Practice start up is an investment for success
You went to medical school to learn practice medicine, not run a business. Practice start up is costly and time consuming; however, successful practices consider the start up as an investment, because the practice continues to grow.
1. Write a business plan and secure financing for your practice start up. Consult with experienced physicians who have succeeded with their own practice and decide whether you would like to be a sole proprietor or form a group practice by going into business with another physician.
2. Create a business name. Search federal and state databases to be sure it’s not being used by another business.
3. Apply for a Federal Tax ID#. Your federal tax ID# is like a social security number for your business. It identifies taxpayer information and is needed to bill insurance companies.
4. Register the practice in your state. Running a practice is running a business, and you will need a business license.
5. Purchase or lease office space for your practice. Target a location that appeals to and is convenient for patients. Consider new developments in anticipation of practice growth. Also, choose a building or office space that accommodates the flow of traffic from the waiting room through the examination.
6. Purchase liability insurance.
7. Apply for a National Provider Identification (NPI) number. NPI numbers are universal and each provider is assigned a unique identification number for billing and credentialing purposes. If you are already practicing medicine, chances are you already have one.
8. Photocopy important information such as your medical license, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and state narcotics certificates.
9. Write your resume. Although you are in business for yourself, insurance companies will conduct a thorough background check to make sure you really are a doctor and need to know where you studied medicine, where you have practiced and will ask for professional references. Having an up to date curriculum vitae will save you time in the end.
10. Contract with insurance companies as a participating provider. Submit your credentialing application to them and attach copies of the required documents. Once you are approved, ask to be listed in their network directory as a participating provider who is accepting new patients. Remember that contracting with health plans can take many months and it is recommended that providers begin the credentialing process early on.
11. Hire medical office staff. Interview medical assistants, billing and collection specialists, and experienced office managers. Contract with a third party administrator if you will not be processing claims on site.
12. Market your practice. Advertise your services and consider creating a website to attract new patients.