How to Start Your Own Medical Practice, One Doctor Tells Her Story

After reading Dr. C account with starting a new practice; what aspect of her journey did you find most interesting and which aspect of

starting a practice did you find surprising? Remember to comment on two classmates post

How to Start Your Own Medical Practice, One Doctor Tells Her Story
During medical school T.C., M.D.(name abbreviated to protect privacy), never imagined herself in her own practice, “they don’t teach the

business side of things in medical school, I never wanted to be involved with that aspect of medicine,” she says.
Now several years later and after negative experiences as an employee in other people’s practices, she is enjoying life as a solo practice

family physician in Tampa, Florida.

After she completed residency she took a job at a multi-specialty group, it turned out to be a less than desirable situation. Others were

making decisions about her day, “it was all about numbers and as a physician I was disregarded as a person”, says Dr. C.
After taking another job with a flat salary and inflexible hours she decided to turn in her resignation. With four months notice to work

she had time to get funding and figure out how to start her own practice. Dr. C bought a publication from the AAFP on how to start a

practice, this was invaluable and told her everything she needed to know.
Finding Financing and a Location
“The hardest part was finding the location, that was not a quick process” she says. Once a suitable office was found next was securing

set-up financing. Young, with no assets and medical students loans, Dr. C first tried her local banks, then a commercial bank, but she was

declined. Finally, after seeing an ad in a medical journal she called a lending company. In 48 hours she had been given approval for her

loan. Within a week she was given a check to cover her starting costs, and later funds to cover tangibles, such as computers, exam tables,

office supplies and so on. In addition, Dr. C was able to negotiate terms similar to a bank. Lawyers helped her get incorporated and

obtain a business lease.
Finding Computers, Software, Supplies and Equipment
With a loan in place and suitable office found, she needed to find a computer system for her practice. “The computers were another

challenge”, Dr. C says, “just getting them set-up so everything worked took longer than we expected”. Using the Internet and copies of the

“Physicians and Computers” journal she researched different software vendors and selected a system that allows her to run a totally

paperless office. With a computer in every room, including exam rooms, the system works extremely well. Her medical assistant types in the

notes, vitals and reason for the patient visit, and then in the exam room she pulls up the file and is able to add Dr. C’s notes. The

software also allows her to run searches or reports on patients taking a particular drug, or find out when they are due for their next

mammogram. The EKG connects directly with the computer, reads it for her and allows her to edit the reading, and then print or fax it. Dr.

C says that running a paperless office allows her to spend more time with her patients. Using an article describing the things you need

for each room she equipped her practice and added her own personal touches fairly easily. Luckily, the previous tenant left some key

equipment such as examining tables, and the rest she ordered from medical supply companies.
Getting Patients and Insurance
Although she did not have a non-compete clause in her contract with her previous employer she did have a non-solicitation clause, so she

was not able to ask her patients to move with her. But once word was out many loyal patients gladly followed her to her new practice. Even

though she moved practices she kept her credentials with several major insurance companies. Normally the credentialing process with the

health insurance companies can take up to two months. “The hardest part with the insurance companies was getting a fee schedule”, she said

“we called in June, called again and again, then called everyday and finally in September they arrived”. Using the resources of her

regional Family Practice association she was also able to find malpractice insurance at reasonable rates.
Hiring Staff
Hiring staff was also easier than Dr. C first thought, her medical assistant and front desk receptionist from a former employer decided to

join her. Another key person she hired was a good accountant to help with many of the financial issues. Working well as a team she is able

to set the tone of how the office is run and she has much less stress on the job than her previous practice positions. She also made an

arrangement with a colleague for emergency and out-of-town coverage.
Balancing Family and Practice
Dr. C had her son during residency and returning to work after maternity leave she saw her son for only 20 minutes a day. Pregnant with

her second child she looks forward to balancing her family and thriving practice under her terms. Even though she says setting up her own

practice was more work and stress than she imagined she is very happy about it. Dr. C opened her practice doors in September 2000.

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After reading Dr. C account with starting a new practice; what aspect of her journey did you find most interesting and which aspect of

starting a practice did you find surprising?

Like the doctor being used in the example I too would not even know where to begin to start a medical practice on my own. I am not even

sure if physician assistants can run a practice Id have to look that up. I am pretty sure that researching was the first step to finding

out what needed to be done to start a practice. Being that she was a young MD with student debt it was probably a hard feat to accomplish.

You have to wonder if everything you invest into this is going to be worth it and how much it is going to take out of you. I know for this

she needed alot of drive and dedication because if yourenot 100% into making this happen it will not happen.
First and foremost the individual has to look for money to start the operation if they dont have it themselves. That can be hard in itself

if you have no assets and great credit. If that is obtained the person then would most likely have to purchase licensures to start the

business to make sure it is running according to city/state code and in compliance to the medical board. You would then have to look for

employees which would most likely be the easiest step but you would have to choose carefully for someone that is competent, trustworthy

and can help boost the practice during its early moments. Another challenging aspect is getting patients to come to your practice and

building up a clientel, If you have not been practicing in the past it will be difficult because you cannot bring those patients over to

the new practice.

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