Odds are, you focused on the clinical aspects of being a doctor when you were in med school. However, the "real world" quickly demonstrates that's just one part of a career. Yes, a bedside manner and diagnostic skills are crucial. But keeping a practice running behind-the-scenes is no easy feat! Just ask any practitioner with years of experience in the field.
When you're considering starting a practice, you must ask: Are you ready for the administrative side of medicine? Concerns range from negotiating managed care contracts to maintaining business insurance for medical professionals and so much more.
In an ideal world, you'd provide great care, your patients would pay readily, and everyone would be happy. However, some people pay slowly. If you are lax on collecting patient payments, you're going to run into financial problems. Costs rise continually. To keep payments flowing as smoothly as possible, make sure your patients understand their financial responsibility—preferably during scheduling. It might feel somewhat crass to do so, but your payment policy needs to be posted conspicuously in your waiting room as well.
Whenever three or more people gather there will be eventual disagreements. You will find yourself serving as an arbiter of staff disputes from time to time. You'll also be faced with the task of hiring people to work in your office. Retaining an effective staff will go a long way toward ensuring the success of your medical practice. This means coming up with a recruiting strategy, a benefits package, and developing motivational skills to keep a top-flight crew. Managing people is as much art as it is science and craft. You'll have to strike a delicate balance between the needs of the practice, personalities, and patient care.
You must learn to live by the old axiom, "everything is negotiable." If you lease your office, bargain the rate rather than accept what's written on paper. In short, the price of anything you have to buy and sell should be discussed before paying. In particular, approach managed care contracts aggressively. You'll need to get the most favorable reimbursement rates, claim deadlines, and payment terms.
Running a medical practice seems very lucrative to those on the outside looking in. And, while the potential for financial success is strong, it comes with a lot of costs. We're living in a time of decreasing payments and increasing demands, so managing costs is a very critical undertaking.
Buying medical supplies on an as-needed basis reduces waste and spoilage. Purchasing used office equipment whenever practical gets your practice good tech at a better price. Training your staff to be more frugal with office supplies can net savings as well. Repurposing used paper, refilling ink cartridges, and shopping for bargains will help keep you in the black.
Another place you can achieve savings is on your business insurance for medical professionals. Let CoverHound help you find the policy you need at the best possible price. They'll do it for free. Try it today!
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