How to Build a Successful Outpatient Program

With our focus on meeting all the needs of our communities, we wanted to provide some information about our Colonial Manor of Randolph outpatient program. Randolph, Nebraska, is a town with a population of 894. Despite that, they have found a way to operate as one of the largest outpatient programs as an Ensign Affiliate. Here is what Eric Feilmeier, OT, CLT, DOR, has to say about why they have been able to have success!

When working to build a successful outpatient clinic, it is important to begin with Core Values. Here are few values that we have found to be important:

  1. Deliver WOW through service.
  2. Embrace and drive change.
  3. Create fun.
  4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded.
  5. Pursue growth and learning.
  6. Build open and honest relationships with communication.
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit.
  8. Do more with less.
  9. Be passionate and determined.
  10. Be humble.

We have had success in our Nebraska market due to a number of reasons. First and foremost, be supportive of your therapists. Provide clinically centered CEU opportunities that focus on problems in your area. Here at Colonial Manor, we are LSVT certified and are going through power moves certification, urinary incontinence certification and Lymphedema Certification. Provide programming around the skills of your Therapists so they can get to the bottom of each patient’s problems. It’s important to educate on HEP for patients, but then leave that to them and focus on the true needs, utilize the specialty equipment in our gyms and provide proper intensity of treatment.

  • Make sure the patient feels that they got a lot out of each session.
  • Provide proper frequency. MAKE IT COUNT IN THE GYM! Remember, the patient won’t typically do as much at home. Modalities: We work closely with ACP rep to provide the best adjunct treatment options to assist with improving care. Patient’s Love modalities- modalities provide physical and psychosomatic results.

When working with your outpatient, always assess additional problems and needs that the patient may not realize themselves. Ask questions, because there might be a higher need for another discipline to step in. We are always looking out for one another’s skill sets and the potential benefit to collaborate our services to further meet the needs of our client.

Cancellation Management is the biggest obstacle of our Outpatient business. We do our best to stop cancellations, but that is not always easy. Some tips to reduce cancellations include:


  • Provide a message. Ask the patient why they are in your clinic, what they expect and what they want to gain.
  • Hold their answers against them (In a positive way). Always have a conversation during the evaluation about the frequency and the importance of coming to therapy when they are scheduled, expressing to them that we can help them but they must come to scheduled appointments to make a difference (hold them accountable).Call ins: Problem-solve
  • When you get the patient on the phone and they want to cancel, ask, Why? What are you experiencing? Many times, the reason for the cancelation is exactly why they should be coming into their appointment. Be adamant and convince them to come in, if you believe you can help them.
  • When a patient leaves a message, call them and ask them the same questions. They may just need to be convinced that you can help them!
  • Move treatment times to another time of day or to a whole other day. Flexibility in your clinic is the key!

Last but not least, build and maintain relationships with your Physicians and Nursing. Frequent updates to communicate patient results to Physicians is always appreciated. Send notes or small updates with the patient to their next doctor appointments, even if the doctor doesn’t request it. These notes can be a quick word Doc, a progress note that is timed with an appointment, or even a nicely handwritten note.

All in all, have goals to grow your Outpatient clinics. Focus on the patient, and you will see excellent results. I even encourage devising a patient satisfaction survey to monitor your success and areas of opportunity. Good luck!

By Eric Feilmeier, OT, CLT, DOR, Colonial Manor, Randolph, NE, and Ryan Hough, Therapy Resource, Gateway, NE