Adding ancillary services at spine practices — 2 surgeons discuss


Two spine surgeons weigh in on the importance of ancillary services and the ones their practices offer.

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.

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Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, July 24, 5 p.m. CST.

Note: The following responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: What ancillary services do you offer at your practice? Are you planning to add more?

Srdjan Mirkovic, MD, Spine Surgeon at NorthShore Orthopaedic & Spine Institute (Chicago & Glenview, Ill.): The ancillary services we offer at the NorthShore Orthopaedic & Spine Institute include physical therapy, occupational therapy and alternative medicine options such as acupuncture and massage therapy. Patients can be evaluated for spinal cord stimulation too, and we would like to add chiropractic care. We also provide injections such as steroid injections and facet joint injections. There is a trend to offer all these services under one roof. Having physical medicine and rehabilitation, family medicine and sports medicine specialists in the same working area helps us to capture more patients with multiple muscular skeletal needs, including spine surgery.

Issada Thongtrangan, MD. Orthopedic Spine and Neurosurgeon at Minimally Invasive Spine (Phoenix): As reimbursement declines, one way to enhance practice revenue and profitability is by adding ancillary services. These assist in maximizing practice profitability, while providing patients with the convenience and continuity of in-house care. Integrated clinical services also can increase productivity, revenue and patient retention. Imaging services, physical therapy, durable medical equipment and even adding mid-level providers are an essential part of the multidisciplinary approach for treating spinal disorders. However, the surgeons and the practice must be aware of the rules and regulations.

My practice is currently evaluating our ancillary services and will make an ultimate decision about what services we should retain.



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