How Imaging Centers Can Reduce Overhead Costs
From staffing and equipment leases to bank fees and billing, overhead costs are simply a necessary evil in the medical industry. With reimbursement cuts from the ACA and a fragile global economy, making sure that your operating costs are in line with your projected annual growth is more vital to the profitability of your practice than ever before. To help you better position your practice for maximum growth, we’ll go in-depth on a few of the biggest opportunities in which imaging centers can reduce their overhead costs.
Many new freestanding imaging centers tend to lease much larger spaces than is needed for their practices. And with ever-changing economic climates, a location that is presently strong may not be a good location in 5-10 years. Therefore, a short-term lease is going to work more in your favor, even if it costs you slightly more up front.
#3: Look to your vendors.
Though bank fees seem insignificant on a monthly basis, they can take quite a toll on your bottom line when added up over the course of a year. Banks are fighting tooth and nail for consumer business, waving fees and eliminating minimum balances to attract new customers. To make up for this loss of revenue, your bank may be gradually increasing the fees they levy on small-to-medium sized businesses such as your imaging center.
Though your management team is primarily responsible for accounting, be sure to periodically review your bank statements and check for miscellaneous fees, such as maintenance fees, withdrawal fees, or minimum balance fees. If you’re unhappy with your service, have your accounting personnel reach out to your bank to have those fees reduced, or explore other options.
Buying equipment vs. leasing
In many cases, you can greatly reduce your overhead by purchasing equipment, rather than leasing. Though equipment leases pose less risk up front, you can always sell your equipment to local hospitals in the event of liquidation. Leasing can be a beneficial short-term solution for new imaging centers, but it can also impede long-term growth.
Before purchasing, you’ll want to make sure that the costs of owning new equipment are in line with your business plan and projected growth. Utilities, personnel, and maintenance costs can add up, and if growth isn’t consistent at your practice, new equipment can leave you in the red as quickly as 6 months.
However, if there’s an opportunity to beat the competition in your region by offering new screening or multimodal imaging techniques, such as PET-MRI or CT colonography, a short-term lease can help you explore those niches while assessing their value to your patients and your bottom line.
Reevaluate your billing
Whether you use in-house or outsourced billing, you should regularly evaluate the efficacy of your collections. Be sure to review reports on a regular basis, so you can make sure that figures such as patient volume and charges are consistent with equipment use.
Does it save to use in-house billing?
Not always. In addition to regularly reviewing the collections process, you should also constantly look at the costs of keeping a billing staff at your practice. While in-house employees seem to be more cost-effective, the costs of salaries, employee benefits, office space, and computer systems don’t always beat the cost of using an outsourced billing service. Additionally, the costs of an in-house staff might not be money well spent if collections are declining.
Keep in mind, a billing company is typically more astute than in-house personnel when it comes to new compliance changes, billing processes, and the latest billing software. Additionally, many doctors prefer to delve out additional responsibilities to their administrative personnel, and in the long run, doing so can make your billing far less effective. Ultimately, the costs and benefits of in-house versus outsourced billing vary from practice to practice, and the responsibility to weigh those costs is up to you, not your management team.
If your current billing method is beginning to decline, a great way to get your collections process up to speed is by working with a medical lien finance company. Reimbursement cuts and inefficiencies in your billing department can stifle growth at your imaging center, but the revenue from selling your receivables can help you develop a steady cash flow and position your practice for both short and long-term growth.
Unfortunately, not all medical lien finance companies are the same, so you’ll want to work with an experienced company that offers other benefits in addition to purchasing receivables, such as MedChex. As an affiliate of Global Financial, one of the nation’s leading financiers for attorneys, MedChex can connect you with their extensive nationwide network of healthcare providers and patients, so that you can expand your client base and increase your cash flow considerably.
Since 1999, MedChex has been servicing medical receivables and helping imaging centers like yours grow considerably. Unlike many other medical lien finance companies, MedChex is well backed and has the resources and expertise to offer you top dollar for your receivables, as well as the flexibility to wait for a claim to settle. MedChex charges no application fees, and will work diligently to help you increase your revenue and begin growing your practice in less than a week.