This month we celebrate an inspiring provider out of Chattanooga, TN. Dr. Allyson Ramos met her husband through ballroom dance instruction and hopes to reach more patients on the dance floor as well. Meet Ally and learn how she makes cash-pay physical therapy into busy life as a mom of two, wife, dance instructor, studio owner, and PT.
What is your favorite thing about being a PT? Nothing makes me more happy than hearing that my patients are feeling better and they are conquering their activity or self-care goals. I love the flexibility of being able to work with many different populations as well. I find it so rewarding to be able to help someone pick up their grandchildren or help another patient eliminate pain related to a hobby they love. How did you find CO? After having my second child, I ended up resigning from my position as a full-time PT in a busy ortho clinic. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my baby because I feel like I really missed out when I had my first child. I would often see him for just 30-40 minutes by the time I made it home from work...and generally the earlier I made it home, the more charts I had to finish that night or the next morning! After about 1 year off as a stay-at-home mom, I was ready to get back into the workforce but I really needed something part-time to accommodate my family's schedule. I saw a posting from CO on Indeed.com and was immediately interested!
Why did you want to go into cash-pay? After scrolling through regional job postings, I kept seeing "must be able to work in a fast-paced environment" and "must excel in multi-tasking". In reality, these qualities are great to have, but I feel like in the medical world this actually translates into "must be able to handle being overbooked on a regular basis". It made me realize that I was not interested in returning to a traditional clinic setting. I felt very burned out and was even questioning if I even enjoyed my career field. After reaching out to CO and talking to Kelli, I realized that a cash-pay practice would allow me to get back to what I love about physical therapy. It also offers me the flexibility to pick up a sick kid from school or adjust my schedule based on a family vacation. What can you tell us about your hiring and onboarding experience? The process was very easy and seamless! I ended up starting around the Christmas holiday, so it gave me time to read through the material, prepare my website, and plan next steps during a time where I didn't feel pressured to immediately start recruiting new patients. Kelli was very open and helpful during our meetings. She even welcomed my husband to join and ask questions since he would essentially be my support system through this new career change. What is your favorite part about working with CO? One of my favorite things about working with CO is being able to have a point of contact for any issues that arise. I have been able to contact Kelli quickly regarding insurance benefits, payment issues, direct access questions, and more. It makes the idea of being "on your own" not as scary, because you realize you in fact have a network that is there to help you out and support your practice.
How has your practice changed since joining CO? My husband and I own a local dance studio where we teach Salsa & Bachata dancing two nights per week. When we are not teaching, we rent out the space to other instructors. After getting started with CO, we decided this would be a phenomenal opportunity to get a lot of leads through the studio while working with patients. I often share the space with another dance instructor so it is not uncommon to have some dancing entertainment while you are getting worked on! I have a lot of crossover between my Salsa students and my patients so I kind of lean into that with helpful tips and exercises on social media that are geared towards dancers.
What tips and tricks can you share with other PTs to recruit cash-pay patients? Since starting in February, I have been primarily seeing clients via word-of-mouth through former patients, current dance students, and their friends/family. To reach some new faces, I started doing some monthly and seasonal promotions that I share on social media. One of my favorite promotions has been offering a free follow-up visit with the purchase of an evaluation. Instead of a discounted evaluation, this promo allows me to get new patients back in the studio for an additional session. This gives me a whole extra hour to build rapport, show them more benefits of physical therapy, and provide more hands-on treatment to help give them relief. Another tip is to be consistent on social media and show some of the day-to-day footage or "behind the scenes" so people who are unfamiliar with PT can get an idea of what it is like. It can also be important for people who have had PT so they can see how you differ from traditional PT clinics they may have already experienced. When possible (or when I remember!), I try to get some videos of patients in action so viewers can also see what types of conditions you treat. This month, I have been working on providing valuable content to my social media followers by posting reels and carousels weekly and to my "stories" daily. You don't have to be a viral sensation, but get out and interact with as many local pages as you can so you can get your name out there! They are more likely to call you up or recommend you to a friend if they can scroll through your profile and see some clues as to who you are and what you do. What are your goals for the next year of your CO practice? Since I am not looking to expand to working full-time (just yet), my current goal is to establish consistency within a part-time caseload. Since starting in February, my schedule can fluctuate. So, some weeks I see more and some weeks I see less. Now that I am getting a feel for the whole cash-pay process and finding my rhythm on social media, I am working on balancing that schedule out so I can have a more condensed and productive weekly schedule. My next goal is to host a few more workshops and interactive events. Through the dance studio, I offered our students a dancer's workshop where we went over important stability drills, strength exercises and stretches to help them handle the load of dancing in high heels for 2-3 hours at a time! They found this to be incredibly helpful and I was able to provide them with some complimentary stretching straps, treatment coupons, and exercise handouts. This was a great opportunity for them to ask questions about what I do and get my opinion on any general issues they may be having. I would love to make these workshops more regular to continue to help our students and reach more potential patients.
Interested in booking with Dr. Ramos or joining our team? Check out the links below.