Five Elementary Steps to Increase Practice Revenue
The Healthcare Reform Act does not have a direct effect on physician reimbursement, but the various rules and regulations of the Act are making it difficult for small medical practices to keep their head above water. Many providers are finding themselves struggling to increase practice revenue without working themselves to exhaustion.
Enrolling more patients is a surefire way to increase the revenue at a medical practice, but very often this cannot be accomplished without compromising the care and attention devoted to every patient. Here are five elementary steps providers can take to increase practice revenue:
- Preventive Care Services. Offering preventive care services to patients is one way to increase practice revenue. While it is unethical to offer tests and treatments simply to increase revenue, preventive care benefits the patient. For patients suffering from chronic conditions, preventive medicine can reduce the frequency of visits to the hospital. For asymptomatic patients, preventive care can help detect serious medical conditions before they become severe.
- Dispensing Medications. There are certain medications that medical practices are permitted to sell to patients at a profit. For instance, Biofreeze is a pain spray/gel that a practice is allowed to offer to patients at twice the purchase price. Such products not only increase practice revenue, but reduce the number of trips the patient has to make to the clinic for pain management. Other products in this category include wound care products and pads for bursitis and plantar fasciitis.
- Noninvasive Tests. A medical practice can dramatically increase revenue by offering noninvasive tests and imaging procedures such as ultrasounds. Ultrasounds are less expensive than MRI, non-radiating, and better than X-rays at detecting soft tissue injuries. With an initial investment of $10,000 or so for the equipment, a medical practice can become more profitable. Patients benefit from the convenience of receiving ultrasounds at the practice itself.
- Co-Payment. Unpaid co-payments can easily add up to thousands of dollars in lost revenue for medical practices. It is possible to increase revenue simply by putting processes in place to ensure co-payments are collected from every patient who receives services at the clinic. Staff members manning the front desk should be trained to collect co-payment when the patient presents to the practice before they see even the triage nurse.
- Patient Retention. Your practice could be losing money because patients are leaving. This can happen for a variety of reasons – long waiting times being the most common. You can increase practice revenue by ensuring you retain your patients. Consider offering extended practice hours and after-hour virtual visits. Optimize your appointment scheduling and include a cancellation policy to discourage no-shows and late cancellations.