If you’re wondering what the future holds, you’re not alone.
Not knowing what life post-Covid-19 will be like is unsettling. But there is no crystal ball, and no one knows what’s in store.
Yet, life must go on; we will get to the other side of this!
But if you’ve been thinking about starting a practice, you may now have second thoughts. And I don’t blame you! Chances are you’re wondering if it’s even possible to get started now.
Again, no one has a crystal ball, and I don’t know what will happen over the coming months.
But here is what I do know.
Healthcare will still be here once the crisis is over. Healthcare is not going away. But it might look different.
How? Only time will tell.
But here are two significant changes…
#1 A Steep Rise In The Use Of Telehealth
While online platforms have been around for some time, the virtual model has been slow to catch on. Until now…
Today, Medicare, along with other insurers, allows, reimburses, and encourages virtual visits. Go here to learn the details of the Medicare waiver announced on March 17, 2020.
Without a doubt, Covid-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future. It’s unlikely that telehealth goes to the wayside once the crisis is over; in all likeliness, it is here to stay.
We discussed getting started with telehealth in a previous article.
#2 Temporary Removal of Barriers
In some states, NPs may temporarily practice without a collaborator or supervising physician. Other states temporarily suspended the requirement for NPs to practice within a certain radius of a collaborator or supervising physician.
While not all states have made adjustments at this time, more may do so in the near future. For current requirements, waivers, or changes, check with your state. Also, visit the AANP website for more information on the Covid-19 state emergency response.
Will the temporary lift of restrictions stay in place once the crisis is over? Depending on how long the interim measures remain in place, I believe it’s a possibility. But again, time will tell.
Ask Yourself …
While broad acceptance of telehealth and potential changes to your license, may impact the vision you have of your practice, they don’t change how you approach the planning process.
Here are the things to think about before you decide to start a practice. Ask yourself, and then answer the following questions:
- What do you want to accomplish with your practice?
- How will you finance your startup and the first few months in business?
- Who is the population you enjoy working with?
- What service or products will you offer/provide for them?
- Why would anyone visit your clinic over another one?
- What sets you apart from the rest?
- How will you market your practice to find patients?
- What are your income goals?
- What will your fee structure be?
- Will you start an insurance-based or cash-only practice?
- How many patients must you see per day, week, month, so that you can pay the bills?
- What is your break-even point?
- How much overhead can you absorb?
- Fees x Visits/Products = Revenue – Expenses = Profit
- Will you fly solo or have employees?
- Do you know your numbers, and do they work for you?
If the numbers don’t work out, go back to the drawing board! Let’s borrow a phrase from the game Monopoly… Go Back to Start, do not Pass Go!
- Perhaps you need to find a different service or product mix to offer.
- Maybe you may need to see more clients.
- Or maybe, you need to work on lowering your expenses.
Whatever you do, make sure the numbers for your business add up before you rent space or do anything else.
Is it still possible to start a practice today despite Covid-19?
Healthcare is not going away; people will always need healthcare, that is a given.
And while it may take longer to get all your ducks in a row, you still need to line them up before you sign on the dotted line.
Sure, there’s a chance you may not be able to (or want to) look at office space, interview employees in person, or shop for clinic furnishings and supplies (except online).
Considering the current circumstances, I think you want to put off anything in-person, hands-on that can wait. As a health care provider, you’re exposed to too much as is.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get ready to start your practice.
You can prepare now so that you can hit the ground running when life returns to some type of “normal,” whatever that may be.
Take care of yourself; stay healthy and safe!
PS: If you’d like to learn more about how to start a practice, you can find all the information here.
What are your thoughts about starting a practice now? Tell us what you think by leaving your comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”