Dolores Montero was recently featured as a female entrepreneur on GoDaddy's Small Business Blog. Combining her love of learning, teaching, and passion for physical therapy, Dolores created a business plan to help a variety of therapy professionals navigate the healthcare landscape today. Balancing the clinical practice, technology component, and the day to day business of this operation is no small task!
Dolores shares here how her professional memberships, her strong support system of colleagues and family, and "fate, and a little luck!" provide her with the encouragement and resources for a successful business. Get to know Dolores Montero, this month's member spotlight.
Congratulations on being featured as a female entrepreneur on GoDaddy's small business blog! Tell us what this means to you both as a physical therapist, and as a business owner.
Being featured as a female entrepreneur in GoDaddy’s small business blog was a welcomed surprise! As a physical therapist and business owner, most days are spent ensuring clients receive the best care and that employees are well taken care of. It is easy to get caught up in that cycle and sometimes it takes recognition like this to make you stop, take a deep breath and reflect on your work, so I am very grateful. My 3 therapist partners and I have dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort over the past 2 years toward the growth of our company and this serves as motivation to keep moving forward!
Tell us a little about your background, and how your path lead you to where you are in your career today.
Well, it was the website aspect of our company that caught the eye of GoDaddy, www.MonteroTherapyServices.com. Our practice is unique in that we specialize in providing compliance-based training, education and support specifically for nursing home professionals nationwide. Our website is a platform that allows physical, occupational and speech therapists, Rehab Managers and MDS Nurses in the skilled nursing facility setting, the ability to access our consulting services, tools and resources through membership. Our focus is serving the therapists and staff who work in this setting to ensure each have the knowledge and resources necessary for day to day success.
After years of clinical and administrative practice in the long-term care setting, I saw a need to transition from caring for the geriatric patient, to “caring for” fellow therapy professionals and nursing facilities as a whole. Over recent years it became evident that both therapists and nursing facilities were struggling with the bombardment of the ever-changing rules and regulations, particularly related to reimbursement. The rules in this setting have always been unique, encompassing Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B and Medicaid, in addition to rules associated with the federally mandated Minimum Data Set (MDS) Assessment Tool used for reimbursement. It was a desire to help eliminate this struggle for others that nudged us into this unique area of practice of being a professional resource for both therapists and nurses. I became a MDS specialist in 2013 obtaining RAC-CT certification through the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators, and use this training, as well as my experience in reimbursement to consult and provide education. Our company is an approved provider of continuing education for physical and occupational therapy in New York and multiple other states, with all education geared toward Rehab Management, Reimbursement and Compliance.
I can honestly say it was not a solid business plan that got me to this point in my professional career, more like a few twists and turns of fate, a little luck and a passion for my profession that got me here. And that’s ok with me!
You have been a member of the NYPTA for many years. Can you tell us how you have been involved, as well as how membership in your professional associations has enhanced your career?
I’ve been a member of the APTA and NY Chapter since 1988 and have served in various capacities in recent years in the Eastern District, including Director, Chair, Nominating Committee and Delegate Assembly. I am currently serving as Vice Chair alongside a great group of District leaders. To this day I rely on the educational resources available through membership, from my NY Chapter, as well as the Geriatric, Private Practice and Health Policy and Administration sections. Being a member helps keep me on the front line of new information and inspires continued learning.
Running a small business and keeping therapists current on the ever changing healthcare landscape must involve many challenges. How do you manage all of the different facets of your career?
Managing the different facets can definitely be a challenge and there are days when my head is spinning! We have the clinical practice component, technology component of the website, and the day to day business operations to manage. Luckily, I have the support of a great team whom I can rely on for projects that come our way. Running a business is a 24/7/365 operation and having supportive business partners and a supportive family makes all the difference in the world!
How is technology helping or changing your experience as business owner in the PT industry? What is your favorite new technology or device?
Technology has been a godsend to our type of niche practice and it is what enabled our company to recently expand from a local to a national platform. Through the advancements in technology and our website, we have been able to reach out to professionals nationwide and expand our training, education and support services. Through the technology of social media marketing we have grown our membership base from 1 state to 47 states in less than 2 years. Some of our favorite technology is the ability to use “remote access” to meet with and teach others. We use GoToMeeting to simply hold a meeting, or for something more in depth such as a chart review, billing claim review or a one-on-one consultation. We use GoToWebinar to present custom educational in-services for therapy departments, as well as provide education to our members. The flexibility of the technology saves time and allows us to reach more people.
What is one of the biggest differences between now, and the time you first started practicing physical therapy?
The ability to have all the information and resources at the click of a mouse vs sifting through 1000 page paper manuals is a welcomed change. Medicare Manuals, which used to be paper based, transitioned to Internet-Only Manuals, and now not only can you find what you are looking for easier, you can share the links and information with those who need the it.Technology has made the biggest difference in our type of practice.
What is your favorite hobby or past time, and how have you incorporated that into your career if at all?
My passions are learning, creating, teaching and technology – and all are a perfect fit with my role at Montero Therapy Services. I am constantly gathering information that will impact my fellow therapists in the long-term care setting and creating documents, tools and fact sheets that they can use in their practice. We also developed a Q&A Forum on our website which allows therapists to ask practice questions so teaching and technology are part of my every work day!
What advice would you give to a young professional, or a student of physical therapy as they embark on this career path?
Physical therapy is a wonderful profession that allows for so many opportunities in a variety of practice settings. My advice would be to start out broad, learning all you can about the different areas of practice and then see what sparks your passion. Use the supports around you to help you succeed. When you are in the field, don’t be afraid to ask “why” of those directing you. You should get in the habit of always knowing why you are doing what you are doing, especially when it pertains to documentation and billing. Keep compliance at the forefront of your practice.
What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you?
I live in the Albany area with my husband and 2 kids. We are the recent proud adoptive family of a 12- week-old Great Dane-mix rescue who has since taken over our household!
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