When starting a medical practice, the general thought process is probably that the hard part is behind you. Going to school for medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, etc. is a difficult process. Attaining your degree in your chosen medical field does not necessarily give you all the tools to start up your own practice, however. Several steps are needed to get up and run when starting out in private practice or with other professionals.
1. Secure Funds
If you are lucky enough to have sufficient funds before starting your practice, then skip this step. For everyone else, you will probably need to consider applying for a business loan. In order to secure a loan, the first step is to have a decent credit score. Assuming that this is under control, writing a business plan is going to be imperative to your cause. The more accurate and detailed your plan is, the better the chances that the bank will be willing to loan you their funds. Be sure to take into account that you will not likely start out with a full load of patients and ask other professionals for help in estimating what your income might be for the first couple of years.
2. Complete the Necessary Documentation
A fair amount of paperwork goes into opening any business and a medical practice is no exception. One small detail that should be taken care of is registering the name of your business. This will not be necessary if your business name and your given name are exactly the same but if your business has a different name, you will need to register with your county clerk.
3. Malpractice Insurance
Today’s society tends to be fairly litigious, so malpractice insurance will be one of the most important steps for a new medical practice. Shop around for an agency that specializes in your branch of medicine and make sure that you get the best possible rate.
4. Locate Office Space
In order to start a practice, you will need to have a location. Find some attractive office space where prospective patients are likely to notice your signage. This will help until you build word of mouth with other practitioners and start to get referrals.
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5. Obtain Federal Tax ID Number, Employer ID Number, and DEA Number
For legal and tax purposes, you will need these numbers (the DEA number only if you are able to prescribe medication). Be sure to get this paperwork taken care of before you attempt to get up and running to avoid legal hurdles.
6. Register with Insurance Companies
If you plan to accept insurance, you will need to register with the companies you will participate with. Do your homework on this end as they do not reimburse all practitioners at the same rate.
7. Hire Staff
Unless you plan to run the entire office on your own, you will need at least a receptionist. It is likely that you will also need someone to handle billing as insurance can be tricky to deal with.
These steps cover the bare basics when it comes to starting a medical practice. Once you have completed your checklist, you will just need equipment and office supplies and you will be ready to see patients.