Types of Ancillaries

Ancillaries may be defined differently depending on the context. A quick Internet search provides each of the following definitions:

  • Ancillary services are medical services provided in a hospital while a patient is inpatient.
  • Ancillary services are medical services or supplies that are not provided by acute care hospitals, doctors or health care professionals.
  • Ancillary services are diagnostic or supportive measures that physicians may use to help treat patients.

The above definitions show that defining what is an ancillary service can be tricky. To be clear, let’s define ancillaries as any additional services. This accounts for most of the clinical situations providers will be considering and can be retroactively applied to products and services that providers have already added to their clinic. Most providers start out with their core services and then grow from there. Ancillaries are any additional services to a provider’s core service.

Additional services is a broad term that can be further defined by the relationship to the provider’s core services to identify three types of ancillaries.

Additional services are services that are an extension of a provider’s core services. Additional services are typical and therefore somewhat expected for the provider’s core business. Phlebotomy services are an example of additional services for a primary care office.

Adjunct services are related to existing services. They are not typical, but not unexpected. Supplement sales in provider offices are an example of an adjunct services. Most provider offices do not sell supplements, but patients may not be surprised by providers who do sell supplements.

Unrelated services are separate from existing services. They are not typical and not expected. Unrelated services often make sense on a case by case basis. A practice that has a staff member trained in muscle testing may offer those services to patients even though those services are not typical or related to their core services.

Ancillaries can be further categorized based on their criteria and investment costs, but these three definitions of ancillaries help to identify opportunities for ancillary services. Note that as the provider’s core services change, the relationship of ancillaries also change. Selling supplements might be considered an unrelated service for a traditional provider but an additional service for an integrative provider.