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Information Articles: Compliance

When It Comes to Growing Your Practice, Think Small… Not Big

Wednesday, August 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Dr. Ray Foxworth, President of ChiroHealthUSA
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When It Comes to Growing Your Practice, Think Small… Not Big

 

I have spent years talking to chiropractors across the country, and one of the biggest dilemmas most of them share, myself included, is determining the clinic’s fee schedule. We are torn between running a profitable business and giving our patients access to affordable healthcare – in many cases diminishing the value of our services and making us the target of unnecessary risk. If we’re offering lower fees for cash payments than insurance payments, or discounts that are far beyond our cost of billing, or not charging for some services, it could trigger inducement violations. Many of the doctors I speak with have not evaluated or raised their fees in over five years. While we are all aware of changes to the economy, and increases in the cost of doing business, we often put ourselves in the position of working harder and longer hours to make the same, or less, money than we did in previous years. And all because we fear that any increase in fees will result in fewer patients getting the care they need in our offices. 

On July 12, 2018, the US Government released updated inflation numbers that showed annual increases ranging from 1.4% to 24.3%. Yet, as business owners and doctors, we can’t bear the thought of raising our fees just a fraction after five years. In reality, there is a fixed cost for a patient visit in our offices. As business owners, we are setting ourselves up to lose money when we don’t know what that cost is. Calculating your cost per visit is quick and easy using this simple spreadsheet

Reviewing your provider contracts is crucial to practice success. You must read your provider agreements and understand every stipulation that you are agreeing to with your signature. Far too often, doctors find out well after the fact that a procedure regularly performed in the practice isn't covered or is bundled under the terms of the contract. Additionally, providers may choose to add a new service or product and find that their provider agreement allows for reimbursement at a level lower than the actual cost of providing that product or service.

So, once you gave gathered all the data, what’s next? Of course, antitrust laws prohibit competitors from collectively fixing fees to eliminate competition.  However, there are several websites (such as chirocode.com and fairhealth.org) that provide fee calculators that can give you an idea of “usual, customary and reasonable” (UCR) charges for CPT codes by zip code. Pulling published fee schedules (such as Workers’ Comp) also lets you know if you are billing above, or below, UCR charges for your area. Take a look at these resources to see where you are versus other providers in your area. If your fees are lower, are you undervaluing the services you provide and leaving revenue on the table? Having this information available will give you a good idea of the overall financial health of your practice. 

When I gathered this information and considered raising my fees, I experienced a sense of dread. I felt that any increase, big or small, would turn patients away from my practice. What I didn’t realize was that small adjustments to my fees could have a big impact on the financial health of my practice without burdening my patients with rising healthcare costs. For example, I discovered that by increasing my fees $5 per visit (less than the cost of a cup of coffee), my practice would generate an additional month’s worth of revenue per year.

Practice growth starts with taking small steps in the right direction. You don’t have to dramatically increase your fees to improve your practice value and raise the perceived value of your services. Looking for additional ways to grow your practice, click here!


Dr. Ray Foxworth is a certified Medical Compliance Specialist and President of ChiroHealthUSA. A practicing Chiropractor, he remains “in the trenches” facing challenges with billing, coding, documentation and compliance. He has served as president of the Mis¬sissippi Chiropractic Association, former Staff Chiro¬practor at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center and is a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractic. You can contact Dr. Foxworth at 1-888-719-9990, info@chirohealthusa.com or visit the ChiroHealthUSA website at www.chirohealthusa.com. Join us for a free webinar that will give you all the details about how a DMPO can help you practice with more peace of mind. Go to www.chirohealthusa.com to register today. 

 

 

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