At one point in your career as a podiatrist, you will likely want to venture out and set up a podiatric practice on your own, even if you have a salaried job. Opening your practice, however, should not be entered into lightly; you must begin planning as early as a year before you intend to open in order to ensure everything is taken care of by opening week.
Below is a guide to help you navigate the months prior to opening your doors for business:
Choosing a location for your practice is the most important decision because it sets the pace for the rest of the business. If you intend to stay where you are, you can wait a few more months, but if changing cities, 12 months to opening is the right time to begin researching.
Your decision should be based first on where you want to live/practice and then evaluate the area's demographics: how many other podiatric practices are there? What services do they offer and how long have they been practicing? Is there likely to be attrition soon, e.g. a retiring podiatrist?
Draw the business plan
At the same time, you should also start sourcing your attorney, accountant and practice management consultant. Using their help, come up with a business plan as well as a start-up budget. Below are a few points to consider to help you draw the business plan:
- Will you focus on office procedures or foot surgeries?
- Will you take Medicare/Medicaid and focus on medical procedures or mainly do elective stuff that is paid for in cash?
- Do you want to set up electronic medical records from the start?
- How many rooms and which procedures will your practice feature?
- Will you hire more doctors to join your podiatric practice, and at what stage?
- How extensive will your X-ray service be?
These questions will help you with your decision on location as well. As you draw the plan in begin with the big picture working your way down, ask the consultant team above if you need help with the specifics of the plan. Begin by considering the general operations moving to the details like number of procedure rooms, designations and staff to handle various aspects of the practice.
Take care of the legal work
Getting licensed earlier on will prevent snugs close to the opening date, when there's so much to do. You can get a state medical license well in advance, so begin with that right away. Every other application you need to make from here will require you to have that taken care of.
Next, work with your lawyer to negotiate your lease on the location you identified earlier, then deal with the rest of the licensing, insurance and tax requirements: you'll need a business license number, DEA number, Medicaid provider number, the EIN and Tax ID number. Finally, contact insurance agencies to get your insurance panel cover sorted.