The Upside Of Building A High Volume Insurance Practice with Melissa Schneider | GP 202

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Can you build a successful mega-practice only by taking insurance? How can you maintain the retention of therapists? Why does offering in-house development boost the happiness and quality of your therapists and their services?

In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about the upside of building a high-volume insurance practice with Melissa Schneider.

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Meet Melissa Schneider

A photo of Melissa Schneider, LCSW is captured. She is a therapist, writer, and speaker specializing in couples therapy and support for entrepreneurs. Melissa is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.
Melissa Schneider, LCSW is a therapist, writer, and speaker specializing in couples therapy and support for entrepreneurs.  In 2019, she founded Resolution Counseling Center in Jersey City.  In 2023, she launched Cultivate Therapy to bring more specialized services to her community.  Melissa earned her masters in Social Work from Columbia University in 2006 and lives in Jersey City with her husband and twin first graders.
Visit Cultivate Therapy, Resolution Counseling, and connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.

In this Podcast

  • Building a successful insurance-based practice
  • Tiers and opportunities of leadership within the practice
  • The upside of hiring early career therapists

Building a successful insurance-based practice

Melissa runs two practices, one is out-of-pocket and the other is insurance-based. For her insurance-based practice, it has grown exponentially, to the point where they have 64 therapists and three locations. Of course, building a mega-practice wasn’t her first goal to achieve, but with the right system, it came to be.

When I decided to open the practice, my initial thought was; “I want to hire eight clinicians” … I did set out to maximize our session rooms, because back then in 2019 we didn’t see anyone on telehealth. So, in my mind the name of the game … was to maximize the session rooms, so we could have about four people share the room over the course of the week … That was the first year of the practice. (Melissa Schneider)

Melissa also worked with the idea of helping “build” successful and expert clinicians instead of hiring them. She supervised some and always offered new hires boot camps and certifications that fit with their client niche.

People love the idea that they’ll be able to add a notch in their belt, add a whole new population [to] serve, and that you’ll help them do it well … [with] specialists in the practice that are going to supervise you and work with you. (Melissa Schneider)

Melissa’s practice often hires graduates with provisional licenses. It depends on the state, but in New Jersey, they can practice under a supervisor while getting the rest of their credentials.

Tiers and opportunities of leadership within the practice

An aspect that allows the practice to grow and have autonomy so well is that Melissa and her team hire people who also want to be in leadership positions, not only therapists.

Instead of only hiring people who want to work, they hire people who want to be in leadership roles (at some point) who then may transition into running a branch of this practice on their own, supervising a team, or running a department. They have space for growth and they invite new employees to choose the track wherein they want to grow, both as therapists and also as professionals.

Yeah, we have leadership tracks … Do you see yourself as being a team manager? Do you want to be a site director one day? Do you want to go from junior supervisor to full supervisor? … We’re always thinking about what additional stuff we could give people because I think people like to use different parts of their brain and they want to know that they’re going to get to grow in their job, and not just do the same thing for years. (Melissa Schneider)

The upside of hiring early career therapists

There are huge benefits for:

  • Your clients
  • Your employees
  • You

Melissa explains that as a business owner, you will feel confident out of the gate instead of trying to drag up a slow-moving practice. You’ll be able to treat your employees well with benefits etc. because it’s easier to create a proper job for them. It’s also scalable if you hire a clinician on insurance who can easily have their caseload filled.

It’s [financially] possible for clients to do this until they actually have made improvement and they actually feel better, and they can call again in the next season when it’s challenging whereas with an out-of-network practice it felt like you kind of had to be ready to drop a lot of money on this problem … I don’t think [in an out-of-pocket practice] you can get the long-term retention that you [would] get in an insurance-based practice. (Melissa Schneider)

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

End Of Year Money Talk with Diana Williams | GP 201

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Meet Joe Sanok

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Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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