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Exploring Inner Space

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Better space usage improves revenue and relationships.

Looking for extra revenue without having to invest? Try better utilizing space that goes unused for large blocks of time. That wasn't necessarily what Carla Adams was looking for when she repurposed a room in the EEG lab for a physician to use for patient procedures, but it's exactly what her hospital got.

Adams, senior director of patient care at Fauquier Hospital, a 97-staffed-bed Planetree-affiliated hospital in Warrenton, VA, accommodated a physician's request to use the room to perform coblation turbinate reduction procedures (a type of procedure to reduce nasal obstructions) on his patients.

Typically, the room is used by neurologists who schedule it to read scans, but it's not needed for this purpose for 40 hours per week, says Adams.

"Dr. Christopher Chang [an ENT specialist] started using the lab for doing Botox injections, so he developed a working relationship with the EEG technician," says Adams. "The room has everything he needs, so as the ORs became busier and busier, he is blocking time in that room for procedures."

It's a way to make use of space that the hospital is currently not using, improves hospital-physician relations, and generates extra revenue in the form of the facility fee for the hospital. It also cuts doctor and patient travel time—and frustration level, Adams says, which benefits the doctor and the hospital.

"We get paid for each procedure, so the hospital does make some money and the physician does make some money," she says, and the fact that additional space is not needed to accommodate the procedures means it really does reduce expenses on the hospital side.

"It makes logical sense since we're not using anesthesia or additional hands other than the tech who's already there."

Before approving the room for the physician's use, Adams worked very closely with Chang and the finance department to ensure the hospital would benefit as well as the physician and patients. Any hospital considering repurposing space similarly should do their due diligence before following Fauquier's lead.

"As you bring in new procedures, you have to know the right codes and which insurance companies will or won't pay for it, so do your due diligence," she says. "Other procedures have been requested and have been turned down. So if there's no reimbursement for the hospital with these new simple procedures, you have to be very careful."

Philip Betbeze

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