When it comes to starting a practice the first step is to decide what type of medical practice you want to operate. Here are a few of the most common practice models to help you start thinking about your options:
|Traditional||Physicians collect patient co-pays and bill insurance companies to receive reimbursement for services rendered. They see many patients to cover costs.|
|Concierge (aka boutique or retainer practices)||Patients pay a flat membership fee for medical services instead of, or in addition to, billing their health insurance company. Physicians see fewer patients than usual and are, therefore, expected to be more accessible.|
|Direct primary care (aka ideal medicine or direct pay practices)||Patients pay a flat membership fee for medical services, but the fee is usually lower, and insurance is never accepted. Physicians sometimes see fewer patients than usual. They may or may not make themselves more accessible to patients.|
Some physicians get burned out dealing with insurance payers and complying with ever-shifting government healthcare regulations (e.g., HITECH, MACRA, and HIPAA) to meet reimbursement requirements. If that sounds like you, consider starting a concierge or direct primary care practice. These models allow you to spend more time with individual patients since there are fewer patients to treat, requiring less red tape.
However, before finalizing your decision, think about what kind of business entity is best for you. For example, do you want a sole proprietorship? A partnership with a colleague? A limited liability company (LLC)? Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, so consult a lawyer to understand your choices and pick the best one.