Doctors and other medical professionals who eventually hope to run their own medical practices occupy a complex intersection between medicine and business. Every small business owner has to balance business concerns with the demands of their industry, but those in the medical profession must combine their highly specialized knowledge of the field with adherence to regulations and business savvy. Furthermore, doctors are not the only medical professionals who might have their own practice.
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are among the other types of medical professionals who might do so. Laws and regulations about physicians owning a practice and whether physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other medical professionals are permitted to practice on their own without a doctor’s supervision vary a great deal from state to state, so it is important to first ensure that this is possible in the location you have in mind. Other considerations are education and funding.
The first step is to get the education that you need. For example, in order to become a nurse practitioner, you will usually need a graduate medical degree. You can fund your graduate degree in a similar way that you did your undergraduate degree. This may include medical student loans from a private lender. Be sure to thoroughly research both offline and online lenders so that you can compare interest rates and repayment plans and choose the one that is best for you.
You will need money to start your practice just like any other business person. Sources might be business loans, your own savings, or even help from family members. This can seem like a big hurdle, but once you start researching, you may find grants and other sources to help you get up and running. Setting up a practice in an underserved area or having other unique aspects to your business could give you more funding access. You may also want to consider buying an existing practice instead of starting one from scratch.
Credentialing and Regulations
In addition to making sure that you are permitted to run your own practice in the jurisdiction where you live, you might need to go through a long credentialing process so that you can work with insurance companies. You also need to find out what kind of insurance you need yourself. You’ll need to be licensed to practice within your state. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issues a DEA number to professionals who will be prescribing medication. Other onsite equipment, such as X-rays or a lab, require additional registration or certification. It is essential that you understand all of these regulations and what steps to take to meet the necessary requirements.
Setting Up a Business Entity
You will also need to decide what your business structure will be. Among other things, this determines how your taxes are paid and what kind of liability you will carry. You might want to consult an attorney who has a background in helping people set up this type of business to ensure that you have everything in place. This includes creating the necessary documentation and ensuring that you are tax compliant.