Over the years, we have helped and come across numerous providers that have ventured on their journey’s of opening a private medical office or transitioning their medical office back into the private practice domain. In our assessment of providers opening a medical office, we find that many emotions cycle through each process, each provider faces different challenges, and careful consideration, planning and patience are the most important factors in what contributes to the success of the provider and medical office. Therefore, after receiving numerous request on the topic, we decided to put together a “Battle-Plan” on how to start your own medical office.
1. Create a Business Plan and Obtain Financing
Develop a business plan or pro forma with revenue and debt projections that project at least three to five years into the future. This is essential to obtain a loan or open a line of credit.
Things to include in your business plan are:
- The organizational structure of your office
- Your marketing strategy
- Your financial forecast of projected income, expenses, etc.
2. Plan to Open (The smart way)
We often see this step overlooked or anticipated poorly, so we can’t stress the importance of having everything in place before jumping the gun and opening too soon. Depending on where you are in your process, we recommend to give yourself at least 6-12 months to open a medical office. There are numerous factors that must be taken in consideration months in advance.
- Incorporate as a legal entity and obtain a tax ID.
- Credential with payers (This is highlighted in red to showcase how important this step is. You should give yourself as long as 4-6 months before opening to ensure that all of your credentialing and contracting processes are completed. Remember that credentialing can take a while and depends on the pace at which other organizations operate)
- Establish your financial policy and compliance documents
- Cover yourself with malpractice insurance
- Determine your location, medical equipment needs, office furniture, and other supplies
- Begin implementing your marketing strategy from your business plan
3. Decide on an EHR and Practice Management System
An electronic health record system (HER) and/or practice management system is what you will need to operate your medical office in its transactional and functional domain. Things like storing patient records, scheduling appointments, running revenue cycle management reports, managing labs and orders, etc. will all come from utilizing an EHR/practice management system.
It’s important to factor in the cost of the system, but be sure to not make cost the only deciding factor. Make sure that the system complements your specialty and can provide the essential functions and tools that you need to match your medical office. We highly recommend choosing an all-inclusive EHR system that will serve as a one-size fits all option.
4. Hiring Office Staff and/or a Medical Billing Company
Consult the organizational structure section of your business plan to see which positions you will need to have upon open date. When just starting, it is good to look at which essential positions you need and secure those positions first. Weigh the pros and cons of each position and their impact on your office. Come back to non-essential positions later once your office picks up steam and you begin to come into the green.
Our essential “open-date” positions are:
- Practice Manager
- Front Desk
- Triage Nurse
- Choose either between a Billing/ Coding Specialist or Medical Billing Company (In some cases, both are needed)
As part of our consulting services, RelianceMM offers an analysis of your medical office aspirations and can help guide you through the process.
If you need help with opening a medical office, credentialing with payers, or future billing services, give us a call. Have that peace of mind you deserve by knowing your medical billing is being handled by professionals who get the job done correctly.
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