Does it seem like your practice reception area transforms from Grand Central Station to Old West ghost town in the span of a few days from December to January? Do you find yourself secretly hoping for a flu epidemic to bring in some new Q1 business? If so, you’re not alone. The deductible reset has many practices scrambling to serve patients eager to be seen before December 31—and scrambling to find patients to serve after January 1.
The deductible reset creates challenges for many specialties at the turn of a new year, but if your practice offers preventive services, they can be the antidote to slumping revenues.
Taking the time to promote preventive care at the beginning of the year is also an excellent way to offer patients more convenient service, while also engaging them and showing you’re concerned about staying on top of their healthcare.
The advantage of promoting preventive care at the start of the year is cost to patients—or lack thereof. Under the ACA, preventive services like annual wellness visits, well-woman OB/GYN exams, vaccines, and preventive tests like colonoscopies and Pap smears are typically covered by most health plans with no copay or deductible. (Grandfathered plans could be an exception—but a relatively rare one, since many plans covered preventive care at no out-of-pocket cost to patients even before the ACA mandated it.)
Patients may not be aware that these services can be had without opening their wallets. They also may not be aware that they’re due for screenings based on their age, risk factors and history. Best of all, they may not realize that getting an appointment at a convenient time could be easier at the start of the year because your practice has more unused capacity.
Identifying and proactively contacting patients for timely preventive services is a great way to get more value from your EHR and patient portal.