Stick to patient care. If you focus on caring for your patients, the money will come. If you went into healthcare to make a lot of money, the door is over there. If you’re here to care for people, and know that you can make a good living doing this – welcome. If you compare your income to others, such as investment bankers….well, go become an investment banker. And stop whining.
If you provide the service within your practice, you’re probably OK. If you own, co-own or are an investor in a service provider, you probably can’t refer to it. Period. The ownership prohibition includes your spouse, parents, in-laws, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. And “step” versions are included as well.
So what’s a doctor to do?
Focus your work and investments in your practice. If you offer additional services within your practice, do self-audits, and consider bringing in an outsider to review your charts to insure that you are not over-utilizing your ancillary service. Many years ago, I was the administrator of a cardiology group that put in a nuclear camera. The large HMO in our area was understandably skittish about over-utilization. Well, utilization for the service by the HMOs patients actually declined slightly. Maybe the physicians were being overly cautious, maybe the knowledge that they could quickly get a scan done if need be led him to be more conservative, or maybe it was chance (we didn’t adjust for patient condition).
If you are in a venture that is suspect, get to a health care lawyer and see if you need to unravel the relationship. If you were planning one, stop.
As you develop your business plan for 2008, work on ways to bring in patients for services that are clinically grounded. Preventive services are getting increased attention as a long term impact on health care costs. You will have to adopt a set of standards, communicate this to patients, and set up an internal system to get patients on a schedule, much as they would be for their dentist or eye doctor.
Then go see a financial planner – fee only – to review your current plan or to get one in place.
Next patient, please.