Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Podiatry Supergroups
The decision process on whether a supergroup benefits an individual or practice really comes down to the pros and cons of creating or joining one. Lowell Scott Weil, Sr., DPM, started our practice in 1965. The practice has gone through several transformations over the last 48 years but has been relatively focused in a desire to grow and create strength with size, services and market share in the last several years. We have recognized the changing landscape of healthcare and prefer to be proactive rather than reactive. Through our relationships, research and analysis, we have felt it best to create a supergroup in Chicagoland. This has not come without great consideration and thought. We are constantly having discussions with potential practices interested in joining our group and my goal is to articulate the pros and cons of podiatry supergroups.
How Supergroups Benefit From Larger, More Specialized Staff
Larger is stronger. In the last several years, many knowledgeable people in the healthcare space have regularly commented that the days of one person or small group practices are coming to an end. It will be difficult at best for small organizations to keep up with the requirements of technology, reporting and evidence-based outcomes to survive. A properly configured supergroup will create the infrastructure necessary to meet the requirements.
A larger organization allows benefits such as economies of scale. There are many ways economies of scale benefit an organization. Some obvious examples are work redundancy and job specialization. A small practice requires its employees to “wear multiple hats.” An office manager may make appointments, do the billing and collections, and perform human resource activities such as hiring, firing and training. A clinical assistant will perform the duties required of the clinic but also probably handle some reception/telephone activities, supply management and other miscellaneous tasks. In this scenario, these people are not focused on doing one job well but doing multiple jobs adequately.
As a group becomes larger, it can dedicate people to specialize in their area of expertise. This makes the office work better, smarter and more efficiently, which creates a better patient experience as well as higher profitability. Billing personnel can focus on making sure that staff submits the proper bills for proper payment and that those payments are according to the terms of the contract. Podiatry billing is very specific and not like other areas of medicine with all the modifiers and multiple procedures. Having someone who does not specialize in this area ensures that the practice is losing money. Additionally, dedicated billers can track payments and work accounts receivable regularly.
One can train clinical assistants to perform the highest possible level of care, which will give the physicians the ability to see more patients and focus on their highest level of care.