While many markets continue to see increases in the institutional employment of physicians, there still remains a substantial number of surgeons in private practice, and many of those surgeons are operating successfully in that environment. How do they do it? What is the "secret sauce" that helps them maintain a successful business? The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP), along with the General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee, collaborated with Fellows and practice management experts to capture valuable lessons, tips, and insights that can help surgeons thrive in private practice. This primer provides an overview of various private practice business arrangements, financial management and revenue cycle processes, relevant health care laws and rules, and methods to ensure the ongoing prosperity of a practice.
The days when one could enter the practice of surgery with only a passing knowledge of the business climate and extensive regulations that come with running a surgical practice are long gone. The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP), along with the Practice Protection Committee, collaborated with Fellows and experts in health law, managed care, and revenue cycle to highlight some of the important economic principles underlying health insurance markets, which are essential for any surgeon to understand when entering into and negotiating contracts with private payors on behalf of their practice. This primer provides guidance aimed at helping Fellows develop productive relationships with payors, evaluate insurance contract agreements, and improve practice management processes to optimize reimbursement from commercial health plans.
Michael Sarap, MD, FACS, Chair, ACS Advisory Council for Rural Surgery, discusses some of the specifics of his more than 30 years of experience as a private practice surgeon in Cambridge, OH, a small rural community in the southeastern part of the state. Topics include management models, recruitment, building relationships within the community, and more.