18091680_blogThe advantages that come from transitioning to a private practice are virtually unending. Not only are you finally able to enjoy a deeper one-on-one interaction with your patients, but you’re also allowed the freedom to set your own course regarding practice, payment, and billing guidelines. Operating in such autonomy is the dream of nearly every physician.

Yet making this transition will often require knowledge and skills that lie outside of your area of expertise. It’s at these times that it pays to have a professional consulting partner to help ease you into this transition. As you embark on the search to find such a partner, you’ll quickly find that you have no shortage of options. These days it seems as though anyone with an MBA feels qualified enough to advise just about anybody on the secrets to success in business. Yet what’s lost in this sea of potential transition partners if that each and every industry has its own subtle nuances that may not seem incredibly impactful during the early stages of a business-model changeover, but end up being the deciding factor in the long-term success of an enterprise.

Thus, the need to work with a company that’s experienced in private health care practice transitions is abundantly clear. Once you’ve established that fact, you’re ready to move on to how to best evaluate a consulting partner.

Points to Ponder

Managing a successful private practice transition requires much more than a basic knowledge of the service and payment models of the health care industry. A consultant should also understand how the areas of patient care, billing and claims submission, and reimbursement and recovery will be affected. With this in mind, here are some important things to consider when interviewing a potential transition partner:

  • Can they offer multiple financial models? Your move to private practice may also be accompanied by a change in billing philosophies. Whether you plan on adopting a direct-pay or concierge medical practice model, or you intend on staying in the traditional “fee-for-service” world, you’ll need to know the financial projections for each scenario. The transition company you work with should be able to offer data on both, or even project what your revenues may be by using a hybrid model.
  • Do they understand the characteristics of the local patient population? The success of the service and/or reimbursement model that you choose to follow in your new practice will be greatly affected by the wants and needs of local patients. The demographics and economic profiles of the population you aim to work amongst are a good indicator of how your service will be received. For example, areas with a high number of self-employed residents will likely be drawn to a provider who offers discounted services for point-of-service payments. On the other hand, communities full of working professionals may prefer working only with doctors contracted with through health insurance carriers.
  • Can they accurately forecast upcoming changes within the industry? The Affordable Care Act and its ramification have physicians across the country scrambling to know how their reimbursement will be affected both in the immediate and long-term. Knowing exactly what and how one will be paid should be a top priority when transitioning to private practice. Yet potential changes to current federal guidelines could just as quickly set the industry on its ear, and place you and the financial viability of your practice in doubt. Knowing this, you’ll want a transition partner who has their pulse on the health care industry’s future.

In your road to establishing a successful private medical practice, you’ll encounter plenty of companies and consultants offering to extend a helping hand to you. Which one you choose to take is a decision that could decide the ultimate fate of your endeavor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have multiple sources from which you could receive a wide range of advice regarding your practice management decisions? That’s just what AAPP membership has to offer. Nowhere else will you find such extensive resources dedicated to your success as a private physician. Your association with AAPP can produce untold benefits for both yourself and other members. We bring doctors together to help plot course for where health care is going in the future.