1. Identify a niche for pain treatment. "You have to decide what types of pain you're going to treat and how you're going to accomplish that," said Ms. Mowles. "You should be offering the most advanced, market-driven techniques at a fair price. You also have to make patients feel good about your program and your ASC because there is always going to be another business across the street."
2. Focus on customer service. According to Ms. Mowles, ASCs should offer prompt, courteous, compassionate and professional service to patients. This is particularly important for pain management due to the chronic nature of many of the cases. "How do you impart to patients with compassion the reality that you don't have the cure, but you can improve their life for a period of time?" she said. "You have got to please this patient every time. That starts from the minute when they schedule the appointment to when they leave, and how you handle the financial end of it afterward."
3. Physicians and patients should not discuss financial matters. Patients should have discussions about payments and billing with office staff members, not physicians, said Ms. Mowles. "I don't want you to know anything about money when it comes to your relationship with patients," she said. "Discussing money takes away from the patient-doctor relationship."
4. Focus on what the ASC can offer to the community. When branding and marketing the ASC, focus on the unique characteristics of the physicians and services offered, said Ms. Mowles. "Do you refer patients for alternative services?" she said. "Do you have an expertise in certain procedures? Do you speak a language of that community? What about training, continuing education and board certification of the staff? You have to brand your identity based on what makes you different."
5. Review all contracts closely before agreeing to any terms. Ms. Mowles said it is important to review all contracts closely before signing, and to revisit them up on termination date. "Pay attention to case rates, multiple procedures and carve outs," she said. "Always inquire as to their reimbursement regarding CPT codes and transcriptions."
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