Many healthcare providers dream of opening their own medical clinics. Owners of medical practices benefit the health of others and earn good incomes simultaneously. However, the process of starting your own medical clinic takes time. More so, it involves several crucial steps. Here are some essential tips to help get you start your own medical clinic.
The first step to learning how to start a medical practice involves finances. Similar to other startups, you need to obtain financing to start a healthcare clinic. That can seem daunting, particularly if you’re still dealing with loans from your medical school days, but you might be surprised at how doable it is to acquire financing.
The key to obtaining the funding you need on terms that will be quite reasonable to you is to first come up with a pro forma, a document that spells out what your expected revenue will be as well as your costs.
Remember, you’ll need to buy equipment and supplies, including such all-important supplies as medical linens, medical gloves, and other commonly-used, indispensable items for medical practice. You will have to be fairly detailed in terms of what you expect your needs will be, and you will want to have a realistic assessment of what your revenue will be – but the good news is that once you have that, you will be in a quite solid position to get financing. It is quite common to obtain financing through a typical bank loan, but make sure you go through the medical/dental wing of the bank.
Complete The Credentialing Process
Once you have your loan for your business, you will need to complete a process called credentialing. You need to take this step before you can accept either government or private health insurance plans from your patients. This process may take several months overall, and insurers will have numerous questions.
In particular, insurers will want to make sure you have proper medical education, have completed residency, and have your license. They will also want to make sure you have your insurance for malpractice – and although not all states require this, it is generally a good idea so you can protect your own personal assets in the event you are the target of a lawsuit by a patient.
Choose A Legal Structure
The legal structure of your business also matters a great deal, since it determines everything from taxation to personal liability. S corporations are common. They allow practitioners to only pay income tax on their own personal income. The contrast is with C corporations. These entity types tax at the level of the corporation as well as the personal income. This is not a decision to be made lightly or easily. Thus, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to help you decide. Attorneys also assist entrepreneurs in drafting the documents.
Acquire Necessary Licensing
This one may go without saying, but there are both federal and state requirements for licensing, and they will of course vary to a considerable degree from medical specialty to specialty. You’ll need a national provider identifier number, and you will need to go through your state’s medical board to get your license to practice. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issues DEA numbers to practitioners to allow them to prescribe medication.
Purchase Equipment And Hire Staff
With the money from your loan, you will want to start putting together the necessary supplies and hiring the necessary people for your practice. There is far too much to cover here in any depth. However, there are a few essential things for any medical business.
First, you will want an electronic health record (EHR) system to digitize all of your patients’ medical records and ensure communication is as seamless as possible. These systems are increasingly universal. There is no sense in starting a practice without one. A good electronic health record system will serve as a means of storing medical records and medical histories. An electronic health record system also manages all communications between you and other providers. Store all orders for prescriptions and lab work, and pertinent information for your revenue cycle in this system as well.
A practice management system is another essential item you will need. These systems are integrated with electronic health record systems, and serve to help manage information about the front office and operations, particularly billing.
You may also want a medical billing service to assume some of the functions that would otherwise be covered by your practice management system. And as you hire people, you will want to hire a background check service provider to ensure that they are who they say they are and have no disqualifiers.
Opening Your Practice
When you’ve obtained everything you need in terms of materials, credentialing, licensing, and insurance, you will want to ensure you have policies in place to make sure that everyone in your clinic follows the law and good medical ethics. You will need to periodically review and update these policies as laws and best practices in medicine change.
Setting up your own clinic is not an easy thing, but with time, effort, and careful planning you can make it a reality. Follow the tips provided here, and you’ll be well on your way.