Much has changed in the last few years in how a practice operates. Gone are the days of patients simply paying for services rendered and products purchased. Now the modern ECP must navigate a complex system of charts, categories, costs, rules, and limitations on services based on whatever provider a patient may have. For sure, the good ol’ days are gone. Or are they?
Has managed care eaten into your profitability? Did you need to hire more staff or pay more fees to make claims? There are a few solutions to bring the control back to your practice and while it may be scary, if you run the numbers you can see that by the end of the year, your practice can be more profitable, peaceful, and simpler.
Let’s begin with the obvious, stop taking managed care plans. Crazy, you may think but with the decreasing reimbursements and the additional costs to file a claim, you can be more profitable seeing less patients, and get the reputation of providing top notch service because you’re not trying to cram in an exam every 15 minutes just to keep the lights on. Look at programs that can have you provide your insured patients with the proper forms for them to file on their own, and offer to reduce their fee charged to you to help mitigate the costs. Combine this with a strong community relations efforts (like free vision screenings at local art fairs, or schools/Universities) and your practice will become the go to place for good quality, community conscientious care. You will see fewer patients, but you’ll come out ahead because the costs are more straight forward.
Another answer is increasing the number of second pair sales. The number of people buying multiple pair of glasses is fairly small, and if you don’t believe me look at your own dispensaries numbers. With the constant threat of UV light, macular degeneration and a myriad of other conditions we are seeing in folks who do not properly protect their eyes, prescribe two pair of eye wear? There is medical precedent to require multiple Rx’s to treat a medical condition, eye care is no different. Write a prescription for sun wear, occupational lenses, and clear glasses. Managed care covers one pair, the remainder are given with a discount, but the key to this plan is using the insurance coverage on the sunglasses. This ensures the patient also gets at least one additional pair of daily wear glasses. There is nothing wrong with providing patients with a wide array of eyewear to meet their specific needs, in fact you’re doing a disservice to them by not ensuring they are getting the best correction no matter their situation.
A third solution is getting aggressive in practice marketing, while sending out mailers, commercials, etc. are costly, they can also bring results. Disadvantages to this idea are the high costs. Expect to spend as high as the 6 figures depending on the size and strength of campaign you put in place but you can drive more patients to your practice and make up your lost profitability on a large influx of patients, but be prepared to need to hire additional resources (Doctors and Opticians) if your campaign exceeds your current capacity.
Your practice can not only survive but thrive in this new world of managed care, but it will require you to adapt with the changing landscape of how our industry is developing. For more individual support or consulting help, reach out to your independent lab for help, in many cases they have resources to help you or can point you in the right direction.
— Puss N’ Boots