Important Issues for Medical Fitness Centers
One important issue faced by operators at medical fitness centers, according to Wing, is balancing profit margin and the center’s mission. She explains, “Medically based programs are available to the entire community based on need in most of our facilities, either through a ‘scholarship’ or outright charity care. The provision of these services needs to be offset by revenue from memberships and other programs.” The community also is important in raising funds, as is diligence in managing expenses, particularly labor, Wing explains.
Another major issue for medical fitness centers is gaining and maintaining good communication with physicians and other providers who refer patients into membership or non-membership programs. Says Wing, “We have to learn and become comfortable with clinical language to be seen as a part of the healthcare continuum.”
Also, says Wing, many hospitals face charity care loads under federally mandated programs.
Diversification to offer preventive programs and create additional system revenue to offset some of these programs (such as EMTALA, which requires emergency room care for everyone regardless of their ability to pay) is critical to the overall success of many hospital fitness programs.
Finally, managing customer service at very high levels is critical to the success of any center, says Wing.