• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Ways to Expand Gastroenterology Practice with Ancillary Services

Byjameseric

Dec 1, 2023
ancillary services

Ongoing low insurance payments keep pushing medical practices, especially gastroenterology (GI), where I have expertise. Ancillary services help ease the financial strain.

With a smooth-running practice, you save money. Use these savings to kickstart ancillary services. Here are 11 options for gastroenterology practices to think about. Plus, you can choose to partner with billing services to manage your administrative burden. 

Deciding what to provide depends on a few things:

  • How big your practice is
  • What your patients require
  • If you have enough space and staff
  • If you can invest or get a loan
  • If it fits your care philosophy
  • Where your services are concentrated
  • How you compete with local hospitals
  • If you want to work with an outside company
  • The rules in your state
  • What your insurance covers

Transfer procedures to your ASC instead of the hospital

Creating an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) takes time and work, but it can boost your income by collecting facility fees that might have gone to the hospital. Plus, it improves efficiency with shared technology and offers more organized care for patients. Some companies team up with GI doctors to help kickstart ASCs.

Open a lab for testing

 Gastroenterology teams create many types of lab samples. Doing the lab work in-house (technical part, professional part, or both) can bring in more money. But, be aware, it’s not simple to get in-network with most insurances for new labs. To get more money back, you have to keep talking with third-party gastroenterology billing services about out-of-network claims.

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Provide infusion and other biologic treatments.

Medications for inflammatory bowel disease can be costly, leaving minimal profits. Avoid insurance denials by ensuring thorough billing. With a steady flow of patients, especially those with Crohn’s disease, offering biologics can be a financially rewarding venture.

Start Imaging Services

Consider getting CT and ultrasound equipment if there’s a demand for imaging in your area. This anchilllary services not only helps patients but also brings in extra income.

Offer Hemorrhoid Banding

Boost patient satisfaction by adding hemorrhoid banding to your services. It’s a simple procedure, offering quick relief. You can do it in the office or an ASC, and it pays well.

Build Anesthesia Partnerships

Partner with anesthesia services to improve patient comfort during procedures. May gastroenterology practices offer anesthesia as an ancillary services and this help them to boost practice revenue. 

 This boosts satisfaction. Be aware that anesthesia billing may need special attention, especially with recent changes in coding affecting reimbursements.

 Earn from clinical research

If the practice is academically inclined, you can develop a clinical trials program to evaluate new drugs, medical devices or tests. This can add a new revenue stream. For example, gastroenterology practices run trials for ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, opioid-induced constipation and so on. It’s important to note that comprehensive research programs have inherent risk and take longterm commitment from doctors to create value.

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Add nutrition and weight management programs

 Unlike some other ancillary services, adding a nutrition program requires less upfront investment. These income streams sometimes work better with a cash payment model. Focusing on diets specific to digestive disorders (e.g. anti reflux diet, FODMAP diet, gastroparesis diet etc.) can help patients manage their conditions better. Some practices offer procedures such as Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) and gastric bypass to help patients with weight management just as most care centers in category of immediate care in Algonquin do. This help them boost practice revenue and get most patient. 

Dispense medicines at your practice

 You can consider partnering with an in-house dispensing company and dispensing your top 20 drugs at the office. It saves patients a trip to the pharmacy. Note that laws in some states strictly prohibit drug dispensing at doctors’ offices. Some practices also sell nutrition supplements, vitamins and probiotics that aid in digestive care as an ancillary services.

Include advanced GI procedures

Boost your endoscopy services with advanced procedures like Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) and Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD). Consider options like Smart Pill and small bowel capsule. Working closely with a partner who specializes in advanced gastroenterology procedures can enhance your practice. Managing billing and coding is crucial for getting accurate payments from insurance companies. Incorporating advanced procedures helps your practice stand out as a leader in the field.

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Establish specialized care centers

Some practices create specialized centers for specific conditions, like Crohn’s Disease. These centers provide a range of services, including endoscopy, biopsy reviews, infusion therapy, dietary support, and onsite lab testing. Another example is a liver center that focuses on managing liver disease and transplants. Advanced GI groups can explore the idea of starting specialized care centers tailored to the needs of their patients.

Conclusion

Provide genetic counseling and diagnostic testing for gastroenterology. Many patients are now opting for genetic tests and seeking advice from their doctors. Billing and coding for genomics are still developing, but this field is expected to see increased demand.

(By the way, Blueprint Genetics offers various panels for GI issues, such as cholestasis, congenital diarrhea, congenital hepatic fibrosis, gastrointestinal atresia, pancreatitis, and more).

Beyond just making money, additional services bring extra benefits. They help patients more thoroughly, boost satisfaction, and even attract new doctors to join your practice.

These services also improve the practice’s reputation in the community. They open doors to serve new patients (and their families) who might not have otherwise known about your practice.

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