utilization review

4 Things to Consider Before Taking a Utilization Review Job

When I started PT school, I was just like all of my fellow classmates—excited, nervous, and ready to embark on the next adventure in my life. I was also 8 months pregnant with my first baby. I waddled through gross anatomy lab, stopped by on my way home from the hospital to take an exam, and worked through the next 3 years to walk the graduation line with my almost 3 year old and my not quite 3 week old watching in the audience with my husband.

I dove straight into the work force, but with my second baby, I found myself in a position that lots of new PTs and new moms find themselves in—longing for more time at home.

I started with a simple Google search for “work from home physical therapist jobs.” This led me here to NewGradPhysicalTherapy.com and Meredith Castin’s article, 8 Non-Clinical Jobs for Physical Therapists. Utilization review struck me as a good possibility. Consistent paycheck, comparable salary to what I was making in outpatient, and remote work from home. I was hoping for something that would allow me to spread 8 hours of work throughout my day: 4am-8am before my husband left for work, a couple during nap time, and 3 or 4 in the evenings after bedtime.

Clearly, I knew nothing about the reality of working for utilization review. I started researching various companies, and the information I found led me to realize that the scheduling is not as flexible as I had hoped.

1. You are on the phone a lot

You are speaking with providers and calling supervisors. Having children in the background not only can make it difficult for you to do your job, it is also unprofessional. Companies have strict rules on background noise while on phone calls and supervisors monitor the time you are away from your desk.

2. Hours are moderately flexible

My initial line of thinking was that I could spend a lot of time after my husband got home from work or early in the morning reading over notes, then block out a few hours to just spend on phone calls. However, one clinical reviewer I spoke with reported that her schedule required her to be available for 8 hours between 8 am and 8 pm. She worked from 8-12, then from 4-8, taking a break in the middle of the day.

She was able to stay home with her child for four years working as a reviewer, but she had another person in the house at all times taking care of her baby.

3. Several companies require you to sign and confirm that you will have adequate child care

There are certainly many benefits to working from home in utilization review—money saved on work clothing, gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, no long commute times. However, if the primary motivation is to save on childcare and be able to be the caregiver to your children through the day, this might not be the avenue for you.

4. A dedicated workspace is required

In order to remain HIPPA compliant, you must have a dedicated work space and oftentimes, it is a requirement to keep all patient information under lock and key within your house.

The good news is, there are lots of options in utilization review if it interests you. It is a growing field, as companies are wanting PT experience and input rather than relying solely on nurses. If you are looking for an escape from patient care, like the idea of working from your desk in your yoga pants and being able to perform your work duties from the comforts of your own home, then dive on in and apply through one of the many companies searching for a PT case reviewer.

Editor’s note: If you’re interested in a non-clinical role, but working from home is not a must, a rehab liaison job is a great fit for many physical therapists!
Are you a PT who has pursued a non-clinical job? Comment and share your story below!

About Lauren McReynolds

Lauren McReynolds
Outpatient therapist, trained in dry needling and manipulations, Christian, mom of two, college basketball enthusiast

One comment

  1. Arman Aki

    Hi Lauren- I have some questions in regards to utilization review jobs. Is there a good way to contact you? Thanks

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