Partnership Post, Health Services, Providers

How to Help Physicians Generate More Revenue and Make Their Patients Healthier

Interest in using GLP-1 drugs to reduce obesity combined with a desire by physicians to become less dependent on insurance-based reimbursement after the recent Change Healthcare cyberattack is building.

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The interest in using GLP-1 drugs for weight management combined with a desire by clinicians to generate revenue that’s less dependent on insurance is leading practices towards a cash-pay model. 

BuildMyHealth founder and CEO Dr. Jonathan Kaplan is a plastic surgeon in his day job. But he found that a significant number of would-be patients who wanted plastic surgery needed to lose some weight before the procedures would be effective and safe. Rather than turning these patients away, Kaplan started a weight management program based on the advice of his nurse and nurse practitioner. 

There were patients whose Body Mass Index (BMI) was too high so they weren’t good candidates for plastic surgery, Kaplan recalled on a recent webinar. Starting a weight management program to help them lose weight and then get to their goal weight would enable them to move forward with a tummy tuck, for example, to remove the excess skin. Or they would lose the weight and their skin would tighten on its own and they wouldn’t need surgery. Either way, it was a positive outcome for the patient.

Physician practices can help patients obtain compounded versions of semaglutide and tirzepatide, the active ingredients found in Ozempic and Mounjaro respectively. For physicians with insurance-based practices, this is an opportunity to successfully help patients lose weight as well as an opportunity to generate $250K+ in monthly recurring revenue through medication subscriptions. To automate the monthly medication subscriptions required for this program, Dr. Kaplan developed a software solution.

He’s now taken what he’s learned in his own practice and shared that knowledge and software with other providers. Dr. Kathleen Behr, a dermatologist with a practice in Fresno, California, is one provider Dr. Kaplan has helped in establishing their own weight management program. In response to emailed questions, Behr shared that, so far, she has conducted 75 consults and currently has 46 patients enrolled in her program. Behr noted that part of her office is devoted to body contouring and weight loss and is called “Behr Body”. Doing this has led to a seamless workflow with her dermatology practice. 

“Our current weight loss program, called Lean MD, was very helpful to our patients,” said Behr. “But some still needed more, especially women who are currently in menopause and having difficulty with hormonal weight gain. These medications have been so successful in that aspect. Also, so many of our patients come in for body contouring and liposuction and prior to their treatment they need to lose weight. So, we are now able to give them a wonderful option that is stress free weight loss. As a dermatologist we also have skin tightening and filler procedures to help once they get to their goal weight. We get to help them full circle.”

Behr said her practice refers current and new patients who are candidates for the weight loss medication to her weight management program. These patients typically have 10 pounds or more to lose. For those with less to lose, Behr said they try to help them with dietary changes first. 

“Honestly most patients are very open to these weight loss medications and are self-educated when they come in for a consultation. They come in with some knowledge and then we help answer any further questions they have before making a final decision,” Behr said.

Asked what she has learned based on her experience with Dr. Kaplan’s guidance, Behr answered this way.

“We have learned a lot about making things easier for the patient as well as for us in the office. That includes digitally sending lab slips to Quest, starting patients’ medication on the same day they sign up, and teaching methods for self-injection.”  

Dr.  Ioana Carabin, an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, found that some of her patients were suitable candidates for these weight loss medications. 

“I see a lot of sleep apnea patients in my practice,“ Carabin said. “A lot of them are obese and they need help to get healthier. Part of that approach requires weight management. So I’m able to provide weight management for patients that come in through insurance as well as self-pay patients through the cosmetic arm of my practice.”

Dr. Michelle Jones Singer, who has an OB-GYN practice, noted that many of her patients have noticed the weight loss program on her website and it’s led them to begin a conversation with her practice. 

“Patients see my information on my website and they request a consultation. After I review their history and lab work, I decide if they qualify based on the results. After they qualify, the patient decides if they want to proceed.”  

The doctors state that Dr. Kaplan provided other components for their weight management program including:

  • Consent forms
  • Medical history forms. 
  • Injection and dosage guide and video tutorials
  • Specialized automated software for dosage tracking and subscription charges
  • Marketing support
  • Sourcing of medications from compounding pharmacies
  • Pricing recommendations for medications

To learn more about how a weight management program can create a new revenue stream for your practice that’s less dependent on insurance reimbursement, click here.