I must admit I’ve spent some sleepless nights lately thinking about the future of business, namely MY business. Insurance companies are turning over their hearing benefits to internet providers, new OTC legislation, and more competition from everywhere – all quite unsettling. What to do? What programs should I participate with?“
We must unbundle”, some colleagues insist. Others suggest that itemizing is the answer to keeping patients. The problem I have with some of this chatter is that it often comes from people who don’t run their own businesses and have no real day to day experience with what a pricing strategy can and will do to the profitability of a business. It’s opinion. It’s speculation.
The number of internet discount and reimbursement programs seems to be growing exponentially.
Blue Cross sent notices to every subscriber in my state, and that’s a ton of people, recommending TruHearing for hearing healthcare. Imagine, and I have done the math, that all of my patients that have any coverage through Blue Cross would change to the internet provider. What would this do to MY business? I don’t have to speculate, I know exactly what it would do to MY business. It would hurt! Yes, it’s true, I could charge patients after their two included visits, but I know from experience that patients that have to pay for every visit, do not come back as often, not to mention that these internet programs often don’t reimburse much for the services they do pay for.
For instance, we had a patient come in today that needed a repair on an aid that was under manufacturer’s warranty and purchased through an internet program. The provider would reimburse my practice $50 to send in the repair once we submitted the manufacturer invoice. Seemed fair at first, until we investigated the time it took to complete the paperwork, send in the repair, track the repair, make certain the aid was programmed properly when it returned from repair and then to call the patient to pick up the repair. Not to mention, submitting the invoice to the internet company to get paid the huge sum of $50.
Doesn’t take much to figure out that my business lost money on that deal! No one can afford to participate in programs that don’t reimburse enough to keep their doors open.
My point in this rant – you can’t base YOUR business on the opinions of colleagues. You have to base YOUR business practices on what it costs to operate your business. And if you don’t know what it costs to run your business and what every hour of your time is worth, it’s not too late to find out TODAY! Track those key numbers and don’t base your business practices on opinions and speculation. Base it on fact.
Unless you have a crystal ball, your business relies on feedback to help determine future business decisions. I’ve met with several patients and my next blog will share their opinions on the various pricing strategies. Next blog – What patients want in a pricing strategy,