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Jerris Heaton

Operational and Financial Tips for Starting a Private Practice

July 18, 2022

Clinician, EHR, Office Manager 7 Minute Read

Create a sustainable business plan

An essential element to starting a medical practice can sound frightening for many first-time medical practice owners, but the key to a successful one mostly lies with the plan. Part of that plan is knowing the upfront costs, location of your practice, and your expected patients and their needs. The location specifically is of major importance, according to White Coat Investor, because it translates into how much your monthly business costs will be, such as rent, as well as salaries paid to employees.

Patients also play another important role because this will conclusively determine your salary and how your practice survives. With an idea of how often patients will come to see you, you will know the flow of money. Accurately predicting this income is extremely important because one of the earliest tasks that should be completed is obtaining the practice’s credentials for insurance companies. These credentials ensure payment for each patient.

Another essential part of your business plan is knowing what type of equipment you intend to include in your practice since some medical equipment requires state registration. Additional costs might also help you determine if you purchase or lease, and the price of maintenance.

Overall, the layout of your business is highly dependent on the finance plan. It’s a vital part of your general plan because if you intend on taking out a loan and seeking investment for the practice, you’ll need to demonstrate projected costs, according Business News Weekly.

Obtaining funding and credentialing for your practice

In your search for a loan, you should produce the final business plan, which is key to bettering your chances of receiving funding. It can either come from a private loan or a business loan.

However, be prepared for possible denials depending on your specialty or the services you plan to provide as there could be a challenge — particularly in private loans — according to Smart Biz. It’s highly recommended to thoroughly go over the terms of your loan if approved to also confirm factors like interest rates and options for collateral. Without clarity, the future of your practice could be heavily affected.

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Getting the right credentials also lends good credibility for your practice, not only for its function, but also to avoid any missing pieces. Proper credentials ease your relationship with insurance providers, and subsequently, how you get paid. Credentials help cover the safety of your practice in case of any possible lawsuits. This entire credentialing process can take time, so being on top of this in the early stages of starting your practice is essential.

Finding employees and keeping them happy

Aside from the necessary steps in introducing your practice and getting it started, you also need to have an idea of your staffing needs. Ideally, you should know what kind of staff you need and what role they will take on in your practice. A mandatory role is first hiring a manager who will handle the administrative office work, including non-managerial staff. This is the most important hire you will make for your practice and will determine how smoothly your practice runs.

Based on the amount of patient traffic you expect, knowing how many full-time or part-time roles you need and the type of benefits you can offer them is important. According to White Coat Investor, benefits can be determined by your location, but the standard offers are typically health insurance and retirement plans.

In this pre-hiring phase, your research should help you determine employee salary, which is important to have confidence in your decision when offering an employee the job. If you also want to avoid turn over, offering a great benefits package helps increase employee satisfaction and retention. According to Armada Care, less than half of employees will stay at a job that doesn’t have good benefits. In contrast, 78% of employees stay if there are decent benefits, good work hours, and flexible schedules.

Marketing your practice

Once your practice is fully operating and seeing patients, it’s essential to keep up with returning patients in hopes of retaining them and attract new ones. In this digital age, having a great online marketing plan for your practice will also help your business thrive. A key proponent to that is easily marketing your practice in simple, everyday opportunities, like your email signature, and creating a designated website for your practice, says Brighter Vision.

To better promote your practice, you can start by narrowing down who your potential visitors will be. Once you’ve determined your audience, you will have a more specific idea on where to market your practice. There are many types of marketing tactics that will benefit your practice, but you want to employ the ones that make the most sense for you.

Producing a website and blogging will make your business more accessible. Blogs can help establish your credibility, increase patient loyalty, and provide some additional information on patients’ questions. Furthermore, investing in search engine optimization best practices will ensure your practice is toward the top of search results.

Being present on social media will further widen your potential visitor list, and since you’re a fairly new practice, you might want to kick off your marketing by placing advertisements. This will help expand your reach in areas you normally would miss. While it’s not free like blogging and social media, for a new practice this is essential in drumming up new business as long as the funds allow.

Patient payment

Now for every business owner’s favorite part — payment for services! You must determine if your practice will be cash-only, take cards (or both), or are you only seeing patients that will be fully covered by their insurance?

Many insurances cover costs, while several might not cover every service. You’ll need to determine how to handle uncovered and general paid services.

Cash means you can get paid right away, but it may also turn patients away (if a visit is costly) and limit who will want to see you, says Private Practice Workshop. In that same regard, you can attract uninsured patients and be more accessible if your rates are affordable.

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Your payment plans can be hassle-free with a dedicated billing solution. An excellent billing solution facilitates every service provided. There are usually three types: closed, isolated, and open, per Accelerated Medical. Getting the right software can make or break your practice. To ensure that billing runs smoothly and efficiently, finding software for it can make that easier. You can even find a biller simply to run your billing needs.

The outsourcing of this job is also another possible option, and it will take some work off of you and your employees. After every patient is seen and provided for, you want to ensure you have a record of it and payment received for it. This process is called revenue cycle management (RCM), and it’s more detailed than regular billing. Every practice needs some sort of solution to manage revenue whether it’s in house, or outsourced.

Stay focused, stay patient

Patience is the main trait you must utilize when starting a practice. Every aspect of starting a new business can seem like a mighty task. However, with proper planning, the necessary information, and right tools, it can and will be done successfully. There are thousands of practices operating across the nation, and some that have been in business for decades. A lot of the older ones didn’t have the technological tools available today, but you have the power at your fingertips. Learn more about our software programs, and get started by chatting with our team today.

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