The business of healthcare has become increasingly complex over the last ten years, with developments such as the emergence of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), the passage of the Affordable Care Act and present uncertainty over its future, and the accelerated implementation of telemedicine.
Many physicians, frustrated by the bureaucracy of modern medical practice, the financial pressure to shorten appointments and limit face time with patients, and the delays and hassle of dealing with health insurers for reimbursement, are increasingly turning to concierge medical practices as an alternative. Under this business model, patients pay a set annual fee for unlimited (or nearly unlimited) access to a private primary care physician, many of whom will even make house calls for minor illnesses, injuries and physicals.
The majority of your patients are likely conscientious about honoring appointments, compliant with your treatment decisions, and pleasant with you and your staff. However, every practice has its share of problem patients: those patients who repeatedly no-show to appointments or cancel at the last minute, who refuse to follow even simple instructions, or are just plain difficult to deal with.. Although it is always best to try to work through any issues with the patient, there may come a point when you conclude that it is simply better for everyone to terminate the treating relationship with the patient.
Many dentists, particularly doctors who have recently graduated from dental school, choose to become associates at larger practices, rather than open their own clinic or partner with another dentist. Structured correctly, this can be a mutually beneficial relationship, under which the owner-doctor can increase his or her practice’s client base, revenue, and profitability, while the associate doctor can gain more experience, both in providing direct patient care and in the practical operation and administration of a dental practice, which he or she can then use as a future practice owner.
In our last post we started our discussion of HIPAA, the federal law governing patient privacy, with a look at HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. HIPAA is intended to impose nationwide standards on doctors in protecting patient privacy and pre-empts, or supersedes, any conflicting state laws. Therefore, Arizona’s patient privacy laws largely defer to federal law on the issue.
Most doctors know that, as part of buying a practice, they need to perform due diligence into the practice’s records to ensure they know what they are buying. However, determining what that diligence will entail can vary widely, depending on the circumstances. As a general rule, you should review at least the following:
At this time of year, many people take a moment to reflect on the past year and plan for ways to improve in the new one. In addition to traditional resolutions about personal health, there are some resolutions you should consider in your practice as well.
Whether you have recently opened or purchased your practice, or whether you have an established practice, very few things can be as damaging to your ability to attract new patients than negative on-line reviews. The proliferation of social media websites such as Facebook, Yelp and Twitter, as well as doctor-specific rating sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com, have allowed unhappy patients the means to seriously damage your on-line reputation, regardless of the quality of services you provide or the merits of the complaint.
We previously looked at the origins of the Stark law, as well as the scope of its coverage. With this post, we will examine the exceptions to the Stark law prohibitions and how they apply in practice.
In our previous post, we examined the origins and rationale underlying the Stark Law’s prohibition against physician self-referral. In this post, we look at exactly what the Stark Law prohibits.