going to be looking at. We’ve talked here on the podcast before about trying to have a recommendation bank, and hopefully, you are all building your recommendation banks so that you are not reinventing the wheel with every report you write. If not, this is a gentle reminder to start to develop a recommendation bank that you can pull from and insert into your reports as you go along.

I’m going to be diving into our recommendation bank and going through each one with a fine toothcomb, fine-tuning the wording, making sure [00:08:00] that the recommendations are helpful, clear, not written with any jargon, and also supported by research. This is one of the times during the year when I’ll go back through and look up a few newer articles and look up any books or other resources that might’ve been published in the last year, just to make sure that the recommendations I am offering are on point. This is something also, I think that helps keep our report writing fresh and makes it a little bit easier.

I talked with, I believe it was Kelly Higdon way back in episode, gosh, maybe 10 or 12 when she was talking about building an ideal practice. If you haven’t listened to that episode, it’s great. She talks a lot about lifestyle practice and making your practice exactly what you want. Part of that is we talked about how a lot of psychologists choose to do a lot of testing but they hate report writing.

And she asked the question, [00:09:00] “Well, why are you doing something that you hate so much of the time?” And one of the things that came out of that was figuring out that, for me, revamping the report periodically which includes recommendations, which includes report format is something that helps keep report writing fresh and keeps me interested and keeps me engaged.

So to go back and look at your recommendations and make sure that those are on point and they’re working for you and they’re working for the client is another thing to tune up here over the holidays. Again, this does not take a ton of time. If you have two hours set aside, you can probably roll through them pretty quickly.

Now, the third thing that I would recommend you check out is your, I would call it policies and procedures and paperwork. This is a time to go through, if you have employees or psychometricians [00:10:00] or anything like that, to go through and make sure that all of your disclosure statements accurately reflect those individuals’ credentials, supervision requirements, and things like that.

I always like to go through our paperwork again, to make sure that all of the wording is intact. Maybe some of you have put off putting together a supplemental billing agreement. I know we’ve talked a lot in the Facebook group lately about whether you can charge insurance clients the balance of your testing if the testing is not covered by insurance. So that is one form that you might want to put together if you take insurance.

If you don’t take insurance, now’s a good time to go through and make sure that your forms accurately reflect your testing process and that you have everything you need in place to make sure that people know what to expect.

[00:11:00] I would also include fees in this discussion. I think January, the first of the year is a great time to go back and say, am I charging enough? So you can look at the market, you can look at your experience. You at this point have one more year’s worth of experience under your belt. So go back and check that out. Make sure that you are charging what you should be charging and update your paperwork to reflect that.

So those are going to be the main things that I am looking at over the next two weeks to make sure that the practice is in good shape to keep moving forward here, and maybe you have some other things in mind that you’re going to be looking at as well. But I think now is a good time to again, take the time and revamp a few things, and make sure that you’re good to go when you have a little bit of time off.

Now, if you have other things that you’re going to [00:12:00] be working on over the break, I would love to have you jump into our Facebook group and talk about it there and let everybody else know what sort of things you are doing to fine tune and make your practice more efficient. So if you’re not a member of the Facebook community, it’s called The Testing Psychologist Community. You can search for it on Facebook. We are over 500 members strong at this point. It’s awesome to see that community come together and see people sharing about the business stuff, the clinical side, asking about measures, things like that. So, we’d love to have you join us if you’re not in the Facebook group.

Before we take off, just going to give one more shout-out to Practice Solutions. Like I said at the beginning, they do it all in terms of billing. So if you are maybe making a resolution for this coming year to tighten up the finances in your practice, give Practice Solutions a call and see if they can help you. You can go to practicesol.com/jeremy [00:13:00] and if you sign up that way, or just tell them you heard about them through The Testing Psychologist, they will give you a discount on your first month services. Either way, you can give them a call, talk about whether it’d be a good fit, and then go from there. No pressure.

So thank you again, as always for listening. I think I’m going to be hitting you with another episode before Christmas, or I guess, it’ll come out on Christmas Day and then another on New Year’s Day. I hope the holidays go well for you. I will talk with you next time. Take care.

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