“We live in interesting times.”
“It is the Wild West out there.”
“Change equals opportunity.”
I have heard all of these before and I keep hearing them as it relates to healthcare business. I have also heard that there is no money in medicine; and of course all the rumors about socialized medicine. Sad part about it is that I’m also seeing Providers getting out of the business and giving control to business people who are eager to jump in.
The truth is that the business of medicine is changing and medical schools do not train its students in the business aspects of the same. In the United States in particular it is even more challenging due to the compliance requirements and the administration requirements that may cause services not to be paid.
Yet I always go back to the basics which is the relationship between Provider and patient. If my actual client is the patient and he is willing to pay a reasonable price for services; why do I have to go to a third party that keeps most of the money of the transaction between Provider and patient? Even more important; why should I cater to the third-party payor with processes that increase my overhead? Why shouldn’t I change this paradigm and look for opportunities to serve my clientele and make money?
In reality, the problem is that there are so many rules and legislation as it regards to the activities we conduct that adding a simple service where we can make money is not so simple any more. Are we violating a kickback rule? Is this a breach of etiquette? Is there a state rule that prevents me from selling a particular item or offering a particular service? Even worse, the answer to all of our questions is: it depends.
Another point to consider is: who is my customer and what are they willing to pay for? My personal experience is that a patient resents having to pay $2 copay for a physical exam but will pay $500 cash for a weight loss program. They also grumble about paying $20 copay for a minor surgical procedure but offer them a hair removal procedure using a laser and the wallet opens freely. Based on that experience I lean to the philosophy that there is money to be earned if we know what to offer, how to offer and how to market it.
I do not have all the answers but I know there are opportunities out there that we are not capitalizing on. I also know that every Practice is different and that patient behavior changes based on demographics and geographical areas. Regardless, I ask you not to despair and keep your eyes open for opportunities. I also encourage you to keep an open mind but do your research before you jump into any one “opportunity”.
If you are interested in obtaining additional guidance regarding these topics we recommend attending EPI’s “Compliance and Healthcare Innovation Conference” that is going to take place February 1-3, 2018. Of course, you can always reach out to us for additional questions or concerns.
Remember: Applied knowledge is power!