Learn How To Create A Budget For Your Medical Practice

In medicine, the mention of the word profit is often viewed or interpreted as a dirty word. It is as if the word does not belong in the lexicon when health care is addressed.
 Broke doctor
I argue (in the context of the private medical practice setting) that profitability is a medical practice’s responsibility for one simple reason. If the medical practice (also known as a business) doesn’t deliver profits, health care providers are unable to provide for those in need.

Why Profits?

Profits pay for infrastructure, technology, education and human resources, all of which translate to superior pediatric care when employed correctly.
Another way I like to put it is by saying,


…a broke doctor does do anybody any good.


Calling vs Profits

Indeed, our medical businesses differ from other companies in that we care for children. And the notion of withholding medical services or restricting access to a sick child merely by the patient’s parents inability to pay for health care services is simply not in a pediatrician’s DNA.
However, it is important to accept the reality that without a way for a doctor or the practice’s income to outpace expenses, health care providers are unable to provide services of any kind. At least not for the long term.

Is there a solution?

How do we reconcile these two competing issues? On one hand, it is necessary for a medical practice to deliver profits if it wants to remain sustainable. On the other, we have an intrinsic motivation to put the patient’s needs first.
I am glad you asked.
These two dichotomies can co-exist – and even flourish – alongside each other. There is indeed numerous tools and principles rooted in business that can help medical practices manage what otherwise appears to be opposing forces.

A Resource You Don’t Want to Miss

Today, I want to tell you about a resource I’ve been working on to help your office obtain financial success, while simultaneously providing unsurpassed pediatric care to your patients.

To help you succeed in your financial success, I’ve written a comprehensive eBook on budgeting that walks you through the process of creating a budget for your medical practice. The materials also cover basic principles necessary to put the exercise into perspective.

Budgeting is a major component of financial success. Moreover, financial success is essential to the continuity of care.

To read more about this offering, click on the image below.

Medical Practice Budgeting
Click on the image

I do hope that you buy the book, but more important, that you find the eBook helpful, useful and valuable.

AAP NCE: Top Secrets from a Pediatric Practice Manager

There is no doubt that our medical practices are getting more complex. In addition to managing patients, insurance, billing, collections, EMRs, EOBs, and statements, just to name a few, we also have to ensure we remain profitable.

So how does one stay on top of all these things without losing sight of our objectives? How do we continue to manage our day-to-day tasks while implementing ICD-10? How do we ensure that our of patients are immunized while going from paper charts to electronic charts?

Next week, at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention and Exhibition held in New Orleans, I will be presenting on a few concepts that will help us, as leaders of our practice, manage complex transitions, like ICD-10 or EMRs implementations, while still ensuring our practices are managed efficiently, effectively and profitably.

I’ll be talking about how we sometimes put too much emphasis on the urgent, the easily measurable,  and the immediate as opposed to the more important things like, for example, building cohesive teams.

I’ll give you this little teaser…

Think about Fortune 500 companies. These organizations have the best MBAs money can buy. These companies are staffed with Ivy League trained employees. Yet many of them fail terribly  at managing transitions. Is it because they are dumb? Is it because they don’t know how to follow a GANTT chart?

Come by my presentation and I’ll tell you why most companies, including medical practices, fail miserably at managing transitions.

The title of the presentation is Top Secrets from a Pediatrics Practice Manager – Managing Transitions While Maintaining and Efficient Practice.

I’ve requested for the doors to be bolted down considering this is Top Secret material. So you will not want to be late if you are planning on attending.

Just kidding of course, but I would appreciate it very much of you would consider attending the sessions. My top secret session will be held on Friday Oct 19th at 10:00 am.

Below is the 2012 Practice Management NCE flyer developed to highlight SOAPM & PPMA sessions (SOAPM and PPMA is code for cool, innovative and progressive practice management stuff) and to serve as a sample itinerary for members interested in attending practice management related programs.

Click on the link to download the flyer.

If you are a faithful reader of this blog, please stop me and say hi. I’d love to meet you.

I Don’t Know How Else To Put This, But My Ebook Is Kind of a Big Deal

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably know about my e-book, 101 Ways to Transform Your Practice.

If you haven’t picked it up (it is free by the way) I wanted to give you a little nudge to do so. Not everything in the ebook is going to work in your practice. But at the very least, I think the ebook will spark ideas that you would have not had otherwise.

If you are still not convinced, then let me share this little something that I got from a reader of PediatricInc recently that got the ebook.

Hi Brandon

Thank you soooo very much!

I  shared your book  with my staff, as the template for our practice meeting today, as we are forging ahead to re- engineer our practice, and I must say , afterwards our way forward became crystal clear.

In one day, we have created a Facebook page, developed an email template to thank new patients for visiting our medical home, and created three mini videos using myself and my nurse to welcome patients to Frontier Kids Care!

We have a new excitement about implementing our changes.

We are also looking at recalls, and the financial status of the practice.

We looked at our mission and are working on the charter.

Our improved website is due to be released next week, but we are going to be wasting no time in putting our new status on Facebook etc now.

I invite you to preview our before and after website at frontierkidscare.com

In Trinidad, obviously our needs are much simpler, we definitely do not have practice managers, but my solo practice has a nurse and a receptionist, and we cross train.

I definitely am challenged on  the business side, so I realize I need a business manager in some form or fashion.

So again thanks, and I wonder if your book has been published so I can purchase one.

Your practice is blessed to have you!

Take good care.

Rose Marie

I don’t know how else to put this, but my ebook is kind of a big deal. Pick it up for free by going here.

I Have a Proposal

Since I’ve started the blog, I’ve gotten a few requests from people to help them out with different practice/business issues. After answering a few of these questions, I’ve realized that I really enjoy doing this type of work. I enjoy analyzing data, researching topics, and giving different perspectives in an effort to solve medical practice business problems for other managers and physicians.

Here’s why I like it

Not only do I help people out (which I think is a cool thing to do), but I also benefit from it because every situation is unique and there is always something to learn.

The Proposal

So here is the deal. If you have an interesting practice management issue, and need some help resolving it, I’d like to help. Just reach out (email, phone, Twitter) and I’ll be happy to help you work through it. I’ll pull out all the stuff in my bag of expertise and provide you the best advice my experience allows.

How much will this offering cost you? Well, here is the cool thing. It won’t cost you money (maybe time, but not money). This proposal is free of charge. No gimmicks; no, now you have to do this for me; or no, if I ever come to you with a favor… type of request.  Also, your data is your data, your stuff will remain yours. I won’t blog about anything that may make you uncomfortable either.

What is in it for you?

If I can’t help you because it falls outside the scope of my expertise or any other reason, I’ll let you know and we’ll leave it at that. If I do think I can help, but what I come up with stinks (in your mind), you don’t have to do anything with it. Not to mention, no skin off your back because the work was done for free. However, if the advice, the solution or the analysis is good… then you win.

What is in it for me?

If I don’t solve your business problem, and you tell me I’m as dumb as a box of rocks, I will have succeeded in knowing what doesn’t work. There is value in that for me (and for you as well, actually).

If I succeed in solving your interesting practice management problem, I’ll undoubtedly learn something while at the same time giving me the confidence to continue helping others.  In other words, the more I learn, the better I’ll be in helping others.

Why do this for free?

If I charge a consulting fee and the job doesn’t meet your expectations, my failure will be colossal and expensive for you. However, by not charging, I increase the probability of providing a positive ROI (return on investment).

What can I offer

There are some things I’m good at (I think), while others, not so much. So let’s stick with the stuff I think I’m pretty good at and where I think I can add value to your practice management problem:

  1. Data analysis, trends breakdown and financial reporting.
  2. Critical business thinking. What does this mean? Careful reasoning to the analysis and discussion of claims, beliefs, and issues of business related issues. Click here for an example of how I think critically.
  3. Creating, developing and implementing advertising materials. Click the link for few examples of what I’ve done with our practice’s advertising (click here).
  4. Customer service (examples, here and here)
  5. I spend a lot of time on the web, thus I’m familiar with many of the tools the web has to offer to enhance one’s practice. Click here, here and here for examples. And those examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
  6. Implementing practice protocols, writing notifications to parents, financial and office policies just to name a few.
  7. PowerPoint presentations. This ones an odd one, I know. But the reason I bring it up is because most presentations (especially from doctors), stink and I think I can help you give an engaging presentation. Don’t have examples on this one online… so you’ll have to trust me on this one.

A little about me

Reading the PediatricInc blog will give you a good idea on how approach practice management.  You can also check out my LinkedIn profile for a more traditional look at my experience.

Don’t feel like reading all that stuff. That’s fine. Here’s my polished elevator pitch.

Brandon Betancourt is the practice administrator and co-founder of a growing pediatric group in the western suburbs of Chicago where he is responsible for the overall operation of the practice, which includes business development efforts, financial analysis, information system management and strategic planning initiatives.

Prior to starting up the medical group Brandon was a business management and marketing consultant. He managed the creative development and execution of different product offerings for large to mid-size companies in the financial, information technology and tourism industry.

As a business management consultant, he has helped organizations improve their performance, primarily through the analysis of existing business problems and development of plans for improvement.

Brandon earned his B.S. in Marketing from the Instituto Superior Universitario de Mercadotecnia (Caracas, Venezuela) and recently obtained his MBA from the University of Phoenix.


Here’s the link to contact me.

How can I help?

Why I Blog

I showed friends my blog the other day and after reading a few post, they said, “Why are you telling everybody your secrets?” In fact, my wife mentioned the same thing when I told her I had decided to write a blog about our practice. 

I thought about what they said, and wrote down the reasons I blog.

  1. Because I want to share. I decided on a single 2009 resolution, and it was to contribute. I want to share my time, knowledge and expertise. That is what Web2.0 is all about; sharing and connecting with people. I also want to help others that may be in similar situations as I was a few years ago. When we first open the practice, it was like the blind leading the blind. We had no clue how to do hardly anything as far as setting up a medical practice. I searched online and didn’t find much information. Since then, I found a few resources, but in general, very little is for pediatrics. So, I blog with the hopes that a person like me, with very little practice management experience, finds my blog useful in some way.
  2. Because I want to become a better writer. Everybody agrees that effective communication skills is an important skill to have. Yet few actually hone the skill. Blogging helps me improve my writing skills. Furthermore, it helps me become a better communicator all around.
  3.  Because I want to learn. Seth Godin told a story about talking with a friend and trying to encourage her to speak at a conference. According to Godin, the friend said she didn’t know enough to do something like that. To which he responded, “… volunteering to speak was the best way to be sure that she’d end up knowing enough by the time she was through.” I always thought I had to be an expert to write a blog. But when I read Godin’s response, I thought, wait a minute… writing the blog may actually help me learn. Now, I realize what he was saying. With every blog post, I learn something.
  4. Because I want to network. Blogging and Twittering has increased my network from a business perspective. I’ve already made a handful of online friends that I know I can count on for advice and even guidance. Some have even offered to help me with the practice; others have made their service available should I ever need it. Moreover, experts say that the best time to look for a job, is when you don’t need one. The practice is going well and I hope I never have to find another job. But you never know. Blogging provides people a greater insight about me than a resume could ever have. And the probability of landing on my feet should things go south are better because: a) my network is larger than before; b) I have people whom I now have a relationship with and have a genuine interest in what I have to say.
  5. Because I want validation. Rajesh Setty, one of the many people I follow on the net posted on Twitter something a long the lines of, don’t worry when people steal your stuff; worry when people STOP stealing your stuff. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers. In fact, my background isn’t even in practice management. So how do I know I’m doing things right? Well, if I post ideas and people like them, or better yet, people implement them, then I know I’m doing something right. And If I don’t get things right, I have you all to set me straight.
  6.  Because I want to brand myself. In 1997, Tom Peters wrote a piece in Fast Company titled “The Brand Called You.”  He said, “big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand.” Twelve years later, this notion still holds true. What better way to let others know what you represent than with a blog?

So, there you have it. Reasons why I blog.