I understand the difficulty of starting your own business, especially in the complex and ever-evolving field of healthcare. The process of becoming an established small business is difficult, however the benefits of being your own boss make it worthwhile.
Where to Start
A business plan needs to be laid out. Consider your workload once you have a general idea of the work that will need to be done, and then make a decision about delegating your work to professionals in those fields, like attorneys and accountants. The key sections of your business plan need to include funding, legal counsel, and compliance with national and state regulations.
This may seem daunting because you do not want the beginning of your business to already be in debt, however acquiring a small-business loan or outside source of money is essential.
Budget where the money will go. Property costs, supplies, legal fees, are just a few. At the start, only focus on what you need and once capital starts flowing you can broaden your budget. Consider hiring an accountant to help handle the distribution of money.
Don’t cut corners on quality when it will affect your practice. However, a few areas you can save money are in retail and disposable items. If you are in a highly populated area, getting in a space that can be shared will reduce the rent cost by a major margin. The difference in quality will not be affected in supplies like disposable gloves and bandages. It may not seem significant, but over the course of years it will add up to be worthwhile.
It will take a few months to receive all of the proper credentials to be able to accept health insurance from patients. To determine which insurers you will work with, research which insurance agencies the surrounding community use and what insurance companies are common in your field. Once you get an open line of communication with insurers, be prepared for them to ask you about your school and work history. An attorney or credentialing agency can help with this process as well.
Other licensing agencies you may have to go through include:
- State Licensing through the American Medical Association
- National provider identifier (NPI), which can be done on the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System.
- DEA registration so you have the ability to prescribe medication.
- Medicare Registration
- Medicaid within your State
Depending on your practice there may be other forms of licensing you will have to apply for, such as X-ray equipment, in-office laboratory registration or malpractice insurance.
You will need to create a legal structure for your new practice to designate how you will pay taxes, and what you will be liable for (i.e. debt, losses, malpractice). Hiring an attorney is recommended during this part of the process to write up the necessary documents, such as incorporation documents and critical contracts to keep you protected. Attorneys can also review your vendor contracts (software and supplies), lease, provider/insurance contracts, patient contracts, HIPAA compliance and more.
Once your legal entity is finalized the last step in the legal process is to set up an EIN (Employer Identification Number) through the Internal Revenue Service. Then the federal government will recognize your business and you can then pay federal taxes. Also, you will need to go through a similar process for state and city taxes. Check the Small Business Association website for the information you need for your location.
Other Areas of Help
There are associations that you can join to provide education, accreditation, and connect you to other professionals within your field. The American Medical Association, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, and the Medical Group Management Association all are useful resources for a new professional in the medical field.
Taking on the challenge of becoming a healthcare entrepreneur is intimidating. However once you create a plan and utilize the resources around you, the mountain is not nearly as difficult to climb. Breakdown what you have to accomplish, put in the work ethic, and your business will succeed.