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Where have all the private practice otolaryngologists gone?

Feb 6, 2018 7:12:00 AM

Independent otolaryngologists all over the country are struggling to compete with the hospitals, and it’s showing in the statistics. The number of self-employed physicians is decreasing year over year.

According to this study, independent otolaryngologists have increasingly moved towards joining hospitals over the 15+ years. The otolaryngology business model has become obsolete due to increasing costs, declining reimbursements and increasing reliance on hospitals for referrals.

Private practice owners think they can sell their practice for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, but in reality, the practice may only be worth asset value. Unless, of course, the partners stay in the practice as employees. Hospitals often buy up these independent practices for next to nothing, or the owners end up staying in the practice as employees under the hospital. In addition, new grads in otolaryngology are being snatched up by the hospitals because they can offer more competitive pay than most private practices can offer these new grads.

Otolaryngologist in Alabama, Dr. Carl Stephenson, has seen this trend firsthand in his 17 years of practicing. “I think it’s pretty alarming right now what’s happening to private practice otolaryngologists. The hospitals are really soaking up all the new otolaryngologists,” Carl says.

Carl is part of a group practice of five in Alabama. He joined this group early on in his career because he knew they could grow faster and bigger by working together. Even after many years of working together and providing excellent patient care, they still experienced challenges.

“Our revenue was stagnant for over a decade, but we didn’t want to be absorbed by the hospitals or disappear like many other ENT practices we’ve seen over the years,” Carl explained.

Carl and his team are excellent physicians, but they had little to no training in running a business. Like many otolaryngologist peers, business management was not part of their education. Private practice owners need to be masters at their profession, as well as understand business strategy, manage employees, negotiate insurance contracts, track important business metrics, and so much more. This balancing act, mixed with declining reimbursements and increasing overhead, can be a recipe for disaster in private practice otolaryngology.

Will private practice otolaryngology disappear? The hope is that it won’t, because private practice otolaryngologists often provide better care than hospitals.

Carl sought out something that would set them apart and help them remain successful as independent practitioners from the hospitals. “For those of us that are in private practice and enjoy it, adding services that are not dependent on hospitals and allow you to do more within your four walls is important to stay independent.”

He discovered that balance therapy was the answer to providing services that are not dependent on the hospitals. He also found the business expertise that was lacking in their practice all these years.

One year after this revelation, Carl’s practice has been supercharged in every aspect. His revenue has increased 37% after being stagnant for over a decade, hearing aid sales are up 59%, patient visits are up 15% for new patients and 5% for return patients. All of this was done with the addition of a FYZICAL Balance Center.

Adding balance therapy to your existing practice will help you:

  • Boost ancillary revenue
  • Provide better care
  • Diversify your business
  • Significantly increase growth potential
  • Build a wealthy exit strategy

Like Carl and his partners, you can remain independent for many years to come by taking advantage of this opportunity. You will no longer have to worry about being absorbed by the local hospitals or closing your doors like some of your colleagues may have done.

Schedule a call with a FYZICAL Advisor to learn if adding balance therapy and gaining business knowledge, training and support is right for you. The shift is already taking place in otolaryngology—don’t wait to put your practice on the path to success.

Schedule a Call 

Written by FYZICAL

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