Allergy practices are feeling squeezed on all sides, with reductions in reimbursement, high inflation and challenges collecting from patients with high-deductible health plans. So it’s no wonder allergy practices are looking for ways to reduce expenses without impacting patient care – or allergist and staff well-being!
Read what Practice Management Committee members say are their best practice cost-saving tips. We have so many tips that we’ve broken this into a two-part article; this is part one. Some suggestions are easy to implement, and others take a little more effort, but we’re certain you’ll find a few ways to save your practice money!
Alnoor Malick, MD, FACAAI
- Don’t assume you’re getting the best deals from your current vendors; shop around and compare prices. We are swapping suppliers for our small disposable medical supplies (Gloves, syringes, IV supplies, injectables), which will save us about 36%.
- Restructure your cluster schedule to give away less serum for free due to proper utilization and dosing during build-up schedules. Minimize waste by using up as much of each vial as possible.
- Sign up with a group purchasing organization to get discounts on office and medical practice supplies.
- Negotiate free shipping on the purchase of high-dollar items like extracts.
Jennifer Shih, MD
- Where practical, consider changing some clinical staff from RNs to MAs and make sure each is operating at the top of their license. (ACAAI note: check your state requirements about scope of practice and licensure requirements).
- Stop couriering immunotherapy vials to PCPs and other providers.
- Create your own group of local allergists or physicians to do bulk purchasing, or get better discounts from vendors.
- Look for opportunities to streamline practice flow, processes, etc. Making your practice more efficient can increase revenue and/or reduce costs.
Priya Bansal, MD
- Ship extracts just once per quarter to save on shipping costs.
- Cross train staff to make sure you can keep the clinic running if someone is sick or leaves unexpectedly.
- Plan an end-of-year order to restock prior to annual price increases.
- Invest in strategic marketing efforts. (ACAAI note: Get tips and resources in the College’s Marketing and Patient Materials Toolkit).
Other suggestions from the Practice Management Committee:
- Look at your profit and loss and identify your biggest expenses. Get competing bids on those line items every two to three years to confirm you’re getting the best rates.
- Network with others in your state or local allergy society to find out what vendors they’re using and what their experience has been. You might find opportunities for cost savings or better customer service.
- Review credit card processing costs and get alternative pricing if possible. Business associations, chambers of commerce, local or state medical societies may have programs to access.
- Review and/or renegotiate your medical waste contract. It can save you a bundle! (ACAAI note: Get several bids from medical waste vendors and review contracts carefully. Some companies are known for lengthy contracts and substantial cost increases mid-contract. Don’t get caught unaware.)
- Compare liability insurance costs and benefits and ask if extra coverage, such as cyber security coverage, is available at no additional cost. (ACAAI note: Some malpractice carriers offer substantial multi-year discounts to practices completing a successful risk assessment. This is definitely worth exploring. Another option: consider working with an insurance broker to negotiate malpractice rates. You may be surprised at the savings they are able to negotiate on your behalf.)