What does a telerehab caseload look like? This was a question I had and a question I get asked often now. After four months, I can tell you that it truly depends. If you are only licensed in one state, you may only have a few patients depending on the state. If you have several licenses, you can maintain a moderate sized caseload.
In my first week, I was about to learn just how busy telehealth could be, especially in a pandemic where several outpatient clinics were closed. In my first two days alone, I had 7 to 8 new evaluations each day. By the end of the second full day, I was beginning to feel more comfortable with the process. My company allocates 60 minutes for each new evaluation, noting that the evaluation will likely not take that long, but you’ll need time to complete all the administrative tasks associated with the visit such as completing the documentation, scheduling the follow-up appointments, emailing the coordinators to obtain additional authorization, emailing the equipment coordinator to have the necessary equipment sent to the patient, and establishing the initial home exercise program to be emailed to the patient as an after-visit summary. I was also getting used to going into the other system to verify authorized visits for each new patient. There seems to be some additional administrative work that needs to be completed by the therapists in telehealth, so the 60-minute time slot is helpful.
Like the first week of any outpatient-based travel assignment, most of my patients the first week were new evaluations. This is not atypical, as you must set establish a caseload. By the end of the week, I had a lot of practice scheduling follow-up appointments!
At the end of my first week, I had approximately 35 hours and I knew this would be the trend to come. My supervisor encouraged me to schedule my patients as far out as I could so that I wouldn’t be bombarded with new evaluations and no place to put my current patients for follow-up treatments (advice I was later thankful for).
By the end of my second week, it was clear that I would be getting substantially more than 10 hours per week (the contract guarantee). The client agreed to change the verbiage in the contract to state expected 40 hours so that I could qualify for benefits such as insurance and 401k. It was at this time that we also agreed to extend my contract for an additional three months since the volume was there and I had enjoyed the job so far!
Curious about telerehab? Stay tuned for the next edition of my reflections as a telerehab therapist.