The January Checklist for Mental Health Therapists
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, TPS VA
As January begins and thus a new year, many clinicians are talking about goal-setting. You may find resolutions to be a helpful practice as you begin 2023. Maybe you prefer something like intentions instead. You may even go full-therapist mode and set some SMART goals for yourself! Regardless of how you’re setting goals in January, you’re likely wondering: what do I need to do in 2023 as a mental health clinician who runs their own private practice?
Goal-setting in your business is beneficial in the same way it’s beneficial for clients. Goal-setting makes us feel more focused. We feel more motivated, like we have a plan-of-action that makes us ready to go. Goal-setting also lets us know if we’re achieving our benchmarks - it keeps us on track with our long-term plans.
If you’re feeling lost, it’s easy to wonder “what should I, as a mental health therapist, do in January?”. If you’re not sure, check out our Mental Health Therapist Checklist for January below, from the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions!
Update Your Website + Social Media Marketing
We get it - many clinicians don’t love website design or social media marketing. However, updating your website periodically lets search engines like Google know that your website is active and your business is running. Not to mention - your website should be up-to-date regarding your specialties, training, and fees, so an occasional update is needed!
Wondering what you should update if nothing is new for your business? Consider adding a blog to your website and posting at least twice a month. Blogs increase the amount of keywords on your website, meaning you’ll appear in more keyword searches. Making a blog relevant to your niche can help ensure clients who fit your target population are finding you when they’re conducting an online search.
Obtain (Re)signed Consents
All therapists should send out consents when scheduling a client for the first time, including a consent for services and a release to insurance, if applicable. However, did you know that consents should be recollected yearly?
While the requirement is to obtained a resigned consent a year after the client begins services with you, it may feel easier to just obtain a resigned consent in January of each year to not have to keep track of a bajillion different client forms (okay, less than a bajillion, but sometimes it feels like it!). Consider resending your consent forms to all clients in January of each year and bringing it up in your first session of 2023 with each client.
Send a Fee Schedule Increase Request to Insurances
Your fee schedule with insurance companies is your contracted rate, or how much insurance agrees to pay you for services. Insurances don’t advertise this of course, but you can submit a letter yearly to negotiate a fee increase with the insurance companies you’re paneled with.
The Group Practice Exchange suggests including the following in your letter:
- List your specialties as well as any formal training you’ve received (for example, if you serve those with eating disorders and have a CEDS certification, this would be relevant for insurance to know
- Inform insurances of your set rate (for example, if you bill private pay clients $180 per session, include this exact number)
- Compare your contracted rates with that insurance panel with your regular rate (for example, if you charge $180 for 55 minutes but insurance only pays you $75, mention this)
- Let them know what percent of your caseload uses their insurance (for example, if you see 30 clients weekly and 15 of them use BlueCross BlueShield, let BCBS know that 50% of your caseload are their members)