Now that we’re on other side of the holidays and solidly planted in 2014, it’s a great time to chart a new course. Here are 8 things you can do that will make you money or save you money:
Hire someone. If you are a solo practitioner, are responsible for generating the revenue and also for leading your business, you will learn one clear thing: it’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to do both. In business, if you are not growing, you’re sinking. There is no such thing as maintaining the status quo. If you can’t see how you can afford to do it, then you need to meet with your financial advisors, since at least some part of the work of your new hire will come off your plate. It may even make sense to ask a local hospital to assist you in bringing in a new doctor.
Pay smart. The way you pay a professional employee will drive their behavior. If you want someone to share your profit incentive (both the income and the expense side), you have to pay them accordingly. Though new employees will likely want the traditional salary and benefits, ensuring there is an economic incentive to control costs and increase revenues is essential. Your “boat” will move better and be healthier if the financial interests of you and your employees are aligned.
Market. More specifically, get a terrific internet person, develop a great web site and have it SEO’d. More and more people are buying medical services off the internet. You need to be there!
Self audit your coding. Many physicians and other professionals think of this activity as an expense. In fact, this activity (which ought to be conducted each year) usually results in “found money” and also gives you important information about proper coding that will help you (i) get paid for what you do, and (ii) keep what payers pay you.
Audit your billing and collection firm. If your billing and collection is done outside your practice, it would be helpful for their activity to be reviewed to ensure they are doing the same good job they were when you first engaged them. Is there money marked “uncollectible” that can be worked? What should be measured and how often?
Look at merging or combining your practice. It’s no secret that bringing practices together can help reduce expenses (economies of scale), enhance revenues (better contract rates and new services supported by the larger patient load). It’s not “easy” or even a magic pill, but it’s definitely worth looking into, especially if there are colleagues you know and respect who are interested.
Plan to retire. Believe it or not, you will not want to keep up the same work pace you are keeping today. But if you don’t plan today and start getting money out of your checking account and into something for a rainy day, you will end up tired and ill prepared. If you don’t have a lot to put away, no worries. There are plans for that. If you do, there are also plans for that. Professionals that make a living taking care of people often fail to take care of themselves. Get the estate and trust work (your will) done that you know should be done. Get with some financial planners to start some plan (aside from simply paying down debt).
Make a business plan. Get business plan software, such as Business Plan Pro by Palo Alto Software and start the process of being more strategic about your practice. If you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re likely never to get there. At a minimum, you’ll learn important things about your practice that will likely make or save you money.