Five ways to reduce overhead

Five ways to reduce overhead

Reimbursement for medical services isn’t exactly on the rise (indeed, quite the contrary in some specialties), which makes it all the more important to watch expenses carefully. Keep in mind that every little bit of saving helps, and consider these five ideas for lowering your overhead.

  1. Consider volume purchasing. If you have adequate storage space, you may be able to save a considerable sum by buying items you use in large quantities in bulk. Printing and form costs, too, are often greatly reduced as the number of copies you order increases.
  2. Pay invoices promptly. Some suppliers offer a small discount to customers who pay their account balances within a certain (short) timeframe. Take advantage of this savings opportunity when you see it on invoices, and don’t be shy about asking vendors about price breaks in exchange for paying quickly.
  3. Do you belong to professional associations or your local Chamber of Commerce? If so, check the member benefits section on the organization website to see if you are eligible for discounts on services, supplies, or equipment purchases.
  4. Say no to overtime. Salaries are one of the largest expenses in the practice budget. Keep payroll costs down by staggering staff hours if your office is open more than eight hours a day, hiring additional employees (perhaps part-time) if the workload is routinely too much for the full-time team to handle, and watching for “overtime creep” (15 minutes here, 30 minutes there). Note: If overtime is incurred despite your best efforts, remember that you’re required to pay it.
  5. Make good use of your office space. If there are days that exam rooms sit idle because one or more doctors are off or in surgery, consider subletting space to a visiting specialist. Let your hospital administrator know if you have space available one day a week, or even two days a month. If they happen to be in the process of trying to woo a doctor from a nearby city to practice in the area, you may find yourself with a part-time tenant. Otherwise, spread the word around the medical community that you have space to sublet, or advertise in your county medical society newsletter. Ask other doctors who have done this for tips on how to make it work well for everyone involved.

And here’s a bonus tip involving bonuses: Challenge your staff to come up with quantifiable ways to cut expenses and reward them with cash bonuses or a percentage of the savings for a quarter or a year.