One year ago today, the doors to the Pacific Rim Headache Center officially opened. This was after months of stressful work with banks, quality medical assurance commission, lawyers, vendors and landlords. The ominous prediction from the business bankers at Wells Fargo, in so many words, predicted our quick demise. Then I had moved on to another bank.
But we made it! I wanted to sit down at this point and do a very detailed post-mortem (okay, wrong choice of words . . . let’s say a success-analysis) on this venture. However, ironically, I’m so busy that it may be a while before I have this luxury.
I did want to share some important thoughts. I know that some may be redundant. But these are some of the surprises over this first year. While we are not getting rich, and the treat of financial failure is not out of the picture, I can sleep well on the night of each pay day and that’s an improvement.
FIRST YEAR SURPRISES
1) The volume of patients and the demand for our services have been beyond my wildest dreams.
2) Getting to know the insurance companies as a medical business owner, I will have to say, they are far worse villains than I had every imagined. Simply, they have constructed a complex maze for paying you, and they are rooting for your failure. They have no accountability. They can make arbitrary decisions that cost you thousands of dollars and there isn’t one damn thing you can do about it. It is like walking into Sears, buying a complete set of kitchen appliances, but then refusing to pay Sears because you found out that Sears uses a PO Box, and it is one of your arbitrary policies that you don’t pay for services to someone who uses a PO Box (even though you make your payments through electronic transfer, bank to bank).
I know of no other business that operates with such arrogance and impunity and I put this situation as number one of what’s wrong with our health care system. We spend more energy and resources fighting with insurance companies than we spend helping patients get well. This is a travesty. But it will never be fixed because virtually every politician (on both sides of the aisle) line their pockets with health insurance company money. The companies know that their money will serve them much better by buying politicians than by paying for their dear subscribers care. More than 40% of our hard labor for their subscribers is for free due to this maze. More than half of our time is spent in prior auths, billing, rebilling and etc.
3) Even in t his down economy, with such high employment, it is hard to find anyone who really wants a job where they work hard but are paid very well. I was surprised how hard it is to find good employees or vendors. It has been a process and it has taken a year for the pieces to come together.
4) The graciousness of my patients never ceases to amaze me. My patients have supported me through thick and thin.
5) My SP has been extremely supportive. I was fearful that he would not be before we opened our doors.
But this is as far as I have time to go at this juncture . . . I have things I must do.
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A Day of Celebration!