Miguel Rivera, MD is part of a group of 17 physicians called Florida ENT and Allergy with 11 locations in the Tampa Bay area. One of their competitors, Tampa Bay Hearing & Balance Center, is a group of three physicians combining for over 75 years of experience in Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery.
These are two physician groups in the same area, very familiar with each other, fighting for the same piece of the market share pie. Until one service brought them together.
One physician from Tampa Bay Hearing & Balance, and one from Florida ENT & Allergy had actually met together to discuss this opportunity. They were both so impressed, and realized although operating in the same area, they covered a wide range of geographical parts, in addition to a lot of individuals in need of this care. That’s when the two saw an opportunity to work together.
The two physician groups started a new corporation for their balance program, uniting under one brand, FYZICAL. They hired an individual to oversee the development of their balance business, Liz Kuba, DPT and Director of Clinical Services, who went to work on building their first three FYZICAL Balance Centers. All three centers were opened in 2017, and are growing rapidly.
Although some of the physicians were initially skeptical, each and every last doctor across both groups now sees the value of this service for their patients and has started referring to the balance center.
The physician groups have not spent a dime externally marketing their balance therapy business, as the centers are operating strictly from internal referrals. “These patients are in your practice,” says Danner.
“Patients who come in for hearing, sinus, or allergy are all potential balance patients. Many of our patients have never talked to anyone about a fall they’ve suffered, some are actually scared, have been embarrassed, or just have no idea who to talk about their balance challenges. FYZICAL offers a safe, open environment for these patients. You need to be proactive, and need to ask your patients. We are the ones who can help these patients, and there are so many of them looking for our help,” Danner explains.
“These patients have sadly been jerked around for years. They are sent from PCPs… to ENTs… to Neurologists… to PTs. They’re eventually offered treatment over 2-3 visits from some therapist who learned balance therapy at a weekend course. This is entirely different. FYZICAL’s balance program is the premier balance therapy program in the world. FYZICAL has a wealth of knowledge, equipment partnerships, training programs, and a full support system. This is the answer for these patients,” says Danner.
“This is the opportunity for us as physicians to finally help these patients. There is a huge need for it, and the sky is the limit. If you want to see what this is all about, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to explore this for your patients and for your business,” says Rivera.
Their fourth balance center is now being built, and will open in 2018.
Adding balance on your own vs. with FYZICAL:
One of the physicians in this group, Dr. Loren Bartells, the longest tenured partner of Tampa Bay Hearing & Balance, was originally very hesitant.
Bartells had attempted to add physical therapy as an ancillary service in his practice years ago, but was unsuccessful. As you can imagine, he was uncertain about pursuing this opportunity. Today, he is one of the largest referrers to the balance centers across both groups, and he is thrilled he now has an answer for his balance patients. He’s also astonished at what the addition of this service has done for the rest of the business.
Dr. Bartells and his partners now see their business in an entirely new light.
“This ancillary has not only added direct revenue to the practice, but it’s also increasing speech, audiology and other facets of the business too,” says Rivera. “This is the best way to diversify your business.”