You’ll face many choices on your path to becoming a doctor, from picking a medical school to matching with a residency program and narrowing down a specialty. But once you embark on your healthcare career, you’ll have to make yet another decision: Should you aim to open your own private practice?
In theory—and on TV—it looks great. Your name hangs above the door, you call the shots and you hire a staff of people you like and trust to keep your everyday operations afloat. But in real life, establishing and running a successful private practice comes with a unique set of challenges.
Namely, you’re responsible for everything that happens within your walls. Just like with any other company, you’ll need to figure out logistics ranging from small business liability insurance to payroll, marketing and equipment. As an employee at a hospital, you wouldn’t have to take on so much administrative and legal responsibility. But you also wouldn’t have so much control.
Here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages to opening a private healthcare practice:
More Autonomy. As the owner, you don’t have to answer to a higher power. As the American Academy of Private Physicians points out, hospital-owned practices often reflect traditional corporate hierarchies. As the top dog, you’ll be able to make autonomous decisions influenced by your experience and intuition—not by what a manager or administrator tells you.
Flexible Patient Options. Owning a practice means you’re free to make care more affordable by using a sliding-scale payment model. You can also streamline patient care by opting out of unnecessary diagnostic procedures that might be required or heavily encouraged in hospitals.
Personal Satisfaction. There’s a certain career and personal satisfaction that comes from running your own practice on your own terms. As the owner, you can enjoy this fulfillment.
Start-Up Costs. Every practice is different, but it can cost between $70,000 and $100,000 to establish a small primary care practice when you factor in rent, paying staff, equipment and insurance. The computer management system alone will cost thousands, and there’s no way to skimp on these set-up costs. Be prepared to front your own funds to get your practice off the ground.
Ongoing Expenses. Hiring new staff members and purchasing or repairing equipment all cuts into your bottom line. Of course, you need this infrastructure to run your business. But it can be difficult to justify and juggle expenditures, especially in the beginning.
As the owner of a small healthcare business, you’re liable for the people on your premises. What if you forget to put up a “wet floor” sign one rainy morning and your first patient of the day takes a tumble? To start, you’ll need a Business Owners Policy that includes commercial general liability insurance to protect against property damage and personal injury claims that happen in your office space.
Starting your own private practice can be personally and professionally rewarding beyond measure, but only if you have a good handle on the business side of things. Most of the challenges of operating your own office rather than seeking hospital employment are financial in nature.
Ready to learn more about small business liability insurance for your healthcare practice? Get started with more details and a quick quote from CoverHound!