Growing Patient Volume in 2014 & Beyond: 4 Spine Surgeon Initiatives


Here four spine surgeons discuss strategies to grow patient volume in the coming year and the years to come.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question: Will spine surgery be performed increasingly in the outpatient setting? If so, do you see this as a positive trend?


Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. CST.


Question: What are some ways in which you plan on growing patient volume this year?Wang


Jeffrey Wang, MD, Chief, Orthopedic Spine Service, Co-Director, USC Spine Center, Keck Medical Center of USC, Los Angeles: The University of Southern California Spine Center is in the midst of constructing a new spine center, hiring new administrators and practitioners and focusing on great patient care. We want to make the patient experience as pleasant as possible with better outcomes.


Our group plans to offer comprehensive spine care, both operative and nonoperative, and meet the needs of our patients. We will also plan more patient educational activities, more educational programs, preoperative classes and pathways to more efficiently deal with our patients' recovery. By focusing on the patient, we feel that this will attract them to our institution.


Brian GantwerkerBrian R. Gantwerker, MD, Neurosurgeon, The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: We plan on growing patient volume by maintaining an efficient clinic, with short times to appointments, adherence to quality and efficient scheduling of new consultations.


Paul Slosar, MD, President, SpineCare Medical Group, Daly City, Calif.: My partners and I, along with many surgeons across the country, will be participating in the Medicare Paul SlosarBundled Payment Care Initiative. 2014 is the first year this has been opened to physicians. Once active, I believe this program will be a catalyst to drive business, especially as the "business" of reimbursements evolves from fee-for-service to episodes of care and bundled payments.  


Participating physicians will gain experience in managing financial risk and profiting from cost efficient treatment pathways that preserve good clinical results. Commercial insurance carriers will seek out spine surgeons with proven track records in the BCPI program and eventually preferentially drive their patients toward these networks. 


Although it may not be obvious to surgeons today, getting involved in these provider networks now is essential to preserve and grow business over the next two to three years.


Hooman Melamed, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, DISC Sports & Spine Center, Marina del Rey, Calif.: One of the best ways to increase patient volume is having other patients make referrals.



Patients you have worked with appreciate what you've done for them, whether they've gotten better with or without surgery. This means they have the utmost trust in you, assuming you do excellent, quality work.


Establishing the foundation of a relationship and building trust is vital to getting that patient referral. You must also strive to always be genuine, affable and available for the patients and other physicians who need your services.

More Articles on Spine:

Semmes-Murphey Clinic to Offer Neck & Back Care Clinic
Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center Leases New Office Space in Las Vegas
FirstHealth Neurosurgery to Move to Larger Location in 2014

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