Building intellectual and emotional equity happens while deciding whether or not to start your own medical practice.  Once you have decided to go ahead and open a medical practice, get prepared to start building your sweat equity.  Sweat equity is your contribution to starting your practice in the form of effort and hard work.  It increases the value of your practice without spending any money.
Although very low cost, as in free, intellectual, emotional and sweat equity is a very small part of what it takes to open a medical practice.  It takes money and  a team of subject matter expert resources.

The perfect team roster you need to open your medical practice

1.   “subject matter expert” team.  Expertise for which you pay.

This sounds pretty straight forward, but the operative word is effective.  You need an accountant, a lawyer and a healthcare management advisor.  Each of these advisors has to have in-depth knowledge of and extensive experience in working with healthcare private practices.  Make no exceptions here.  If you start off on the wrong foot, you might as well not take the first step.  The financial, legal & business nuances of this type of venture are tremendous in number and complex in nature.

An effective team can make the difference between a tortuous experience that could end up in failure and an experience that is a success.  The healthcare management advisor, from Svast Healthcare, is first to the starting line of the project and will interview, screen, choose and introduce to you the accounting and legal advisors in the location of your office, if you are not already working with some.

Define your mode and preferred style around communication

There are no surprises around how important effective communications are.  It is also very apparent that,  as time goes on modes of communications are expanding rapidly.  As your new practice start-up advisor, MBA will determine, out of the gate, what modes of communication you are comfortable using.  Do you like to communicate via email, text, phone, skype, facetime  or some other method?   We will also define your style of communication.  What end of the fast talking, shaker & mover vs. slow talking, laid back spectrum do you fall?  Do you tend to be a positive, move forward type of person  or a more conservative, reserved individual?  Are you detail oriented or a visionary?

We very much want and need to understand your  preferred style  of  communications.  We are then able to ensure that all members of the team understand it as well.  This makes for a transition that feels much more comfortable to you and we’re more poised to know how to work with you to speed things up or slow them down, when needed.

2.    Expand the effective “subject matter expert” team.  Expertise for which you do not pay.

Add subject matter experts to your team that are critical to your success and offer products/services that are essential.

Start with your  banker as (s)he is probably the most pivitol member of the team, unless you have the financial wherewithal to finance the project personally.  If you don’t, the good news is that your MBA advisor has relationships with many lenders.  One, in particular, trusts your MBA advisor to bring him only qualified applicants.  They also know that when MBA is involved, there is a 100% success rate.  Therefore, they make the financing process very smooth with many perks for the start of your new practice.

Next comes your real estate agent.  Moving this process along is key, for obvious reasons, the least of which is the credentialing process. Communications with your landlord, building  owner, building contractor and building maintenance folks will be required during the process of choosing your space.

Then, as with all the other team members, your  new practice set-up advisor will secure your insurance agent, phone/data/internet agency and equipment/supply vendor.  You will be working directly with your licensing group.

3.    Choose your technology and your technology  partners.

From a business perspective, the practice will require several different types of ever changing technology.  Two of the most critical technology needs have to do with how you are going to document your services and how you are going to get paid for your services.

Your options for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) are vast.  Information on these options is daunting.  The cultural changes around using these technologies is dramatic.  There is a good chance that you have already been using an EHR, so you may have narrowed down  what you like or don’t like.  If you are using something you like and it meets all  of the present and future Meaningful Use requirements, or reporting requirements for a Medical Home or Accountable Care Organization (if you choose one of those routes)  try to stick with it.  It may however, be a large health system product that is not sold to small practices or it may be unable to be hosted.  There is a team at Svast Healthcare with hands-on, extensive EHR expertise.  Your advisor will engage them in a discovery period of what would best meet the needs of your practice.  Partner with the organization that can support yours needs best, as they  change best, moving in to the future.

Now, let’s talk money.  You can provide all the services in the world, but if you can’t get paid, that’s a show stopper.  Again, there are many systems that can process your medical claims.  There are more out there that do a great job than there are EHRs.  However, they have to communicate with your EHR.  So, that narrows down the options.  Also, the choice needs to be made as to whether you want to host your own system and process your own claims or outsource it to the experts.  When you start a new business, partner with an expert.  Let someone else, who knows the ins and outs, worry about getting the claims paid.  It’s not worth the money you will lose by trying to do this in parallel with all the other new practice start up balls you are trying to keep in the air.

4.    A Credentialing Team: Financial soundness starts with credentialing

From day one and every day until your practice opens its doors, think credentialing.  Employ an organization that just does credentialing.  Another “no questions asked” situation.  You’ll have more questions to answer than you had ever wished for.

Credentialing can take from two to six months to complete.  Without your group and individual provider number with the carriers, you will not get paid for seeing patients, unless you plan to see patients out-of-network or are planning a concierge practice.

So, crazy as it sounds, the credentialing application requires the address, phone number & fax at the location.  It requires your malpractice insurance certificate.  It requires your licensing & DEA information in the State in which you will practice.  They require your billing agency information.

What does this all mean to you?  It means, prior to sending in your credentialing application, you need to have already found space, negotiated a lease, chosen a phone system and carrier, gotten a phone number & fax assigned, determined who will be doing your billing or what billing system you will be using (tag the choice of EHRs on to that), and updated your licensing information.  All of these things can take months.

Bottom line, for your bottom line, is that credentialing should be the very first thing on your mind or you may be seeing patients for free.   Steps 1, 2, 3  and all of the action that goes on within those steps need to be completed prior to sending your application out.

Then, you can focus on what goes on after the doors open (Read: “9 Steps to Successfully Starting a Practice” to see how).  Stay tuned!