Nathan Kaufman resigned his position as president of the centeroperating group of San Diego-based Medical Imaging Centers ofAmerica (MICA) last month to form his own health-care consultingfirm. The Kaufman Group, also of San Diego, will target clients
Nathan Kaufman resigned his position as president of the centeroperating group of San Diego-based Medical Imaging Centers ofAmerica (MICA) last month to form his own health-care consultingfirm.
The Kaufman Group, also of San Diego, will target clients amongoutpatient imaging centers, medical equipment manufacturers andhospital groups, he said.
Kaufman, who is president of the new firm, spent five yearsat MICA. During his tenure there, revenues rose from $8 millionto $40 million. The group pulled out of a multimillion-dollarloss to earn about $3 million in annual profits. Prior to joiningMICA, Kaufman worked for two major hospital chains, National MedicalEnterprises and Hospital Corporation of America.
Competition in the freestanding medical imaging center businesshas intensified over the past five years, Kaufman told SCAN. Thenumber of installed magnetic resonance imaging systems has growndramatically, while MRI exam prices are being forced down by Medicareand private, managed-care payers.
Despite these trends, centers that are structured correctlyand marketed well can make a profit, even in the highly competitiveCalifornia market, Kaufman said.
"There is an opportunity for new centers, but the markethas become a lot less forgiving," he said. "As new MRIunits continue to be installed, it is difficult to recover ifyou make a mistake. When you were one of two or three competitorsin the market, there was an opportunity to reestablish yourself."
Potentially fatal imaging center mistakes include poor equipmentchoices, lack of a customer/marketing orientation and failureto take advantage of insurance/managed-care contracts.
Preferred provider programs and other managed-care plans arerevolutionizing the way imaging centers do business. As exam pricesare forced down, patient throughput becomes the prime determinantof center profitability, he said.
"I see centers that have less than 15% of their businessfrom retail, traditional indemnity (sources). Local (insurance)payers are now key customers of imaging centers and other health-careproviders. They must be marketed to and serviced as such,"Kaufman said.
MICA will not fill Kaufman's center group president position.The imaging services company is in the midst of developing a strategicorganizational plan to deal with rapid revenue growth, accordingto chairman and CEO Antone J. Lazos.
MICA intends to improve coordination between its center andfee-for-service businesses. This may involve setting up new positionsthat cross over the two groups, he said.
"He (Kaufman) left an excellent legacy, but I don't intendto replace him," Lazos said.
Prior to joining EDAP in 1987, Reeders was director of internationaloperations for Acuson, the high-end radiology ultrasound vendor.