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AAOS Now

Published 4/1/2011
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Jackie Ryan

Enhance your practice revenues with AAOS primer

Primer provides “pearls” of wisdom; “pitfalls” to avoid

In the past, development of a financially successful practice hinged primarily on a physician’s clinical expertise, which served to attract patients and generate revenue. But today, the economic climate is very different.

It used to be relatively easy for orthopaedic surgeons to maintain their net incomes by seeing more patients and doing more surgeries. Today, most orthopaedists are working as hard as they can, so this course of action is not viable. Other viable options include merging with other practices and employment by a hospital, HMO, or insurance company; however, these may not be attractive to many physicians, particularly those who are happy with their current practice arrangements.

Orthopaedic surgeons must develop new ways to generate revenue while meeting the healthcare needs of their patients. Their long-term goal should be to generate revenue from multiple sources. Diversification can help ensure practice viability even if one source of revenue does not meet projected financial expectations.

New from the Practice Management Committee
To help AAOS members meet this challenge, the Practice Management Committee has developed a new primer, Enhancing Your Practice’s Revenue: Pearls and Pitfalls.

This Primer will assist orthopaedic surgeons in all practice settings to increase revenue flows and therefore remain profitable. For example, if you’re considering opening an orthopaedic urgent care center, remember that setting up a walk-in after hours or weekend clinic will not only maximize the use of existing office space, it will also give you access to a population of new patients. Although such a center may involve additional expenses, if an added expense generates revenue that more than offsets the expense, it serves to increase the practice’s bottom line.

Although not every technique is applicable to every surgeon, all orthopaedists should find several pearls to take home and help grow their practice revenues—even in this challenging environment. The following areas are covered:

  • Ambulatory surgery centers
  • On-call compensation
  • Imaging services
  • The medical legal practice
  • Physician assistants and nurse practitioners
  • Nonsurgical physicians
  • Urgent care centers
  • Physician-hospital joint ventures
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Real estate
  • Service line comanagement
  • Marketing in the social media age

The appendix covers the 10 top tips about issues such as budgeting, governance and management, leasing or buying, calculating investment returns, human resources, outside advisors, and additional resources.

“If we fail to improve our revenue outlook, then many orthopaedic practices will fail,” say editors Thomas J. Grogan, MD, and Adam Soyer, DO. “If that happens—at the exact same time as the baby-boomer generation reaches the age of needing a greater amount of musculoskeletal care—then our nation will experience a true healthcare crisis.”

Enhancing Your Practice’s Revenue: Pearls and Pitfalls can be downloaded from the AAOS Practice Management Center.

For more information, contact Steven Fisher at (847) 384-4331 or sfisher@aaos.org

Jackie Ryan is program coordinator in the AAOS practice management group. She can be reached at ryan@aaos.org

Take advantage of other primers
Enhancing Your Practice’s Revenues: Pearls and Pitfalls
is just one of several primers prepared by the AAOS for members. All primers are free and can be downloaded from the AAOS Web site. The following titles are available:

  • Accountable Care Organizations
  • Electronic Medical Records—I
  • Electronic Medical Records—II
  • Hospital Employment of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Human Resources Management
  • Picture Archiving and Communications Systems