Saving On Merchant Services Costs Can Improve Your Bottom Line

In recent years, ambulatory surgery centers have played a transformative role in the outpatient care experience. With over 6,000 centers currently in operation throughout the United States, ambulatory surgery centers are quickly becoming the preferred alternative to inpatient surgical procedures.

The continued success of the average ASC depends not only on the level of care it provides to its patients, but also its ability to remain profitable by controlling costs, especially in areas that seem insignificant. Payment processing is one area that’s constantly overlooked by administrators seeking reductions in operating costs.

How Much are Credit Cards Costing Your Business?

Merchant services providers are the indispensable middle man between ASC management that accept credit card payments and patients who use them. Each time an ASC accepts a credit card, debit card or electronic check payment, the merchant service providers charge various fees for processing those payments. Unfortunately, there can be numerous fees tied to credit card transactions and the fee structures themselves are often unnecessarily complex.

These fees are often broken down into fixed fees (such as interchange rates and fees) and variable fees (such as merchant service fees and service charges). Whereas the former may prove difficult to negotiate with payment processors, the latter often proves surprisingly flexible. This is where you can possibly improve your ASC’s bottom line by negotiating a revamped structure with more favorable fees.

What About Charge Cards?

It’s a common belief that charge card payments are often more expensive for businesses to have processed than ordinary credit and debit cards, which is why many businesses often refuse to accept them. At one point, charge card transaction fees were double the average cost for a typical credit card.

While acceptance fees for charge cards are still slightly higher than average when compared to common credit and debit cards, today’s charge card companies are more flexible when it comes to setting their rates. Merchant services providers also have more leeway in setting charge card rates, making it possible for smaller ASCs to negotiate more favorable rates. Depending on the size of your ASC, charge card transaction fees can be competitive when compared to other major credit cards.

Changing Processes to Avoid Extra Fees

It may not be just the fees themselves that are robbing your ASC of additional revenue. Additional fees are often incurred for organizational habits and mistakes that could easily be avoided:

  • Some payment methods require an address and zip code in order to receive the lowest possible fees. If your point of sale system (whether online or on-site) isn’t set up to collect this information, you may find your company needlessly paying additional fees.
  • Multiple card swipes can trigger additional fees, in many cases. Using reliable card swiping equipment can help reduce multiple card swipe instances and, in turn, reduce costs related to fees in this area.
  • Inputting credit card information instead of swiping the card could also trigger additional fees. In addition to negotiating a more favorable fee structure with merchant services providers, those tasked with initiating payment transactions should also be aware of potential cost-saving actions they could perform to prevent unnecessary expenses.

Keeping Things Current

Another area of unintentional waste involves the validity of merchant services contracts. Contracts do expire and when they do, merchant services providers can easily modify them to include disadvantageous changes in the current fee structure.

It’s crucial to stay on top on your current merchant services contract, as well as any ongoing changes in the fee structure. If you’re nearing the end of your contract, be prepared to negotiate for better terms or consider a more affordable payment processor.

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Oozing With Osteo Pain? Natural Pain Relievers For Your Osteoarthritis

Slight aches and pain are common while you age, but a constant discomfort in your joints may be a form of arthritis. While traditional arthritis affects your joints and cartilage, osteoarthritis causes severe damage to your joints and surrounding cartilage over time. Affecting an estimated 25 million Americans, osteoarthritis creates discomfort and intense pain that may require prescription medications for relief. Thankfully, using this guide, you will better understand osteoarthritis and learn how to naturally treat your pain.

The Lowdown on Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects your joints, but this wear and tear can quickly weaken the surrounding cartilage. This is not only painful to your joints, but also to nearby bones and muscles. Although pain is the most common sign of any type of arthritis, osteoarthritis can create other signs including the following:

  • Weakness/Fatigue – The condition causes muscles to weaken drastically. In addition, patients with osteoarthritis pain have trouble sleeping at night, leading to sleepiness and fatigue during the day.
  • Stiffness – Joints become stiff and hard to move. You may have trouble getting up from a chair or out of bed each morning. Unfortunately, this stiffness may decrease your mobility.
  • Swelling – You may notice swelling around your knees, fingers, wrists, elbows, or ankles. In severe cases, joints may appear deformed due to the enormous amount of swelling.
  • Clicking/Popping – Joint stiffness may cause a noticeable clicking or popping when moving positions.

Natural Pain Relief Options for Osteoarthritis

After a diagnosis, your doctor will most likely recommend ibuprofen for pain relief. Unfortunately, ibuprofen does not offer long term relief for your discomfort.  You may experience ongoing pain, so finding safe, long term pain relief is wise. Fortunately, many natural pain relief options are available for your osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture

Placing needles in your skin may not seem like the best option for treating pain, but the therapy stimulates the body, sending pleasant signals to the brain. This releases positive energy, which can improve your overall health and decrease pain. Used in ancient China as a form of treatment for many illnesses and disorders, acupuncture is also an effective way to relieve joint pain.

In a typical treatment, acupuncturists will place 5 to 15 needles into various points of your body. Known as acupoints, these points on the skin represent the areas of your health that need improvement.

Consult your physician before undergoing acupuncture, but the natural treatment is safe and successful for most patients. Go to websites to get more information from professionals.

Physical Therapy/Exercise

Developing an exercise plan with a physical therapist can also decrease your osteoarthritis pain. Stretches, weight training, walking and jogging, and swimming can strengthen your weakened joints and muscles while decreasing your overall pain.

Physical therapy is great for building strength and losing weight, but it can also reduce the risk of further damage to your joints and cartilage.

Diet and Supplements

Following a healthy diet is smart if you are suffering with any type of medical condition. However, a healthy diet improves and protects your weakened joints, cartilage, and muscle. If you are currently exercising and treating your osteoarthritis, consider adding the following supplements to your daily diet:

  • Glucosamine – 1,500 mg of glucosamine each day can reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Fish Oil – The Omega-3 fatty acids in a fish oil supplement will decrease the inflammation in and around your joints.
  • SAM-e – Also known as S-adenosylmethionine, Sam-e is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory, which reduces pain. In addition, Same-e can heal damaged cartilage.

Osteoarthritis does not have to be a terribly painful, frightening, or overwhelming condition. While medications are available to lessen your pain, natural options are healthier alternatives. Using this guide, you can understand and naturally treat your osteoarthritis.

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When Your Child Is A Worrywart: Types Of Anxiety That Affect Children

Some children, just like adults, can suffer from intense anxiety– to the point that it hinders them from fully living their lives. While some stress and anxiety is normal for all people, anxiety disorders occur when kids can’t seem to function or control their stress levels. Are you wondering if you child might be suffering from anxiety problems? Learning about the symptoms and types will let you know if you should be seeking therapy for your child.

Anxiety and stress show themselves differently in different people. Your child can be susceptible any of the following manifestations:

1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is commonly associated with veterans returning from the war, but it can actually affect anyone after a traumatic experience. For example, children may struggle with post traumatic stress disorder after the death of a parent, suffering from abuse, a bad bullying episode, or even a bad car accident. Symptoms of this disorder include:

  • fear that is localized to a specific event. Your child may not tell you the root of their anxiety (they may not know themselves), but their anxiety will generally be focused to a specific thing. For example, if they were in a car accident, they may show anxiety when you are driving,\ or when getting into a vehicle. 
  • nightmares. Kids often relive traumatic events as flashbacks and will suffer sleep disturbances because of it.
  • paranoia. Children may show aversions to being with specific people or worry that the same bad thing will happen to them again, making them extra careful in developing protective habits.

2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

When stress is not triggered by a certain event or problem, and your child seems to worry about everything, general anxiety is most likely the culprit. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • excessive worry about regular life events, like going to school, riding the bus, taking a test, or going to the doctor. 
  • anxiety over the health and safety of family members and friends when everyone is healthy
  • imagining hypothetical scenarios where people get hurt or bad things happen, and allowing those to influence decisions about the future
  • stomach aches, headaches, and other physical manifestations that are associated with dread.

3. Social Anxiety Or Phobia

Children can struggle with social anxiety, where the stress is localized to being in large groups of people or speaking out loud in a group. This disorder goes beyond shyness or introversion. You should not worry if your child is quiet. You, however, should be concerned if your child refuses to speak in public (mutism) and if they suffer from symptoms of stress when meeting new people, like worrying that they always say the wrong thing and that everyone is thinking that he or she is stupid. 

4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Children with OCD struggle with anxiety when they are not able to follow through on certain compulsions. These are different with each individual, but if your child must do something over and over again to try make themselves worry less, this is a sign that they are struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder. Common compulsions include washing hands, rechecking things over and over, or hiding certain colors from view.

As you can see, anxiety is found in many different forms, and all of the them can be harmful to your child’s development. If you notice some of the above behaviors, it’s important to seek therapy for from a licensed counselor at a place like Living Hope Clinic so that your child can begin to tackle some of the root causes of anxiety. For some children, this will mean facing the reality of a traumatic event; for others, it will mean practicing the things that cause anxiety, like speaking in front of others. Either way, your child will have the chance to really be a child again. 

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3 Options For Mole Removal

Moles on your skin can be a great annoyance. They may be unsightly, or they may be uncomfortable if they’re located in a site where they rub against your clothes or your jewelry. It’s no surprise many people opt to have them removed. The question is which mole removal method you want to go with. You have several different options for removal either in a doctor’s office or in your home by yourself. Take a look at some of the facts about different methods of mole removal, so you can decide which method is right for you.

In a Doctor’s Office

Before you have any mole bothering you removed, it’s not a bad idea to let a doctor take a look at it. In some cases, moles can be a warning sign of skin cancer. The guidelines for determining whether or not a mole deserves a closer look are the ABCDEs. A is for asymmetrical, B is for uneven borders, C is for moles that contain different colors, D is for a diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and E for an evolving or changing mole, or changing. Moles meeting any of these guidelines should be screened for cancer.

If your doctor determines your mole is not dangerous, they can remove it for you right there in the office. A doctor can shave your mole off with a scalpel after applying a local anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain. Or, if you would rather not go under the knife, your doctor may suggest laser treatments or cryosurgery. Laser treatment burns the mole away, and it can take several sessions to completely destroy it. Cryosurgery involves applying liquid nitrogen to the mole and freezing it off – this is one of the fastest methods of mole removal.

At Home With A Kit

If having a doctor remove your mole is not an option, then an over-the-counter mole removal kit might be right for you. A kit is often a good idea for someone who’s afraid of needles, scalpels, and any kind of surgery. They’re also less expensive than surgery. So, if you know your mole is not cancerous, proceeding with a kit might be the next best thing.

Usually, the kits come with a tube of cream and a set of instructions. You may be instructed to lightly scratch the surface of the mole before applying the cream. This allows the medicated cream to enter the mole through the scratch. The result is the chemicals in the cream cause a scab to form underneath the mole. Eventually, the scab will dry up and fall off, taking your mole with it.

At Home With Home Remedies

There are a number of different natural home remedies you can try. Many involve ingredients you probably already have in your house. One commonly recommended method is the apple cider vinegar method. For this, you need cotton balls, petroleum jelly, bandages, and of course, vinegar. Apply petroleum jelly to the skin around the mole – this will help protect it from the acid in the vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, apply it to the mole, and hold the cotton in place with a bandage. Do this three times a day until the mole starts to flake, dry up, and eventually falls off.

Another method involves crushing fresh garlic into a paste and applying it to the mole, the same way you would apply the vinegar. Banana peels, tea tree oil, and mixtures of pineapple juice and sea salt have all been touted to have similar mole-removing effects.

Keep in mind there’s no rule saying you have to remove a mole if you don’t want to, though you should have any suspicious mole checked for cancer. If you do want your mole removed, you have several professional and DIY mole removal methods available.

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4 Reasons EHR Software Can Benefit Both Patient And Chiropractor

With technology increasing exponentially every year, healthcare providers have to keep up with trends in order to stay competitive. One of the benefits of modern technology is the fact that nearly everything can be done with the click of a button. The healthcare industry has made strides towards achieving this by introducing EHR (electronic health records) software that allows patients to track their overall health and treatment progress in real time. This has four major advantages for both practitioner and patient:

It Allows Open Discussions

One of the main advantages of EHR software for chiropractors is that is allows open discussion between chiropractors and their patients. As patients’ knowledge of the software increases, they are able to interrogate the data that exists on it and raise any queries with their practitioner. If they are unable to comprehend something, they can question the chiropractor in order to gain a more thorough understanding.

Additionally, patients can consolidate previous diagnoses in order to build up a mental image of their health and how their progress is going. Overall, the use of EHR software in chiropractic clinics encourages a much more open and honest relationship between the patient and practitioner.

It Increases Appointment Efficiency

Efficiency of scheduled appointments can be improved in two ways by using EHR. Firstly, it allows patients to schedule their appointments very easily and without the need for phone calls and consultations. Patients can use the software to quickly reschedule appointments, and because the software keeps track of their meetings, there is much less risk of patients no-showing at the chiropractic clinic. This increases efficiency as it allows chiropractors to spend their time doing what they are trained to do—treating patients.

Secondly, EHR increases efficiency as it allows patients to review their records at home following a consultation. As mentioned above, patients can review their record which gives them a much deeper understanding of their health and treatment. As such, when they arrive at the clinic they are fully aware of what is being done and why particular treatments are necessary for their condition. This means that chiropractors spend less time reviewing appointment notes and can spend the entire session focusing on healing their patient’s spine, increasing efficiency for the practitioner, and ensuring a return on investment for the patient.

It Increases Accessibility for Disabled Patients

One of the often overlooked benefits of EHR use in chiropractic offices is its ability to increase accessibility for patients with particular disabilities. Using EHR can massively benefit a patient with visual impairments who may not be able to read paper records given to them by their healthcare provider. However, modern technology has brought with it a number of assistive reading aids that help patients with visual impairments understand data on the screen.

Along with EHR, these aids can allow patients with visual impairments to regularly check and analyze data that is kept on record about them. Efforts are being made to open up EHR accessibility to a much wider section of the public, ensuring medical records are readily available to an otherwise secluded audience. 

It Helps Reinforce Positive Health Choices

One of the main reasons people ignore making positive health choices – such as stopping smoking or eating healthy—is because they don’t fully understand the consequences of bad choices on their well-being. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a common frame of mind for many patients, and not keeping track of their health records reinforces this behavior.

With EHR however, the accessibility offered can help reinforce positive behaviors in chiropractic patients. Whether this is adopting correct posture, sleeping on a suitable mattress or regularly stretching their spinal column, patients are able to see the consequence of their choices in real time. As such, they are more likely to continue with good choices and bring a stop to bad ones. 

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The Beginner Guide To Using Virtual Fitness Classes To Exercise Without Embarrassment

Is fear of the gym keeping you from starting a regular exercise routine? You’re not alone. Many people never even set foot inside the gym because they’re afraid of being judged, falling off of a treadmill, or being displeased with their reflections in the big gym mirrors. Instead, they stay home, becoming less fit every day. Thankfully, there is a solution that will allow you to improve your fitness without ever having to set foot in a gym. That solution is virtual fitness classes.

Virtual fitness classes have many benefits for beginner exercisers. Unlike classes at the gym, they make it easy for you to go at your own pace and not feel pressured to impress others. They allow you to work out wearing whatever you like, without worrying about someone else judging your sense of style.

You can do just half of a class when you’re short on time without the embarrassment that comes with sneaking out of a gym class early. Yes, virtual fitness classes are truly a great choice for beginner exercisers. Here are a few tips to help you use them as effectively as possible.

Tip #1: Set a time to exercise every day.

One of the challenges of working out at home is that since you can do it whenever you want, you might tend to put it off until later and later, until eventually it is time to go to bed, and you haven’t worked out. You’ll have an easier time sticking to your workout routine if you choose a time of day, and make yourself work out then.

If you have an irregular work schedule and other obligations, this does not necessarily have to be the same time every day. For example, you could exercise at 6:30 am on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and at 8:00 am on Thursday and Sunday. The idea is to set a schedule for yourself, and stick to it.

Tip #2: Try several different virtual workouts before settling on the ones you’ll do regularly.

One of the advantages of virtual fitness is that you can try as many classes as you like. If you get five minutes into one and decide it’s not right for you, leave it behind and try a new one. You’ll have an easier time getting motivated to workout when you stick with classes you love.

Don’t restrict yourself to one kind of class, though. Working different types of classes into your routine helps you achieve well-rounded fitness. For example, you could do yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays, and kickboxing on Thursdays and Sundays.

Tip #3: Tell your friends about your new passion for virtual workout classes.

One downfall of working out virtually rather than going to the gym is that it can be socially isolating. You don’t have a friend there urging you on or rooting for you like you might if you worked out at the gym. Don’t despair — it’s easy to get support from your friends, even when working out from home.

Consider sharing your workouts on social media. All of the “likes” you get will keep you moving forward. Talk to your friends about the videos you enjoy. Perhaps they have tried the same ones and have some advice for success, or maybe they’ll suggest similar ones you’ll also like.

If you want to improve your health and achieve a fitter, leaner look, then you have to start working out today. Virtual classes offer many advantages over the gym for beginners who are afraid of judgement or looking silly.

You can tailor the programs to meet your needs, forget about people staring, and exercise in the comfort of your own living room. Follow the tips above, and your workout routine will stick. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be confident to visit the gym or go running with your friends.

Check out sites like xmovo.com for more information and to get started.

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How To Naturally Keep Your Teeth White Between Professional Bleaching Sessions

Whether you love coffee or wine, enjoy eating berries often, or have to take medication on a regular basis, the stains that result are easy to overcome with the help of professional bleaching sessions. But between dental visits, you’ll want to keep those stains from aggressively rebuilding. Here are a few natural ways to keep your teeth white between your professional treatments:

Make Your Own Mouthwash

Leave those store-bought mouthwash concoctions on the shelf, and save yourself some money by making your own concoction at home that works to freshen up your breath and whiten your teeth. With the help of hydrogen peroxide, this bright lemony mouthwash is sure to be a treat for your taste buds. Here’s what you need to make a batch:

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice or ½ tsp stevia (optional – for sweetness)

Simply put all of the ingredients in a reusable container that has a lid, seal the container, and shake vigorously for a few seconds. When you’re ready to use it, take a sip of the mouthwash and swish as you would with a commercial option. Spit and brush as usual.

Upgrade Your Toothpaste

Add some extra whitening power to your toothpaste by mixing a little baking soda into it before you brush. The baking soda gently scrubs away stains and slows down the staining process. Just put a squirt of toothpaste into a small bowl and add half a teaspoon of baking soda. Stir the paste with a spoon, then wet your toothbrush and dip it into the paste before brushing like you normally do. If you prefer to make your own toothpaste from scratch, just mix the baking soda with a little lemon or orange juice and stir for a few seconds until well combined and creamy.

Enjoy a Cider Drink Often

Because apple cider vinegar is an astringent, it works to lighten tooth stains and kill bacteria in the mouth. You can gargle with apple cider vinegar, or rub it directly on your teeth once in awhile as a brightening agent. But a tastier way to make apple cider vinegar work for you is to enjoy it in a fresh drink a few times a week. Refresh yourself with a cold glass of ice water mixed with a tablespoon each of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, or blend a few tablespoons of the vinegar with a couple of bananas and some ice for a frothy afternoon treat.

Chew on the Right Snacks

Believe it or not, you can keep your teeth white between professional bleaching sessions by doing nothing more than chewing the right snacks throughout the day. Common produce is the name of the game when you want to brighten your smile. Here are a few effective options to consider:

  • Strawberries – The astringents whiten and Vitamin C clears plaque away. Throw berries in a smoothie, juice them, or eat them as-is.
  • Apples – these crunchy fruits act like a toothbrush by scrubbing away plaque and removing stains as you eat them.
  • Raisins – When raisins are chewed, saliva creation is induced, which works like mouthwash and naturally rinses away plaque.

Keep these nutritious snacks on hand by storing separate servings in sealable plastic bags for easy storage. Keep raisins in the glove box of your vehicle, store fresh apples on your desk at work, and put a batch of berries in your fridge for instant snacking when the mood strikes.

These tips and tricks are easy to incorporate, and will keep your mouth feeling fresh, clean, and sparkling when they are used on a regular basis. 

For more information and tips, contact an experienced dentist like David Jackson, DDS.

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