This Easy Tool Gives Analytical Insights for Improving Program Efficiency
Doctors give you a checkup once a year to make sure all your systems are in working order.
But when did you last give your district’s special ed and related services program a checkup? Are you sure that system’s working the way it should?
Special education administrators like you shoulder tremendous responsibility.
You’re busy setting the budget. And staffing your therapy services with qualified, licensed therapists. And getting training for teachers and paraprofessionals. And keeping up with the latest legal changes and court rulings. And handling the endless emergencies demanding your energy and attention.
How do you fit a checkup on your program’s health into all that?
A BudgetWatch™ Program Summary from Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) makes it easy.
It’s a twice-a-year, in-depth analysis of how we’re managing your program for you. It gives you the vital signs you need to control costs, improve outcomes, and get ahead of spending trends.
You’ll know how healthy your program is now, and you’ll be able to write a well-informed prescription for its even healthier future.
Introducing the BudgetWatch™ Program Summary
Before they start working with PTS, most of our clients know their costs are increasing. What they don’t know is why. They assume—not unreasonably, considering national trends—more students require related services. So they resign themselves to spending more money.
PTS’ BudgetWatch™—our award-winning, patent-pending therapy staffing management software—puts that assumption under a spotlight to examine it objectively.
BudgetWatch™ monitors your program’s key metrics and costs every month, but the semiannual Program Summary offers a higher-level perspective. It’s basically a dashboard showing how your resources are being used and whether your processes are being followed.
We provide a year-to-year comparison, by building and program and by discipline, of:
- Percentage of Students Seen in Small Groups
- Billing by Category – for example, Direct Service; Diagnostic Costs
- Referrals – including analyses of where and why referrals happen
- Discharges/Exits from Services
- Cost and Caseload by Placement Type – for example, low incidence; Autistic Support (AS); Multiple Disabilities Support (MDS)
How Your Program Summary Unlocks the Power of Data
We’ve managed related services for more than two decades. We’ve learned each school in a district has its own culture and uses services differently. That’s why breaking down data by building as well as program type is the best way to make sure spending decisions make sense.
When BudgetWatch™ brings confusing or concerning data to light, we can dig deeper to either understand the situation or fix a problem before it gets worse.
Here are just a few examples of this powerful approach in action:
- When we saw one suburban elementary school’s costs double, BudgetWatch™ allowed us to trace that increase to a student who’d suffered a traumatic brain injury over the summer. He suddenly required advanced therapy and multiple related services to support him. We can’t necessarily reduce costs in cases like these, but we can give you facts to support your expenditures.
- Some psychologists like to have every discipline do a full evaluation to “rule out” the need for services. Others allow professionals to do screenings first to save on unnecessary testing. BudgetWatch™ isolates patterns like these so managers can take corrective action to allocate resources more fairly and efficiently.
- Sometimes costs rise because a district is bringing low-incidence students back from out-of-district programs. While this shift increases the cost of in-district related services, it generally reduces the overall budget and ensures therapists see students in the least restrictive environment possible.
These examples illustrate the benefit of tracking caseloads and costs for specific types of placements, in specific buildings. BudgetWatch™ always gives you data you need to justify your budget setting and therapy staffing decisions to your Business Manager and School Board. It also lets you document just how much you’re saving!
How Your Program Summary Helps You Take Action
But BudgetWatch™ Program Summaries are more than data. Your PTS Clinical Director analyzes all that information and synthesizes it with input from your therapy team. The result? Highly focused recommendations for making your program even better. Using information from the building and placement levels, PTS can target interventions where they’ll make the most impact.
For example, a building sees therapy costs spike. Several possible explanations exist—a lot of referrals, more direct service requirements on IEPs, or less efficient service delivery.
The Program Summary points to inefficiency as the issue. The Clinical Director then looks at the data to find the root cause. Maybe your therapy staff is providing more individual services and fewer groups, billing too much indirect time for paperwork, or giving a new MDS class lots of consultative support. Once we know why costs are rising, we can make adjustments and improve the trends.
Get Meaningful Data from PTS and Make Your Special Ed Program Stronger
Trying to run a special education program without meaningful data is like trying to drive a car while wearing a blindfold. When you can’t see where you’re going, sooner or later, something’s going to go wrong.
The BudgetWatch™ Program Summary relieves your stress by making you a more informed leader. It kicks off an ongoing cycle of data analysis, strategic plans for improvement, and practical implementation. Your district’s special ed and related services program grows continually stronger.
PTS gives you data-rich insight as well as therapy staffing solutions and administrative support so you can make real improvements to your program, all while controlling costs. To learn more, call us today at 610-941-7020 or contact us online.