The Business of Healthcare

What Do Physician Groups and Vending Machines Have in Common?

May 6, 2014

Some physician groups operate like vending machines.

Instead of Cokes or 7-Ups, efforts are placed into the machine and are dispensed to patients.

Payments go into the slot but are regularly emptied out. Cash is seldom allowed to remain undistributed.

During the right time and under the right circumstances, there’s nothing wrong with having a practice that operates like that. In fact, in some situations, it’s the dream set up.

But in other situations the focus on current distribution of cash becomes addictive and destructive, like the other kind of coke.

For many groups, this is one of those times. Changes in healthcare are drastically affecting their operations. If a group is to do anything other than remain totally reactive to change, to let change happen to it, to be a victim of change, the group needs to be able to invest in its future. It needs to seek out opportunity and restructure as needed to capture it.

But it can’t do that if there’s no cash to fund it. Pulling cash back in from the partners or shareholders is always more difficult than not distributing some of it in the first place.

Don’t shortchange your future.

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