The Secret Sanctuary – Part 3

I heard Liz and her client’s footsteps disappear into the back and the door close to
Liz’s workspace.

I took a sip of coffee and through about the previous two years since we had graduated and opened the shop.  We weren’t millionaires but we weren’t scraping for cash either. We’d had very few complaints, no particularly difficult customers that we felt we’d need to drop as customers, and most importantly; referrals were growing our client base fairly quickly.  We had informally talked about bringing on another therapist or two to help manage the workload.  I still didn’t think that I was carrying my weight with clients but Kate and Liz wouldn’t let me since I was running the “back office” side of the shop.

I figured I’d go back and randomly pick 10 or 20 of Kate’s client visits and see how they reconciled against the appointment type, what was received, and all that good office management stuff.  As I dove into the first visit, I thought for a bit about paying a case reviewer to come in and audit Kate’s records but I knew it would cost more than we
would likely be able to sue Kate for if we fired her for embezzling funds from the company.

As the computer pulled up the records, I heard a car pull up. I looked at the day’s
schedule to see there was no one scheduled until Kate’s 11am. Maybe I can pick up a new client…

When the door chime sounded, I looked up and saw a younger looking man walking in, scruffy beard, kinda crazy hair and thought to myself, “Oh great, someone who’s lost.”

“Uhm, hi.  I was referred by Kurt and I wanted to see if I could set up an appointment some time.”

Referred by Kurt, this could prove interesting.” I thought to myself as I made eye contact and was surprised by the intensity in his gaze.

“Sure, no problem.  We don’t have any openings today but we might be able to get you on the schedule for tomorrow.” I said as I grabbed a clipboard and a new patient packet. “If you want to have a seat and fill out our new patient questionnaire and the medical history sheets here. We are not covered by most insurance plans at this time, so you
will need to pay directly for any services rendered.  We do accept flex spending and health savings accounts.” I paused to catch my breath. I’d gotten into the habit of just  rattling off the entire spiel in one long breath. “I’m Pete and if you have any
questions, please feel free to ask.”

“Thanks Pete,” he said and took the clipboard.  He walked over to the far
corner and started filling out his paperwork.

I went back to reviewing charts and over the next 20 minutes found that
every one of Kate’s encounters fit the same pattern.  I tried to keep my discouragement from showing but to no avail.  I was just taking another drink of my coffee and wishing I had something stronger than half-and-half to put in it when our potential new client came walking back up to the desk.

He flashed a smile and asked, “You having a bad day too?”

I smiled back at him, “Nah, just the joys of being the office manager. Getting to review billings and all that.”

“Sounds boring.” he said with that same smile and what I could have sworn was a wink.

I chuckled to myself and thought, “If I wasn’t the manager and if I was looking for someone, I might be interested.”

I looked over his paperwork, “So. Chris, did you have any questions?”

I continued scanning over his paperwork and saw that he was looking for
a male therapist. Swing! New client for me!

“Not really, just wondering what your rates are and how soon I could book
and how often.”

I handed him our standard rate card and let him know that we were looking at 3-4 weeks out for booking as we were getting busier than our current staffing would allow and we were about to start interviewing to hire another therapist or maybe two.

“Oh, I pulled my hamstring or something and my left leg is bothering me.”

I hadn’t really watched him walk in or around the office, so I took his word on it.  I pulled up our master schedule.  With Kate out of the office for the day and maybe longer, I didn’t want to try to get creative with trying to work him into the schedule.

I looked out a couple of days to Friday and saw that if I scheduled Liz for the front desk in the morning, I could work Chris on to my schedule.

“Chris, would Friday morning at 9am work?  It’ll be a minimum of a thirty  minute appointment as I’ll be doing your initial assessment.  Did you know how long of a session you wanted to schedule?”

“I, uh…” Chris stumbled as he fumbled with the rate sheet, “Well,
I’ve never done anything like this before, so I think I’d wanna
go all in and go for the two hour deluxe.”

I smiled, “Okay, but if your leg is an actual inury, that would be
the more expensive sport/injury session not our normal relaxation

Chris looked at the rate card, “No problem.  I don’t think I’d need
that kind of session that often.”

“True, just wanted to make sure you were aware of the rate changes.  I look
forward to seeing you Friday morning at 9.  Did you want an appointment reminder?”

“Nah, I’ll remember Pete.” and with that Chris ambled back out the door and I was left wondering what Liz would say about me adjusting her schedule.

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