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The Long Haul: How to Establish a Lasting Mental Healthcare Practice

America’s mental healthcare system is in disarray, with access to mental healthcare lagging far behind that of other medical concerns—because it is expensive and attitudes about it are largely negative. Meanwhile, states have cut nearly $2 billion from mental health budgets. However, there is a bright spot: insurance coverage for mental health services was expanded considerably in 2008 with the Affordable Care Act.

This creates an opening for those going into the mental healthcare profession. Wondering how to establish a lasting mental healthcare practice to serve patients for the long haul? Start with enrolling in business insurance for mental health practices, choosing a business model and hiring the right people.

Determine Your Business Model

Yes, your practice will provide healthcare services, but it is also a business and must operate within certain parameters to function properly. Creating a formal business entity with limited liability is mandatory if you want your personal assets to be protected. You’ll also need to decide how to classify the doctors with who you’ll work. Will you bring them on as contracted providers, employee providers or associates? If they are going to be associates, will they share or sublet office space? All of these decisions will impact your tax liability and your responsibilities as an employer. Consider them carefully.

Choose Personnel Carefully

Easily one of the most important factors, choosing the right people will be a strong determinant of the efficacy of your practice. Put the time in to get to know the people you’re considering and make sure their philosophies and goals match yours. Take some time to examine your strengths and honestly evaluate your weaknesses, then seek individuals whose strengths compensate for your shortcomings. You also want to make sure their work ethic aligns with yours. You’re looking for people willing to put in the work to make the practice a success for patients, themselves and for you.

Provide Strong Leadership

One of the overlooked aspects of effective leadership is a willingness to get out of the way and let the team do what it does best. You have to know when to intercede and when to let the group do what it knows how to do. Nurture an atmosphere in which your colleagues feel their contributions are valued. Delegation is another key aspect of effective leadership; knowing when to hand off tasks to which you are ill-suited to members of your group who revel in them will contribute mightily to your success.

Back Office Considerations

Effective clerical support is absolutely essential to record keeping, scheduling and billing functions. You’ll need to establish a patient intake procedure and ensure it is managed properly to ensure smooth, secure record keeping. A qualified office manager can fill this role and determine the overall volume of activity to make recommendations about other clerical personnel as required. You’ll also need to decide upon a practice management software system.

These are but four of the aspects of establishing a lasting mental health practice. You’ll also need to make sure you and all your associates and employees are licensed and registered. You’ll need to come up with a formal name for your practice and register it, as well as acquire business insurance for mental health professionals.

CoverHound is perfectly positioned to help you find the exact coverage your fledgling practice needs. Explore your business insurance options today.

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