How Will Obamacare Affect Podiatry?
- Volume 27 - Issue 1 - January 2014
- 13522 reads
- 6 comments
So what you should expect in the months to come and how should you gear your practice to be able to be profitable?
1. You need to get a handle on what it actually costs you to see a patient and determine your price per patient to see how you may be able to continue being profitable with reduced reimbursement.
2. You need to gear up your office to be able to perform more services for cash including office-based surgery for those patients who will have larger deductibles and may not be able to have procedures at the hospital or surgical center.
3. Review your collection procedures to collect a greater percentage of these increasing large deductibles upfront rather than attempting to collect after the fact.
4. Be more diligent in verifying benefits since it is not clear that the actual plan the patient signed up for will be listed on his or her card. Make sure you are aware of how you will get paid before performing the service.
5. Research the new managed care plans opening in your state to see if you can negotiate a contract before these plans close. Be assured that insurers will not contract with a great number of podiatrists per geographical area.
6. Gear your practice for a greater ability to have more cash-related services, (i.e. fungal nail laser, shockwave, in-office dispensing, etc).
7. Look to see if a podiatric supergroup is functioning or forming in your area.
My personal opinion of this law is although it will produce a greater number of insured patients, it will be impossible to actually reduce costs with the government having to “kick in” more tax dollars to subsidize many of them. The only way to truly reduce costs with increased utilization would be to cut payments to providers and reduce the size of the networks, which will ultimately result in rationing of care.
I believe the podiatrists who can maximize their efficiency and increase their non-insurance based services will survive in this new environment.
Dr. Frankel is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons. He is board certified by the American Board of Ambulatory Foot Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Dr. Frankel is in private practice in Chicago.
1. Available at https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/find-a-plan/health-plans/individual-fa... .
2. Available at http://www.uhc.com/live/uhc_com/Assets/Documents/VA-GSC25_50_20_3000_150... .
Editor’s note: For further reading, see “What You Should Know About Accountable Care Organizations” in the April 2013 issue of Podiatry Today, the November 2013 DPM Blog “Is It Time To Switch The Dial On Insurance Networks?” by Stephen Barrett, DPM, and “How Can We Adapt To Inherent Challenges In Healthcare Reform?” in the June 2013 issue.