Home health isn’t for everyone, but it can be a simple way to make a little more cash on the side as an OT or PT.
You need to realize, that operating as a single home health provider can have it’s limitations, but there’s a loophole that might help you to work as a solo OT.
In this article, I’ll discuss the how to start a home health OT business and whether or not it’s worth it.
Table of Contents
The easiest way to get started
A simple way to get started in home health is by taking a course. Medbridge is one of the best platforms for OT courses and there’s a decent amount of information related to home health, billing, and starting a business.
You can also read my review about it here.
Types of home health businesses
There are so many different ways to be do home health as an OT. Here are a few that stand out.
- Special needs
- Home safety evaluations
Geriatric home health
Geriatric home health is your typical home health setting. These patients are usually referred from a hospital or rehab facility.
To work as a geriatric OT, you will need to apply to Medicare to treat patients 65 and older. You may want to partner with other insurance carriers in your area.
Pediatric home health is very similar to geriatric. These patients are usually referred by a doctor when outpatient pediatric OT is not feasible.
You will need to partner with insurance providers commonly used by your patients or provide a self pay option.
Special needs home health refers to individual patients that come to your clinic, hospital, or have a personal relationship with you. Typically, these patients are self pay and may require a referral from a physician based on your state regulations.
Outpatient home health
Outpatient home health is just like outpatient OT but it’s done in the home. This is part of medicare part B and it works for any patient that has a outpatient script for OT.
The patient must be considered home-bound by a physician to receive these services.
Home Safety evaluations
A home safety evaluation can be helpful for most patients returning home from a hospital.
Home safety evaluations are usually not covered by insurance but they can be covered by medicare or self pay methods. They usually include home assessments and modifications to make for safer accomodations at home.
A patient will need to pay for equipment unless DME is submitted to Medicare.
To download a safe at home checklist, click here.
Telehealth can be setup as a self pay system or delivered through medicare, but you will need the correct authorization to setup telehealth. You’ll have to check with medicare as telehealth therapy continues to evolve.
You may also consider buying professional equipment for telehealth to appear more professional.
What type of home health business should you start?
If growing a home health business seems too complicated, work with a company like Luna to do your medicare billing. This will free up your time to find clients, work with clinicians, and setup your business without the huge learning curve.
Once you get your business going, then learn how to apply for medicare and setup your billing. This is just a great way to help you get started without feeling the stress of such a huge transition.
How to start a home health business as an OT by yourself
It may seem impossible to start a home health business by yourself, but it’s not that hard if you apply for medicare part B, provide services to special needs patients, or do home safety evaluations.
When starting this type of business, you may need to reach out to case managers at hospitals or rehab facilities to see who might qualify for your services.
Outpatient home health
Medicare part B is for outpatient services and normally it’s done at an outpatient clinic, but it doesn’t have to be.
With home health you need nursing staff, physical therapy, speech therapy, and other staff, but with outpatient, you don’t need all the extra staff.
Starting small can actually help you prepare yourself to grow your business. Once your get more clients and more established in your community, you can start branching out by hiring other staff.
You may find a special needs client that has the extra funds to hire and pay you out of pocket. This can happen when patients have met their deductible or don’t have insurance.
We doing a this type of job, it’s best to get a referral from a clinician and keep good documentation.
Home safety assessments
Anyone can benefit from a home safety assessment when returning from a hospital. You may also find that these patients will need additional needs as you do your assessment.
Your job should be to do a regular OT evaluation and go through a checklist to make sure the client is safe in their home.
Starting a business without the stress
Starting a home health business can be stressful with all the documentation and marketing, but one simple way to start is by having someone else do all the hard work, so you can focus on expanding your business.
Luna is a new business that does this for you. They enroll in Medicare, do your billing, and provide scheduling and documentation so you can focus on finding clients.
I don’t know of any other way to make this process more simple than that.
How to make more money in home health
If you’re interested in making more money in home health check out my YouTube video here. One simple way is by finding a home health agency that will work with your zip codes. Watch the video to learn more.
Starting a home health business can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to start is to just go for it and stop worrying about the complications and risks associated with it.
Starting out, you may fail, but you won’t know until you try.
I hope this was helpful. Check me out on YouTube when you get a chance and subscribe to learn about OT courses, tips, and tricks.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.