The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Your Private Practice
By Nancy Mura, Senior VP Public Relations
First of all, you’re to be commended for opening your own practice. That’s a brave decision and now, you have the ability to help so many pediatric or adult patients who need your services. No doubt you quickly realized the layers of complexity, responsibility and liability that accompany the job of being a practice owner.
From negotiating with landlords and realtors to filing taxes and from hiring employees to firing them, it is a challenging job that can be intensely stress-inducing. To help you lower your stress levels, here are some key do’s and don’ts for the owner of a private practice.
Don’t rely on clinical expertise alone: Don’t assume that just because you are a successful PT/OT/SLP, you will know how to build a successful practice—just as the manager of a successful bank or car dealership wouldn’t be able to step into your shoes and suddenly become a proficient therapist.
Do get trained as a CEO: Every successful CEO or executive of a big company had to go through training so they could succeed at their jobs. In the same way, there is a technology to being the CEO of your own practice. No one is born with these skills but fortunately, practice management training is available. Get yourself trained to be the CEO just like you trained to become a therapist.
Don’t have unreal expectations: “If you build it, they will come” only works in Hollywood. You can hang up your shingle, open a beautiful clinic and still attract no patients. You’ll need to learn how to market your practice the right way, the way that really will result in a wealth of new patients. We understand; it’s not always fun or easy to start. But this is how you can reach those patients who need your care. It’s also how you can achieve your financial goals.
Do build multiple marketing channels: As you’re marketing your practice, you’ll need to focus on building multiple marketing channels like these to bring in more new patients:
A network of referring doctors
Direct access referrals
Ongoing social media
Online advertising such as on Google and Facebook
Don’t place practice viability in the hands of insurance companies: Depending solely on insurance companies for your livelihood can lead to a “nothing can be done about it” attitude. You should create a mix of proactive solutions. (See point #6.)
Do control your cash flow: Refusing to rely on insurance companies means you must control your own cash flow. There are several aspects to gaining this control:
Look for niche markets you might be able to develop. A niche market is a special subset of a larger population that has special or unique needs and demands. For adult PT/OT/ST, you could target the obese, those interested in boosting athletic performance or aging baby boomers looking to turn back the hands of time. On the pediatric side, you could offer feeding therapy or handwriting programs.
Establish methods of attracting these cash-paying customers. You might consider attending meetings or scheduling speaking engagements for people involved in different athletics or interests that align with the niche markets you select.
Tightly control your billing and filing of claims. Never let these activities backlog.
Stay on top of collections. Call and email those accounts that are not paid on time.
It’s a lot, we know. That’s why we offer training to make this process less stressful and more successful. Contact Survival Strategies at 833-221-8002 if you need help getting your practice management under control.