Most practices are not doing well as they would like it to be, but thankfully there are many ways to improve your current financial situation. It is interesting that many physicians feel that they should be shielded during economic downturns, but that is just not true. So many physician practices are feeling a lot of pain now when much of it could have been avoided with sound business practices during the good times. Here are just a few ways that a Urologist, or really any physician can use to improve their business.
- Websites – If your practice does not have a website, now is a good time to think about having something built for your business.
- Referrals – Where are the majority of your referrals coming from? Do you know? Can you track them? When is the last time you have went to lunch or dinner with the primary care docs?
- Advertising – Free Advertising is always the best form of advertising. There are many great publications that will give you free PR if you are willing to write an article on prostate awareness or something of that nature. It may sound foreign to a specialist to even consider advertising, but being a specialist does not shield you from competition.
- Renegotiating your managed care contracts will yield a 10-12 percent increase using an experienced firm, but you can do it on your own and usually obtain a 3-5 percent increase. This is an effective and necessary investment in time and money. You should evaluate and negotiate your payer contracts every 12-18 months and any time you add a new location or physician.
- Evaluating payer performance – Do you need to drop some payers because they are denying too many claims or are not paying you well? What about adding other payers that will pay you more? How much are they paying you for consults? Are you billing for consults when you receive a referral?
- Coding – Insurance that your E&M coding is on par with the Medicare E&M percentage. Are your coders correctly using modifiers and billing accurately for your surgeries and office visits? Are they keeping up with the CCI edits and Medicare guidelines for bundling?
- Productivity – How long is your wait for new patients? If you are forcing patients to wait two weeks before coming in for an appointment then you are losing more patients than you know. You should consider increasing your hours in clinic or hiring an ancillary provider to help you in clinic. A strong PA or NP can be of great help with increasing your volume and efficiency.