Disclaimer: I currently work as a physical therapist for Luna, but I did not receive any compensation for the writing of this article.
Welcome to Part 2 of this 2-Part series covering my firsthand experience working for Luna.
To recap, A Physical Therapist’s Review on Working for Luna – Part 1 detailed how I first became interested in working for Luna, how I got hired, and what the logistics of working for Luna was like.
Now the financial side of working for Luna will be discussed. More specifically, aspects such as how Luna pays physical therapists, what Luna pays physical therapists, and if physical therapists should work for Luna, work prn home health, or do both.
Let’s get started.
HOW DID LUNA PAY ME?
During your onboarding and training with Lunaversity, you will learn how to link your bank account to the Luna app. In short, if you click on your profile in the app, then click on Settings, and then click on Bank Account, you will link your account to the app.
When you begin seeing patients, a feature on the Luna app will track your earnings. This updates automatically right after your documentation for a patient visit is finalized.
When this update occurs, you will see the name of the patient, the day and time the visit occurred, and the amount of money you made for that visit. There will also be a purple dot located to the left of the patient’s name, indicating that you may deposit that amount of money into your bank account. If the purple dot is not there, it may be because you already transferred the money earned for that visit to your bank account.
In short, I have been able to see a patient, finish my documentation right after finishing the visit, and then have my earnings transferred to my bank account with the money appearing in my bank account the very next day.
Out of all of the prn home health jobs I have worked, Luna’s method of payment was the fastest and most efficient I have ever experienced.
DID I MAKE MORE MONEY WORKING FOR LUNA OR WORKING PRN HOME HEALTH?
As of writing this article, the rate for physical therapists in the Los Angeles area is $75.00 per visit. During my onboarding with Luna, I was told that Luna may decide to update this rate every 3 months. Every visit, whether an evaluation, follow-up visit, or discharge visit, is paid at this same rate. All visits for patients with private insurance require only 45-minute timeslots while all visits for patients with Medicare require 55-minute timeslots.
Although the rate may vary slightly depending on where you are working in the United States, I found Luna’s rate to be lower than the rate I made for follow-up visits when working for various home health companies in the Greater Los Angeles area. Additionally, I also received even higher rates from home health companies when completing different types of visits such as evaluations or start of cares.
Despite this lower rate, I still found working for Luna to be financially beneficial for the following reasons:
1. Luna Does Not Hire Physical Therapy Assistants
Although I have been careful to only work for home health companies that allow me the opportunity to complete my own follow-up visits, it is important to keep in mind that some home health companies will have physical therapy assistants perform the follow-up visits while only allowing physical therapists to perform the evaluation and discharge visits. This is a huge loss of potential income to the physical therapist.
In contrast, Luna does not hire any physical therapy assistants, thereby providing physical therapists with the opportunity to potentially earn more income. After all, the opportunity to get paid to see a patient for follow-up visits is better than not having a patient to see and therefore not getting paid.
2. Luna’s Opportunity For More Visits
Not only did I have the opportunity to perform all of my own follow-up visits consistently with Luna, but I also had the opportunity to have more follow-up visits when compared to prn home health patients.
The number of visits I saw home health patients for was typically less than the number of visits I saw my Luna patients. This was because insurance typically approved more visits with Luna patients since the patients you treat from Luna are considered to be in an outpatient setting even though you are seeing them in their homes.
Since the number of visits for home health patients is far less, getting more new prn home health patients becomes more important to keep your schedule full. This can cause the income you make working prn home health to wax and wane as you receive more or fewer new prn home health patients.
However, since you can typically keep Luna patients on for longer, your schedule will stay full on a more consistent basis.
3. Faster Documentation
One of the major challenges working prn home health brings is both the time it takes to complete documentation and the complexity that some of the notes involve. Even with this in mind, when I prepared to begin working for Luna, I still anticipated that completing documentation for Luna patients would be more challenging since I would have to do so on their Luna app using my cell phone. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
Due to the carryover feature mentioned in A Physical Therapist’s Review on Working for Luna – Part 1, I was able to complete my documentation for Luna patients much faster than for my prn home health patients. I could also document more at my convenience since I did not need to have my laptop with me. For example, I recall taking out my cell phone and completing notes on my Luna patients while standing in a long line waiting to check out at a grocery store.
This improved my efficiency, thereby increasing the number of patients I could fit into my schedule. As they say, “time is money.”
Overall, I made more money per visit when I saw a home health patient because the rate was higher. However, when I saw a Luna patient, I was able to perform all of the follow-up visits myself, perform a greater number of visits, and squeeze in additional patients onto my schedule since my documentation was more efficient.
Therefore, I actually made more money off of seeing one Luna patient when compared to the amount of money I made off of seeing one home health patient.
WHY AND HOW DID I MANAGE WORKING FOR BOTH LUNA AND HOME HEALTH COMPANIES?
I started working prn home health before I found out about Luna. Despite receiving home health patients from several different home health companies I worked for, I still found it challenging to keep my schedule consistently full in order to maximize my home health income potential. Adding working for Luna into the mix provided me with another source of patient referrals, thereby helping keep my schedule more full so I could make more money.
Balancing a side hustle schedule of receiving patients from both Luna and home health companies took a little bit of creativity, though.
That’s because Luna requires that you block out times throughout each week to indicate when are you available to receive new patients for evaluation visits. When you choose which timeslots to block out, keep in mind that this is the only opportunity you have to provide input on when you would like a new evaluation visit to occur. Once Luna schedules the evaluation visit for you during one of these timeslots, you are unable to change it.
After you have evaluated the patient, though, you can schedule their follow-up visits whenever is most convenient for you – it doesn’t have to be during the days and times you had previously blocked out for scheduling evaluation visits.
Luna’s set-up for scheduling evaluation visits can theoretically make it quite difficult to simultaneously receive patients from home health companies and Luna since you are essentially boxing yourself in to accept new Luna patients that may never come while simultaneously trying to squeeze your prn home health patients in during the same days.
In contrast, when accepting patients in the prn home health setting, you can schedule the evaluation visit when talking directly with the patient over the phone during a time when it works best for both you and the patient.
At this point, you might be thinking that limiting the number of timeslots you make available to accepting new Luna patients might be helpful. However, Luna will limit how many new patients you may receive based on how much availability you open up during each week to take on new patients. I was already not receiving nearly as many patients from Luna as I was from home health companies, so I did not want to decrease this number even further.
Therefore, I made myself available to accepting new Luna patients as often as I could. I found this strategy worked because, during my onboarding interview, I was told that Luna will not provide you with a new patient during a timeslot you had blocked out when it is less than 24 hours before that timeslot takes place.
This turned out to be the key to my success in accepting patients both from Luna and from home health companies. I blocked myself out for Luna patients as much as I could. If I approached less than 24 hours before a block of time I had reserved to accept new Luna patients, then I knew by then I would not be getting a new patient from Luna during that time so I could then schedule prn home health patients and follow up visits for existing Luna patients into those timeslots.
DID I ACCEPT EVERY NEW LUNA PATIENT OFFERED TO ME?
The short answer is no. I know, you must be shocked because I often reiterate that the most lucrative schedule is a schedule filled seeing patients. However, this is best maximized when patients are geographically close together. Money is not made when driving from one patient to another and the longer that drive, the more potential money is left on the table.
Luna’s default set-up is to offer you patients within a 30-mile radius. However, 30-miles in the Greater Los Angeles area can be very different when traffic and changing freeways are taken into consideration.
Therefore, during my initial interview with Luna, I made clear that I would not cover a geographic radius of 30-miles. Instead, I provided the names of the cities in which I would be willing to accept new patients and I stated I was comfortable in doing so without question. I also reiterated this during my onboarding with Luna.
On both occasions, Luna made corresponding notes in my file to keep track of my preferences. This strategy worked out work very well.
When a patient in one of these cities became available, Luna assigned them to me without hesitation. When patients outside of these cities but still within a 30-mile radius became available, Luna offered me the opportunity to still accept these patients, but I typically declined.
Overall, by taking patients both from home health companies and from Luna, I could keep my schedule more productive by limiting my drive time and staying in a tighter geographic region.
It is worth noting that Luna’s app does have a feature that allows you to make yourself unavailable for accepting new patients. This feature can be used whenever you like, which can help you maintain an improved work-life balance.
Overall, I found that Luna provides a great opportunity for both patients and physical therapists.
Patients looking to receive outpatient insurance-covered physical therapy services without having to leave their homes align well with Luna’s mission. At the same time, Luna provides physical therapists with a great side hustle opportunity.
Home health physical therapists accustomed to discharging patients after completing their home health plan of care may have a great appreciation for the opportunity that Luna provides. On the other hand, physical therapists well-versed in the outpatient clinic-based setting may feel even more comfortable working for Luna as a side hustle compared to working prn home health physical therapy.
Overall, I strongly suggest that physical therapists looking to maximize their income potential do everything that can be done to keep their schedules full. Luna can be a great option that can help you do this.
Have you worked for Luna? Do you have any additional information to share after reading Part 2 of this 2-Part series? Any questions on aspects that may not have been covered? Before moving on, please help make the Money Mobilizer a supportive and welcoming community for our current and future colleagues by leaving a question or sharing your knowledge below!