Adding New Services
Another way to increase visibility is to add or expand the services that your practiceprovides. Partnering with another practice may offer additional office locations, greaterappeal to health plans seeking larger groups for their provider networks, more resourcesfor a marketing campaign or an opportunity to expand the services that you currentlyoffer. Adding new ancillary services to generate more revenue for the practice alsobenefits patients with increased convenience. However, before making any decisions, allpossibilities should be fully considered.
A cost benefit analysis should be conducted first because adding more ancillary servicesdoes not guarantee an increase in net revenue after expenses. Typically, new servicesshould break even financially to justify the added patient convenience. To determine theprofitability of a new procedure or service record the number of patients that youcurrently refer to another facility. Then estimate the revenue you could expect based onthe volume from your current referral patterns. Finally, subtract the expenses you wouldincur (e.g. equipment, staff salaries, office renovations, overhead) to provide a newservice or procedure to estimate how profitable it could be. Your attorney should also beconsulted before adding any new services to ensure that you are in compliance with thefederal Stark laws on physician self-referral.
Some examples of new services being offered by physician practices include: Hiring asocial worker to help with the living arrangements for the elderly; adding specialassistance services for patients with chronic diseases; and developing or promotingsupport groups for patients with particular diseases to gain referrals. Some practices havealso recommend that their referring physicians send patients to these support groups tostrengthen the referral relationships with these practices. Group visits are an alternativesolution that will require some changes to your practice style, but have been highlysuccessful in practices with patients that have similar health problems. Patients are verysatisfied with this treatment method and can have better outcomes because they areactively involved in their care. Depending on your specialty, there are a myriad ofservices to offer that can benefit both your practice and your patients.