Family Doctors are Suffocating in Overhead Costs

Expenses up 20% in last 2 years alone

Everyone is feeling the strain of inflation and rising expenses the last couple of years. Fortunately, as a doctor, I tend to earn a decent living. But lately, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing ground over the last few years.

I am numbers guy, so I dove into my financial statements and spreadsheets. Even just looking at the last 2 years, the data is startling. And they clearly explain that feeling I can’t shake.

Revenue is down

Recently, the government and Ontario’s physicians agreed to an updated 3-year contract. Physicians have been ‘awarded’ a 1% ‘raise’. Keep in mind, ‘raises’ that don’t keep up with inflation (lately 5%-10%) are actually cuts.

When I dove into my financial reports, what strikes me is that my revenue from OHIP is actually DOWN 1.8% over the last 2 years.

How could my revenue be down!? Shouldn’t I at least be increasing by 1%?

I thought deeper about this. I realized that I’ve been trying to reduce my practice size over these last few years. Family Medicine is simply becoming overwhelming, even at modest practice sizes. Patients are more complex – and more demanding. In order to fend off burnout (or rather, not exacerbate it), I’ve let my practice size decrease over the years.

So, in summary, despite sub-inflation ‘raises’, family doctors’ revenues are decreasing. All while the work is more demanding.

Overhead costs are dramatically up:

Here comes the most distressing part of digging into the data. The overhead costs associated with operating my clinic are UP 20.3%, in just the last 2 years alone.

This includes expenses for Staff Wages, computers, EMRs, technology, internet, Medical Supplies, Office Supplies, etc.

I am fortunate to practice in a small, rural, underserviced community that supports us and does not charge rent. I can only imagine the financial strain that most of the province’s family doctors are feeling with rising rent costs over the last few years!

What is more, when I dove into other areas of expenses, those too are up significantly in the last 2 years. For example, the invoices I pay accountants and lawyers to run my practice was also up 20%. Another example, the costs to run my website are up 65%!

Quite simply, family doctors are drowning in rising overhead costs at rates that surpass even the high inflation rates.

What’s the solution?

Unfortunately, we physicians have no control of what the government and OHIP pay us. We are vastly undervalued, and it doesn’t appear that’s going to correct itself any time soon.

We do, however, have control over what we bill and collect for non-OHIP Uninsured Services.

I recently analyzed the costs of some of the common Uninsured Services that family doctors frequently provide. Every prescription renewal without a visit costs the doctor $22 in time, staff, materials, and resources. Every insurance letter for physiotherapy or massage or orthotics costs the doctor $24. Even the simplest forms cost the doctor $85 each.

Billing appropriately for Uninsured Services isn’t even about generating a profit. It’s about staying afloat in rising overhead costs.

How can PatientSERV help?

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon PatientSERV last year.

PatientSERV is the leading expert regarding Uninsured Services. They are partnered with, and exclusively endorsed by, the OMA. PatientSERV has the technology and expertise to help seamlessly optimize your revenue Uninsured Services.

Most family doctors quickly triple or quintuple their Uninsured Services, all for the same uninsured work we are already doing anyway. Plus, it offloads administrative work from staff.

In my first year as a client with PatientSERV, I believed in them so much that I have become their Physician Advisor!

If you are interested, please visit our websites, book a demo, or contact me for more information! (see links below)

Highest regards,

Dr. Adam Stewart

September 4, 2022

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Learn More:

PatientSERV Official Website

Dr. Stewart’s Info Page

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