This week’s spotlight is on Lawrence Flisser, PT, a non-clinical physical therapist who is Co-Owner of Therapy Documentation Specialists!
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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Lawrence Flisser, PT — Co-Owner, Therapy Documentation Specialists
Where are you located?
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
My first job was in rehab at an acute care hospital. I worked there for two years.
In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
I worked in:
- Outpatient orthopedics
- Neuro rehab
- Home care
- Skilled nursing facilities
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
I enjoyed the multidisciplinary medical aspect.
I didn’t enjoy the limitations set by insurance companies.
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
I owned my own home care physical therapy company. I also owned two outpatient physical therapy clinics here in Nevada.
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
I decided to do something non-clinical because we had to close our outpatient clinics after the pandemic.
I was helping a friend with documentation compliance for his rehab companies. So, I decided to focus my energies on documentation compliance, and I started the business. My wife is Co-Owner and Director of Operations.
What are you doing these days?
These days, I do marketing for the business. I also work as a PRN school-based PT.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
Currently, I work for a contract agency treating children in private and charter schools.
How long have you been in your current role?
I started two months ago.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
I have a dry needling certification and a nutrition certification, but I do not use those in this role.
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
I found my job on Indeed.com.
When did you start your business?
I started my business in 2020.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
After owning two outpatient clinics, I realized how important documentation is for justified ethical treatment and for reimbursement.
What is your business, and what types of products or services do you offer?
We provide off-site documentation audits for companies in all 50 states who provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. We offer one-on-one and group training in proper documentation and billing. We also help companies with Medicare audits.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time as co-owner?
At this time, I mainly help to market our business.
What are some of the rewards of your co-owner role? What are the biggest challenges?
The rewards of being a business owner are obviously the flexibility and independence.
The biggest challenge is to convince companies that they will save thousands of dollars by using our services, as we help them avoid getting denials and audits.
They hire compliance officers and pay them ~$98,000 per year. However, if they used our services, it would cost them less than half of that.
How did your clinical background prepare you for your role as co-owner? Which skills transferred?
Working in outpatient for many years has definitely prepared me for this role. The main skill that transferred is interpersonal communication.
Ready to launch your own non-clinical career?
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
The hours are flexible.
Compliance specialists at our company are paid close to a treating therapist’s salary.
What type of person do you think would do well in a documentation compliance role?
Being detail-oriented is essential for this role.
In addition, compliance specialists need to have excellent verbal and written communication when speaking with treating therapists to help them correct their documentation.
Do you work remotely or onsite?
I work 100% remote.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
Yes. We hire veteran therapists with 10+ years of outpatient experience into compliance specialists roles.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
Yes, I have taken numerous continuing education courses in compliance. I also stay current on all Medicare changes through CMS.gov and other websites.
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
We want to build Therapy Documentation Specialists and provide our services to all outpatient clinics nationwide.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours? Do you have any special words of wisdom for the readers?
What would you like to change most in your profession, and why? How would you propose doing so?
I would like to see physical therapists have more non-clinical positions.
What career advice would you give yourself that you wish you had during school?
As they say on an airplane, put your mask on first. You must take care of your wellbeing, so you can be a strong and healthy provider for others.
I say that because I had two back surgeries, including a recent lumbar fusion.
What would you teach to today’s graduate students in your profession, if you had the opportunity?
How to document properly.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Work for our company!