Case Study: Credentialing Made Simple, How One Member Made Room to Grow

Gateway Spine & Pain Physicians
Dedicated Team of Pain Specialists
Providing a healthy and productive life for patients.

Since 2007, Gateway Spine & Pain Physicians (Gateway Spine) has been on a mission to ease the suffering of those dealing with acute and chronic pain. With a team of board-certified physicians in the treatment of neck and back pain as well as many other debilitating disorders, they have earned a reputation for excellence within their community. Gateway Spine providers share a passion for learning and routinely pursue post-graduate specialty training to bring ongoing expertise to their treatment plans. Collaboration is key to their success because they approach every case as a team effort and utilize their collective experience for patients. This level of dedication has kept Gateway Spine staunchly independent and committed to retaining their autonomy of care above all else.  

Outsourcing to make room for the future

Sometimes in order to make room for future growth, an organization must make significant changes in the present. Gateway Spine knew that it had great potential for expansion but in order to do that, they had to go through a process of leaning out their operations to maximize efficiency. They were able to scale back their costs in such a way that patients were still receiving premium care for chronic pain while the practice was boosting profits. While this strategic effort prepared the business for a next phase of expansion, it made clear that outsourcing was crucial for most tasks beyond direct patient care because they need to come first. That’s where HPA came in! 

“I started working with the practice two years ago as a consultant with Doctor Hong and then came on board full-time a year later. We decided to take the practice in a more “lean and mean” direction meaning we took a deep dive into our operations to ensure we were maximizing our reimbursements and making the most of every billable hour. Part of that process was fixing some credentialing issues which led us to HPA’s services and we have never looked back. Before long, we were able to get our spreadsheet looking better than ever.”

Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine


Being part of a PHO fosters many benefits…and a few hiccups

Gateway Spine found an incredible opportunity to reach more patients within a large Chicagoland based Physician Health Organization (PHO). While there are many benefits that accompany an affiliation with a PHO, getting new providers through credentialing can be a time-consuming and tedious ordeal. Without a designated person staying on top of every phase of the process, it is remarkably easy to let something fall through the cracks and delay credentialing for months. Most small to midsized practices lack the resources to have an employee focused on this essential task full-time which can become a major headache for administrative staff.  

“There are multiple people you have to talk to repeatedly and a mountain of documents to keep track of throughout the process. This can lead to not getting answers when you need them and worse, frequent delays. For a small boutique style practice like ours we not only need answers right away, but we also need these new providers on staff as quickly as possible so we can expedite engagement with the PHO. HPA’s Credentialing Specialist, Noelle, just came in and started immediately organizing everything so we didn’t have to spend internal staffing hours on it. She was able to uncover needs we never knew we had and take care of them for us.”   
Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine 

Being independent does NOT mean staying small

The nice thing about running your own business is that you can grow as large as your leadership believes is prudent. Gateway Spine was always open to growing as long as it made sense within their office space and on their spreadsheet. Once they had streamlined their operations and were running solidly in the black for a substantial period, they took a hard look at hiring more providers for their organization. Even though adding a new physician is a huge undertaking, having a partner like HPA goes a long way to making the process a lot smoother.  

“We want to remain independent but we don’t necessarily want to stay small. We can continue to grow as long as the blueprint is in place for the number of staff we need. We need to know what our operational costs are and what that would mean from a staffing perspective. You cannot bring someone on board just assuming they’ll be successful. You have to do everything you can to make sure any new provider is a good fit for the organization and that they are set up for success on day one. Having people like Noelle who we can enlist at a moment’s notice to make our lives easier really helps to minimize common growing pains.” 
Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine 

Growing smarter, not harder

“In my previous practice, I used to hear how they expected to lose money the first year after hiring a new provider. That never made sense to me. Why would you even bother to hire somebody knowing that? For one, there is no guarantee that doctor will stay long enough to see a profit again. Even with contracts and non-competes in place, providers know those aren’t always easy to follow through with in a private independent practice. Secondly, we are a business that needs revenue to pay for salaries and keep the lights on. So, the question is why would you settle for anything less than profitability? Instead of just capitulating to inevitable losses, it is better to get that new provider treating patients as soon as possible. To do that, we need our staff focused on handling more volume and having someone like Noelle to get our new provider through the credentialing process in record time is essential.”

Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine

Every private practice knows the challenges associated with growth and often just factor in losses knowing that they will be pushing their staff capabilities to the limits with all the additional work. Gateway Spine understands that giving good staff members more to do just so you might do better next year isn’t fair to anyone. That is a recipe for losing good people and having a bigger staffing headache on your hands when they move on. If you want to keep your team happy during major transitions like adding a new provider, outsourcing with a trusted partner like HPA is the easiest way to do that.  

A little trust goes a LONG way

When you first choose a healthcare service provider like HPA, you never really know what you’re going to get until you start working with them. Even a company with the most stellar reputation can let you down so you must pay special attention to their performance right from the start. For Gateway Spine, Noelle was able to build trust quickly by showing the kind of work ethic and follow-through that usually only comes with an internal paycheck and benefit package. Her attention to detail, regular updates and speedy credentialing results have helped them stay on target with their goals and they have been beyond impressed.  

“Working with a new vendor can be nerve racking initially because you feel like you have to keep them on a tight leash until you can trust them. With Noelle, we saw right away the level of work she was doing and before we knew it, we could let the leash go and really focus on our practice. Now we don’t just have a contractor working for us, we have a trusted partner who we know we can count on to get the job done exactly the way we would do it ourselves. To have people like that fighting for your practice as much as you do really means everything.” 
Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine 

Saving time and money means staying independent

“There is no question, Noelle’s hard work has saved us time and money. Not to mention, moving forward it will make us money because we have the updated credentials in every single system along with having our new providers through credentialing much faster than we could do it in-house. So, I can’t say enough good things about HPA’s Credentialing Services. I can’t say enough good things about Noelle’s organization and work ethic. And I can’t say enough about how she made us feel like she was one of our own rather than part of an outside company. That means the world to a practice of our size and gives us a massive advantage for maintaining our independence. 
Todd Mensik; Director of Operations, Gateway Spine 

Independent practices need all the help they can get to stay prosperous in a changing medical environment. By leaning out their operation, Gateway Spine was able to reduce their labor expenses as a percentage of revenue by 20%. After joining HPA and accessing their best-in-class services, those same expenses were reduced by an additional 22%. That kind of savings can go a long way towards remaining independent. Many physicians and dentists have opted to sell to consolidation firms, thinking it will make their lives easier. Instead, doctors find that they work longer hours with less autonomy over the care of their patients, AND they often make less money. So how can a private practice compete when so much corporate money is being poured into consolidation? Outsourcing services like credentialing as an HPA member is a great place to start because there is no more efficient way to make the most of every patient visit.