What is a Successful Behavioral Health Social Media Strategy Supposed to Accomplish?
So you are a counselor, a social worker, a psychologist, or and addictions counselor, and you have built a private practice which depends on insurance reimbursement for a majority, if not all, of your income, and you are hearing some rumblings about how the Affordable Care Act is going to impact your income and you are worried.
You are seeing or hearing many of your peers talk about developing a cash clientele, folks who may have insurance, but choose to pay you out of pocket, rather than utilize their insurance, and you have some fears that such a thing is possible, perhaps because you have never been a marketer of your practice, beyond a Psychology Today profile, and maybe you have a brochure website, but no one has ever seen it, because it is listed on page 10,000 of Google.
If you have a Facebook page, I will bet it has not been updated in a while, nor have you paid any attention to your ideal client. And as for Twitter, or Youtube, no time.
If this is you, it is time to get rolling, because the Affordable Care Act is going to impact you. Sean Jones of ModernPractices.com, and Sean is a former Humana executive, says that Behavioral Health types are woefully unprepared for what is coming.
The following quote is from the American Counseling Association, and ought to make you feel a little jolt of adrenaline;
The prohibition against plans discriminating against
providers on the basis of their type of license does
not require plans to contract
with any provider who
wants to be on their panel; plans decide how many
providers, of which type, they want. However, the
provision should stop health plans from having a
blanket policy of not covering counselors.”
The ACA goes on to report that;
The primary way the Affordable Care Act increases
access to health insurance
is to expand eligibility for
Medicaid. With the 2012 Supreme Court ruling
upholding the Affordable Care Act, though, Medicaid
expansion is an option for states, and not a
requirement. Although the federal government will
pick up almost all of the funding for expanding state
Medicaid programs, many states are considering
foregoing this funding and l
eaving thousands of their
residents without coverage. Regardless, though,
states remain responsible for designing their
Medicaid programs–including determining which
providers are covered under them. Counselors
should know that Medicaid programs are notorious
for low reimbursement rates.
So you are looking at some very basic changes in how your income will come to you in the future, so marketing is, beginning today, a very serious endeavor for you, Behavioral Health Specialist, and social media is one of the tools you need to access immediately.
How will you use social media to differentiate your practice from every other? Do you have a specialty, offer longer sessions, telesessions, Google Hangouts? Do you post a lot of encouraging pictures and quotes to your social media, folks who see that are going to eventually see you as that positive person, and seek you ought when they need a positive person.
So perhaps you are beginning to get a glimmer of social media’s power (and soon we will be discussing the mobile sector, which is important because about 50% of web searches these days are from a mobile device), but you are unsure how to set a strategy or measure success. Of course, one way to measure the success of a social media strategy is in dollars, but that is a raw measure.
Maybe a service is in line?
Here is a link to something you may find very interesting. Check out Imobile Innovations for both social and mobile strategies and tools.