Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Podiatry Supergroups

Lowell Weil, Jr., DPM, FACFAS, MBA

   The largest capital expenditure but also the one offering the greatest profitability is surgery centers. A supergroup can easily create enough volume to purchase or build its own surgery center. Why should outside investors or hospitals capitalize on the hard work and medical legal risk that the surgeon takes on?

   Facilities get reimbursement at much higher rates than the surgeon doing the work. A surgery center is a fantastic way to create profits for the supergroup while usually providing a higher level of service to the patient that is actually at a cost savings in comparison to the patient having the surgery at a hospital. A surgery center not only creates profitability but also efficiency. Turnover time between cases can be half of how long it takes at hospitals, thereby allowing more cases in the same amount of time. Surgery centers may have lower rates of infection and higher patient satisfaction. State law differs on the allowance to build a surgery center but no matter what state, surgery centers are available for purchase and the investment is well worth it.

Maximizing Marketing With The Supergroup

Marketing benefits are also apparent with a supergroup. The lifeblood of any podiatry practice is new patient volume. New patients come from variety of sources with previous patients and referring physicians being the most common.

   However, in the changing healthcare environment, it is necessary to expand referral source alternatives and that requires marketing. There are numerous ways to market and many of the most effective approaches are expensive. A supergroup can dedicate the resources necessary to perform successful marketing efforts. Furthermore, the very existence of the supergroup is marketing. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with and expecting of supergroup care. It is a bit of a Walmart mentality. The perception is that a big, successful organization offers a higher level of services.

   Any marketing effort is only successful with repetition and a great way of enhancing reputation is multiple locations. Consumers are constantly reminded of the practice’s presence by seeing offices throughout the region. A supergroup has the benefits of a larger geographic footprint. The larger the footprint of any group, the more opportunity there is for exposure, creating better brand recognition. The net becomes larger and will result in more patient visits for the entire group.

Understanding The Benefits Of Assembling A Management Team

Once an organization is large enough, the practice can put an experienced business management team in place. Typically, podiatry practices are managed by the physician(s) who owns the practice, a trusted family member or long-term employee. Rarely do any of those people have true business management education or experience. They have learned on the job and usually are wearing multiple hats. They may know the practice well but they probably don’t know the business of medicine well.

   With a management team focused on the business of the practice, the physician can focus on patient care. This will usually also allow physicians more personal time for family or other activities, time that they had historically spent trying to run the business.


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Alberto Rivera, MD

One of the perks about working in a multispecialty supergroup medical clinic (of more than 10 physicians) is that if you represent podiatry as a minority in a sea of many MDs, MBBSs, and DOs, it is inevitable how much you, as a BE/BQ/BC licensed podiatrist, have to educate the BE/BQ/BC licensed allopathic and osteopathic physicians about your profession. I myself have the unique experience of doing this. It is the best part of my job!

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