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Ancillary services that can help generate practice revenue

Ancillary services that can help generate practice revenue October 25, 2022

Ancillary Medical Service

For the independent physician interested in increasing practice revenue, offering ancillary services could be the solution. There are a number of services that are typically referred that could be offered in-house to provide convenience for patients and a new source of income for the practice.

There are some considerations that must be addressed before implementing ancillary services, including what your patients might be interested in and benefit from and how you will market them as part of your independent practice brand. Ancillary services can benefit your patients and your practice by:

  • Enhancing the quality of care that you provide
  • Offering your patients the convenience of “one stop shopping”
  • Improving patient compliance with care instructions
  • Attracting new patients
  • Boosting practice revenue with services that reduce your dependency on third-party payers.

You can start with an assessment of your patients’ needs. The first step is to mine the data in your electronic health record (EHR) to analyze which services are referred out more frequently. You can also use that data to determine your patient demographics, including their ability to pay for additional services.

Learn more about the innovative Elation’s EHR solution that handles clinical documentation, practice operations, and reimbursement from a single, intuitive platform so you can provide great care while sustaining a successful practice.

Marketing the ancillary services should be done internally and externally:

  • Educate your staff on the service and its benefits to your patients
  • Increase patient awareness that the service is now available at your practice
  • Include the new service on your website and social media posts
  • Prepare written material to provide patients at their visits.

A report published by Medical Economics revealed that 82% of practices offer at least one ancillary service. In 2020, the percentage of revenue from ancillary services for primary care practices averaged:

  • Internal medicine 11%
  • Family medicine 11%
  • Pediatrics 8%
  • OB/GYN 13%

The report also revealed the most popular ancillary services in internal / family medicine were:

  • Lab services
  • ECG
  • Radiology/imaging services
  • Spirometry
  • Nutritional counseling/weight loss
  • Pharmacy services
  • Pain management
  • Holter monitoring
  • Implantable contraceptives
  • Cosmetic/aesthetic services

The American Medical Association (AMA) advises reviewing any legal requirements or regulations that may impact your independent practice’s ability to offer ancillary services for your patients. You will need an understanding of how these services are regulated in your state, particularly whether they may require an additional license or permits.

Some ancillary services trigger more stringent legal requirements. Some behavioral health services, for example, have more restrictive privacy rules regarding the patient data in their EHRs. In addition, some states do not allow physician practices to provide services with other kinds of licensed professionals.

State and federal fraud and abuse laws, including the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute, may apply. These federal and state laws that can be complicated so it’s best to consult with an experienced health care attorney to review existing and proposed services compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

Other considerations include determining how revenue from the new services will be distributed, if additional professionals need to be brought in to offer the service on behalf of the independent practice. There may also be upfront costs involved in setting up the facility to be able to offer a particular type of service.

Once all the details are worked out and you are ready to market these new services, you should see enhanced revenue for your independent practice as a result.