Opening a new healthcare practice can be immensely rewarding, but it can also be stressful. It takes a lot of planning to get a new clinic up and running efficiently and practitioners have to make a lot of important decisions before opening their healthcare practices. Read on to find out about five of the most important things to consider prior to opening day.
Equipment and Supplies
Every healthcare practice needs to be well supplied. Purchase high-quality medical equipment and buy basic supplies like gloves and bandages in bulk to take advantage of discounts. Depending on their focus, some practices will need more specialized equipment than others.
All practices will need ADA accessible exam tables, vital signs monitors, diagnostic equipment, exam lights, sharps containers and proper trash receptacles, and basic supplies like hand sanitizer and gloves. When purchasing equipment, don’t forget about things like mobile carts, computer stands, and janitorial equipment.
Licensing and Credentials
The clinic and all healthcare providers working in it will have to be properly licensed and credentialed by insurers and hospitals. The clinic will need a state medical license, a DEA license, and a state narcotics license, and insurance companies will want to review provider enrollment and credentialing applications in advance. Start this phase of planning at least three to six months before the clinic’s expected opening date.
There are a few kinds of insurance coverage that should be considered essential for medical practices. They include malpractice insurance, group health and dental insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and liability insurance. Some clinics also purchase disability coverage and employee fidelity bond coverage.
Have a solid plan in place for financing the clinic prior to opening and prepare a personal financial statement and cash flow projection. Most new healthcare practices have to take out loans. Do plenty of research and find the right lender and don’t be afraid to hire an accountant in advance to help keep the new clinic’s finances in order.
Prepare to take patient payments. This requires developing a fee schedule, establishing a filing system, and hiring a medical biller. Most healthcare practices also select collection agencies to work with in advance.
Automated systems make it easier for everyone in the practice to do his or her job. Before choosing what software and hardware systems to buy, define the clinic’s expected requirements and do some research into qualified vendors. It’s always best to purchase software customized for medical practices.
Have the computers and software set up before the clinic opens and provide training for the employees on how to use it? Most clinics need, at a minimum, billing software, health record software, and a practice management system. All administrative staff should know how to use the software and should be provided with the support they need to implement the clinic’s electronic protocols.
The Bottom Line
Opening a new healthcare practice takes a good deal of preparation. Details like what kind of equipment practitioners will have access to, whether it will provide specialty care, and how much experience administrative and skilled nursing staff has prior to being hired can all contribute to a new clinic’s success or failure.
Don’t be afraid to contact specialists for help. Consider hiring a business consultant who has experience working with clinicians operating independent practices and doesn’t balk at consulting an accountant to make sure the clinic’s financial plan is sound. Seemingly small details can make a huge difference.