In this episode, Dr. Mel continues her discussion of the factors that mental health professionals need to consider when setting up a private practice, particularly if they are already working in a hospital or clinic. Here are 8 more tips to help you move forward.
- Know why you want to start a private practice. A private practice can allow you to provide a better level of care, as well as to make more money.
- Try it out before you commit by providing coverage for a colleague who is on vacation or leave. You do need both malpractice insurance and an appropriate business license.
- Your office should reflect who you are and make patients feel at home. Dr. Mel provides cold water and fresh flowers in her office. Provide magazines in the waiting room and keep business cards on the counter.
- Having a web presence is very important. One new patient found out about Dr. Mel by asking Siri. Your first website doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does need to provide contact details and basic information about your practice. It’s also a good idea to have a presence on major social networks and review sites.
- Provide new patient intake forms. It’s good to provide a version that patients can fill out before coming to the office as well as providing one to fill out in the waiting room. Always be able to provide the reason you need any information you ask for, and include notifications about your policies.
- Insurance Coverage. When you’re first starting out in private practice, you may be able to add your private practice coverage onto the policy you use for work.
- Have a collegial relationship with your colleagues. You need someone to cover for you when you go on vacation, and you will need to refer some patients to other providers.
- Private practice can be isolating. You won’t be able to walk down the hall to consult a colleague when you’re out on your own. For some people, a combination of private and hospital work provides the best options.