Hire the Right Help to Keep Your Practice Independent

Last week I wrote about things to consider before you sell your practice. If you are of the mind that you don’t want to work for someone else but don’t see another way, think about outsourcing the things you need that are outside your expertise.

I often talk about physicians as leaders, and one thing all strong leaders do is recognize that they aren’t good at and can’t do everything in their business. They know that to maximize profitability they must hire a well-rounded team that brings expertise to the areas where they don’t have it.

Now, most solo practitioners can’t afford a practice administrators with the same experience and education that the hospital brings to your practice after they buy it and work to make it more profitable. You can, however, hire someone with this experience and education on a part-time basis by hiring a consultant or practice management firm.

Before you think it is too expensive, consider this. The right partner will be able to bring you far more money than they charge, and they should be able to give you a very clear path to how they are going to do that before you ever sign any contract. They key is finding the right partner.

Consulting

  • Look for partners who specialize in independent offices. If you hire one of the big consulting or practice management groups, you are hiring someone who may not be as familiar with challenges an independent practice faces, and you may be hiring someone who isn’t as attentive to you as they are to their larger clients with deeper pockets.

  • Before even talking about contracts and rates, make sure they know enough about your practice to know they can help you. I find that with a little observation of an office and the answers to about 5-10 questions, I know if our group can truly make a difference to a practice.

Billing

  • Understand exactly who does the billing and what the oversight is. Everyone’s work needs to be checked, so make sure someone is looking at the work daily and at the financial health of your total practice monthly and quarterly.

  • Find out if they share their expertise across clients. You can get extra value from your billing service if they can share what they see in the industry across clients and they can pinpoint where your coding or billing may be able to make you more money.

  • Don’t take them at their collection rate. This number is easily manipulated. Instead, find out what steps they take to collect insurance and patient bills. Most billing services take a percentage of what they collect so they leave behind the money that is difficult to collect because of how much time it takes. Don’t settle for less than every effort to collect what is owed to you.

Hiring someone can be daunting, I know. It is expensive and you want to make sure you are making a solid return on your investment. If you do your research and consider the things above, it can make you significantly more profitable while keeping you independent.

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