Similarly, launching a Workers’ Compensation in-house drug-dispensing program can garner as much as a 50% to 70% profit. “The average patient with pain receives 4 prescriptions, which generates considerable ongoing revenue potential,” he said.

Becoming a medication-dispensing vendor entails providing patients with prepackaged prescriptions with set amounts of medication, credentialing the practice with key insurers, purchasing software to process payments, and overseeing inventory.

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Since the medication is prepackaged, it is not necessary to hire a pharmacist. A trained staff member is responsible for selecting the correct medication packet, printing and affixing a label, and distributing the packet to the patient. Little more is needed than a separate printer, a bar code scanner, and a locked cabinet with an additional lockbox for controlled substances; this keeps the start-up capital minimal.

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“This service is convenient for patients and may improve patient care because they are more likely to be compliant with treatment if it is made available immediately,” Dr. Florete said.  

Other types of ancillary services that pain management providers can consider include durable medical equipment programs, diagnostic testing, clinical research programs, ambulatory surgery centers, and compounding pharmacy programs.

Laws Governing the Provision of Ancillary Medical Services

In addition to the service-specific caveats previously mentioned, Dr. Florete advised that clinicians must also be aware of several federal and state laws.

The Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) prohibits providers of services or goods covered by a federal healthcare program from knowingly and willingly soliciting or receiving or providing any remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce either the referral of an individual, or furnishing or arranging for a good or service for which payment may be made under a federal healthcare program.  These include the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE programs.1