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READER TIPS

A little money here, a little there; where to find the sleeping savings

When the money’s tight, the manager has to squeeze the nickels—particularly in a small office where falling revenues are keenly felt.

And a New Jersey manager has done just that. She has found appreciable savings on expenses that come in month after month but tend to get overlooked in more profitable times.

With two physicians, one nurse practitioner, and only five staff, the office already runs on a tight budget, says the practice manager. Even so, she has uncovered money going out the door in ways nobody realized.

She started with one of the largest general expenses: the telephone. Lowering the bill was simply a matter of asking the provider to see where the office’s plan could be reduced. That one call produced a savings of about $75 a month—small, but a savings nonetheless.

Next was technology. The office buys a set number of IT support hours each year but has never used the full amount. Reasoning that “nobody wants to lose a customer,” she called the company and explained that the office was paying for unused time. The company immediately lowered the price. The office still gets the same number of hours, but the monthly rate has gone from $150 to $135.

Next was malpractice insurance. Asking the agent to reevaluate the policy uncovered two areas of savings.

One was that moving the nurse from the main policy to a separate policy could save nearly $3,000 a year. The other was that the office was paying for coverage it didn’t need. The doctors were covered for general as well as surgery, while the specialty coverage alone was sufficient—and less expensive.

Beyond that are indirect savings from contracting out individual jobs. The office uses an outside bookkeeper for basic financial work and uses an experienced outsider for credentialing. Both jobs could be done in-house, she says, “but how long would it take and at what cost?” Her reasoning: “Spend a little and get someone who’s quick.”

Finally, the office sees at least some savings from shopping at a warehouse club for general items such as break room supplies, tissues, and other products. The savings is admittedly small, she says, but running a small office “is kind of like running a house.” Every bit counts.


Medical Office Manager wants to send you $100. Tell us how you solved a problem, implemented a successful program – or share any idea we can use in our Reader Tips column and we’ll send you $100. Contact catherine@plainlanguagemedia.com


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