I’ve been on vacation and had lots of opportunities to say “Yes” to things that I typically reject like rich food, wine with lunch, multiple desserts, and of course, shopping. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world of “Yeses”?
The question of when to say “Yes” is one that’s affecting my business right now.
Two large segments of my patient base have insurances that are changing to a third party internet provider. If I chose to participate in these programs, the patients will no longer be MY patients and I will have to abide by their rules not to mention the dimes on a dollar reimbursement that goes with these programs. If I say, “No” I risk losing a ton of business. Overhead doesn’t change so I wonder how I can afford to do that. The dilemma has kept me up a few nights – some spent analyzing my numbers and others just worrying about the future and what is to come. I’m quite sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and the first in a series of dominos to fall. No doubt the industry is changing and business as I’ve known it for thirty-three years no longer exists.
So what’s the best answer for MY business? Do I say “Yes” or “No” to these third-party administrators that threaten to take my patients and hold me hostage to their policies and procedures? Initially, I thought, of course, I would say “Yes”. How can I give up that much business that I have worked so many years to build? I analyzed the numbers and rationalized how I could make a profit on these programs but then the light came on and I realized that there is only one answer I can tolerate.
I’ve worked 33 years building a business committed to providing the Best in Hearing Healthcare. I won’t compromise my principles or my commitment to quality. These programs contend that participation won’t force me to change the way I do business, but they will! They tell me what my time is worth when they have no idea what it costs to run my business. They try to dictate what I can charge for a service program and then they THREATEN to monitor my business practices. Are you kidding me? Would I get into a relationship with anyone that would try to control me and what I believe is right? I’ve been married almost 40 years and my husband would never think of doing such a thing!
I wish it was that simple. Personally, I say “Hell No” but I have to settle down and do what’s right for business. I have spent some time talking to patients and doing some research on the dental industry which has endured similar challenges by third-party programs. The truth is it’s all about what my time is worth. One program I am faced with reimburses $20 per follow up appointment and $25 for reprogramming. The answer to that program is simply “No” because reimbursement doesn’t cover the cost of my time not to mention the cost of running the business. The answer for other programs is not so simple. It may be possible to make a profit, but it will definitely be working harder for less so I’m not sure it’s worth it and I am still investigating.
Most importantly, when faced with such challenges, it is important to know your numbers and what portion of your current patient base will be affected by these programs and how many new patients could you gain from these programs without having to advertise?
It’s easy to sit back and exclaim, “Just say NO” but the truth is that it’s all about business and what impact participation or nonparticipation will have on profitability. BUT, reimbursement has to cover the costs of doing business or there is nothing to consider.
I’m still evaluating the impact and not trying to make a rash decision because I really don’t like these third-party programs. The answer is coming and one thing is for sure. When I figure it out, you will be the first to know!