a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Ep 41: Do I Need A Medical Director for my Ultrasound Business?

Join Jennifer, in a compelling discussion on the role of medical directors in the ultrasound business industry. Listen in as she sheds light on whether your business model requires a medical director. She unpacks the essentials for eight main business models, from mobile ultrasound fee-for-service to independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs), and provides insider tips on how to secure the right medical oversight for your services. Expect to gain clarity on a question many sonographers have when starting or expanding their businesses. So, grab that cup of coffee and get ready for some exceptional insights that will help streamline your journey in the ultrasound business world.

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00:02 – Jennifer Lindsey (Host)
Hey, sonographers, grab a seat and a cup of coffee. Welcome to Ultrasound Business School. I’m your host, Jennifer Lindsey. This is Talking Tech, a Sonographer’s Guide to Entrepreneurship. Jen here, welcome into today’s episode of the podcast Medical Directors.

It’s a question on everybody’s mind when I start my business or add in additional services. Do I need a medical director or supervising physician? Those terms are usually used interchangeably. Today I want to present into the podcast a pop-up training that I’ve previously done on the medical director information for eight of the different main business models that we can provide in the ultrasound business industry. So listen up, this is going to be exceptional information for you to know, based on my business model do I need a medical director and what does that look like for me? Thank you so much for being here. It is just my pleasure to continue to give great information as you are looking to start your business or growing the business that you have. I get this question quite often “Do I need a medical director or a supervising physician?” Those terms are really interchangeable and I want to walk through kind of the main business models and talk about each of them and kind of what you need for each. So let’s get started For mobile ultrasound fee for service, where you are providing a contracted contracted services with your physician practice and the practice is the one billing insurance.

You do not need a medical director or a supervising physician. I do suggest having a radiology and or cardiology group to refer to so that you can provide a turnkey service for those doctors that aren’t reading their own studies. It’s so nice for you to be able to say, hey, we can come in and provide the service and if you don’t have someone to read, we’ve got a referral for you. That way it’s very turnkey. They don’t have to go out and find anything, it’s all right there. That is why in our advanced programs we have a vendor list with all that kind of stuff there, so you don’t have you, as the client, don’t have to go out and find everything on your own, either In a mobile IDTF and a mobile or a facility IDTF.d stands Istands I I stands for independent diagnostic testing facility and it’s the way that we would set setnon-physicians as when we are getting credentialed with insurance.

When we’re credentialed with insurance, we have to have a supervising physician. That’s how Medicare terms it, interchangeable with medical director. But you’ll see, on Medicare’s paperwork they call it a supervising physician. Now that has to be someone who can actually supervise you. It can’t be, because this is a question I get all the time. It would be so nice. You know, Jen, I got a buddy who is an internal medicine doc and would be happy to be my medical director. Well, unfortunately, they’re not able to read the types of studies you’re doing. They can’t actually supervise you because how would they know if you’re doing a good job, right? And so Medicare requires that supervising physician to have, within their scope of practice, the ability to actually supervise what you’re doing, aka be able to interpret the studies that you’re doing and making sure that quality assurance is qualitytop-notch. So usually who you would get as your medical director would be someone who could interpret the study. So a lot of times, the best first place to go is whoever is actually interpreting the studies that you’re providing.

Now, I believe physicians can only be medical directors or supervising physicians for three entities I think and so it can be a little bit difficult to find that supervising physician. But the first place I would go is looking at the group that’s going to be doing your interpretations. So we talked about mobile IDTF. If you have a facility and you’re doing all self pay, you are not actually billing insurance. You do not need a medical director. You would just need to have a radiologist and or cardiologist interpreting your diagnostic studies. We talked about the facility IDTF. Whether you’re doing mobile or a standalone facility or a hybrid of both, you would want to have. You have to have a medical director for that insurance credentialing paperwork.

Now, nursing facilities are a little bit of a hybrid because you can provide services in nursing facilities in two different ways. You can either go in just like physician practices really, but you can go in and provide the services on a contract basis where the nursing facility is just paying you directly for the services that you provide. You can also get credentialed with Medicare and any other insurances you would need to get credentialed with to provide those services in your nursing facilities. In that scenario you would need to have a supervising physician. If the nursing facility is just paying you directly as the vendor, you do not need to have a medical director. In that scenario you would just want to have a referral for the interpretations, just to create that term key service Staffing. When you’re just going in and providing the ultrasound itself, you know the facility you’re going into or the doctor’s office you’re going into has their own machine. You’re just providing the staffing. You obviously do not need any type of medical director or interpreting physicians at all to be able to provide staffing services. Usually they would have all of that set up already. It could be something that you provide as far as just a referral to interpreting doctors if they don’t already have one. But likely if you’re doing staffing services, it’s one where you’re just going in and providing those services in their practice because they don’t have a current sonographer or potentially their sonographers on leave for some reason, vacation, et cetera.

For screening services, this screening ultrasounds unless it’s the one time in a lifetime AAA screening that Medicare will pay for, you don’t need to have a supervising physician there because you’re not able to actually bill insurance. All of those screening services would be self-pay. And then for 3D4D ultrasound, same type of thing. These are elective, they’re not something we’re billing insurance for, and so you would not need to have a medical director or supervising physician because you’re not getting credentialed with insurance.

Now one caveat to the screening services and the 3D4D services. There are a few states I know Texas at one time was one of these states that requires an order for the ultrasounds. So that’s just one thing to kind of think about. If you’re in a state that requires an order, really the only way to find that out is to ask a healthcare attorney. It’s not easily like you can’t just Google that information. I wish you could make life much easier. double-checking just if you’re doing elective ultrasounds to see if they actually need an order Most states do not, but it could be a situation where that might be a requirement.

So that, in a nutshell, really as an overview, if you are not billing insurance yourself as the entity, as the mobile provider or the ultrasound provider, you do not need a medical director or supervising physician. I do suggest, however, if you don’t need a supervising physician, that you do at least have some referrals for interpretation services so that you can provide a real turnkey service to your clients. I hope that was helpful. It’s a question I get all the time and wanted to go through that kind of step by step for all of the main business models that we have available to us in the ultrasound industry. Thanks, guys. I hope you have a great rest of your day. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode. If you enjoyed the information. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode, and help us reach other sonographers by leaving us a review. We truly appreciate it and until next time I’m over here cheering you on.

your strategy-obsessed ultrasound business coach.

I'm Jennifer -

Welcome to the Talking Tech podcast, where we answer your questions about legal, marketing, admin, sales, and so much more. After nearly 20 years in the industry running our own mobile ultrasound business and helping techs across the country do the same, I'm so excited to bring you industry insight, mindset, productivity, business tips, and inspiration to help you design the business of your dreams.

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