Bad News for the Business of Psychiatry

June 25, 2012

One Path to Marketing Your Practice

A recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business paints a dire picture of the future of health care financing whether or not Obama Care becomes law. If it fails, the rising cost of health care entitlements as a percentage of GDP will force limits on coverage due to the increasing demands on medicare, the terrible budget problems in governments at all levels, and the growing numbers of us baby boomers reaching retirement age. If it does pass, the burden on employers as well as individuals may be too much to bare, resulting in cut backs in covered conditions, more strenuous denials for pre-existing conditions, and limits on inclusions of family members in employer provided insurance coverage.

Whatever happens in terms of health care financing, in my opinion, we will soon see drastic changes in institutional psychiatry. There will be less opportunities for safe haven income for early career psychiatrists. This will also affect more senior psychiatrists practicing in hospital settings or who serve predominantly medicare or other insurance only clientele. Psychiatry is treated like a stepchild in institutional and hospital settings. We produce much less revenue than procedure driven specialities. As these conditions arise we must aggressively promote our businesses. We could be doing a much better job promoting our businesses no matter the economic conditions.

Starting up and growing a psychiatric practice is a fine example of entrepreneurship. We are entrepreneurs. Even given the current market conditions, the real threat of serious competition, and the paucity of psychotherapy skills in many psychiatrists, we have the potential to overcome these weaknesses and threats given our strengths and the opportunities we possess. Taking advantages of our strengths as we correct our weaknesses will allow us to recover our competitive edge. Corrective action and aggressive marketing are increasingly crucial as financing “mental health care” dwindles along with the disappearing expendable income and insurance coverage for middle class consumers. We must become entrepreneurs, aggressively going after customers.

For reasons that I will address in later posts, physicians are repelled by practice promotional activities. As I have written earlier an old teacher scolded me for “going commercial”. We must go commercial or become more and more irrelevant. Are you taking entrepreneurship seriously? Teel us how by leaving a comment via the comment link above.

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