The year which has passed has been tumultuous, disruptive and at times pretty scary for the Family Practitioners.
CPC/Qualicare has maintained it’s leadership and advisory role to the members and share holders through its motto:
“Cash is King”
No doctor who has implemented the decision has regretted doing so, saving on :
Managed care restrictions and their inherent demands for extra staff and time
Phone and ADSL line costs
In fact , when you look carefully at your practice overheads, you really need to work out for your individual practices , which are the patients you need to nurture, and who should you decide to refer on to a practice which sees all and sundry and still does not make a good living. Networks form around you like autumn blossoms falling. How do you respond? Do you join every network which offers you a stab at new ( usually old and recycled) patients , do you race headlong into every new deal offered, making the businessmen behind those networks millionaires at your expense, or do you carefully weigh up whether you really want to work with those new ( or old and demanding) funders groupings who seem to be able to hire and fire you at will? 2018 is going to be a year of great shakeout for FPs. It you still do not know your costs to remain open, before you see a patient , the you are on a path to destruction. Know your bottom line. Sit down with your auditor and ascertain your daily and monthly running costs, then work out how many patients you need , and at what cost per patient, to create a practice which , over 10 to 15 years will afford you a comfortable retirement. Should you elect to work with funders, then decide which pays you fairly, which options are sufficient remuneration for your work, and whether you want to be peer reviewed and thereby qualify for a higher remuneration by joining network which perform peer review like IPAF. BUT this is second prize!
Your upper authority if firstly your patients who will vote with their feet. Treat them well, and give of your time and many will not object to paying you your cash fee. They may then claim it back from their funder. Your next upper authority is the HPCSA, who protects the public and guides the profession. They , in essence are the peer review structure which should be the ultimate authority as to whether you have behaved fairly or fraudulently, not the fraud divisions of the funders , who usually only try to recoup losses overcharged by unscrupulous practitioners. The methodologies of the latter are questionable, and the restitution in the form of signing of an Acknowledgement of debt, is unscientific and opportunistic. Many of you will agree with the sentiment of what I have said in this article and then , close the book , and go right back to seeing all comers, without a clue as to your costs , profits , overheads, admin burdens etc. these are often also the same group whose staff are running 2 sets of books , and stealing from the practitioners who do not have their finger on the pulse of the practice. Others however will do the sums and come out with an accurate figure, and make the informed decision that they will continue to work with funders, as their patients cannot afford to pay them cash. I respect this decision fully , and to those of our members who decide to do this , CPC/Qiualicare will fully support you with our consultants, our timeous notices of fees, and changes to plans, informative articles and essential information to make your practice more competitive, efficient and remain viable. I have reproduced many of thos articles in this December edition for you to keep as a reference and read when you have more time , or whena situation arises which needs the information in one of the articles. CPC/Qualicare works for you, our consultants have your practice success at heart, our office is there for your queries and problems, our special offers and stationery is unsurpassed by any other IPA in the country. Practitioners new or old benefit by our support, cutting edge news, and consultants ability to solve payment problems and funder foibles. I hope that you find the articles in this final edition of Qualicare News, stimulating and enjoyable, and the team and I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas, Happy Channuka, and a Happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.
Tony Behrman and the Qualicare team