Building a private mental health practice is a tough yet exciting thing that many providers dream of accomplishing someday. For those thinking about jumping in, it might feel difficult to know where to start. There are hundreds of details that go into running a successful practice that needs to be considered from the start. So what really goes into building a private mental health practice?
Details and Tips to Consider When Building a Private Practice
Figure Out the Size of Your Practice
Some dream big and others dream bigger. What size will your private mental health practice be? Some providers might open a one-man operation or work as sole practitioners. Others dream of owning a practice filled with providers and staff members all working together to help their clients in need. Figuring out what size you want your practice to be from the start is a critical step that impacts the rest of your decisions.
Find an Office
Once the size of the practice is determined, then the physical operating space needs to be figured out. For soul practitioners, this could be as simple as renting a single office or offering virtual services from a home office. For larger operations, it is important to find a space that comfortably accommodates the entire team as well as clients coming in and out. The most important part of finding a space, no matter the size of your practice, is finding one that is easy to get to, is in a safe location, and comfortable to potential clients.
Whether or not a provider chooses to hire staff for their private practice depends on a few varying needs. If private mental health practice has multiple practitioners, it might be important to have someone that handles scheduling, accepting payments, answering phone calls, and more all in one place to standardize processes and minimize confusion. A non-clinical staff member can be useful for front-of-house details, giving your clinicians and counselors the time they need to focus on their clients.
Quality mental health practice technology is non-negotiable. Providers need digital solutions that help them automate processes, increase the accuracy of tasks, boost revenue, and keep patients satisfied. When building a private mental health practice, providers need to think carefully about the software they choose to implement. Do the research to find out who offers the best EHR, billing, and practice management software designed specifically for mental health providers.
Does your private practice plan to offer virtual visits? Then finding telehealth software that is simple to use for both clients and providers is a clinical step. Today, there are hundreds of telehealth solutions on the market. Providers need to find one that will work in conjunction with their other software while preventing any disruptions in workflow.
Electronic prescription software is an incredibly important investment. Research shows that electronic prescriptions increase medication adherence, prevent errors, streamline prescription pickup, and more. Traditional paper prescription methods lead to errors like clients losing the prescription, the wrong one being filled, delays from when they leave your office before they can actually start taking it, and a likelihood that a client will forget to fill it.
Get Credentialed with Insurance
For private mental health practices that plan to accept insurance, getting credentialed is vital. Credentialing is the process of joining an insurance payers provider panel. The credentialing process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on the payer. Taking this step increases the likelihood that potential clients will encounter your name on their search as someone their insurance approves of.
To figure out what panels to join, providers should consider which payers are most popular or most used in their area and go from there.
Figure Out Marketing
Next, providers need to determine their marketing strategies. Opening up a private mental health practice is risky for a number of reasons. One of the top reasons being that unless a provider already has a long list of clients they are bringing with them, they are going to need to do their best to get the attention of potential new ones.
Some marketing methods can be expensive for new practice owners, but there are some affordable options as well. Some great ways to market yourself to the community include:
- Have active social media accounts
- Write SEO blog content
- Participate in community events
- Send out informational pamphlets in the mail
- Network with compilatory specialists in the area
- Set up a great referral system.
Determine and Prepare Overhead Costs
Marketing is not the only cost that providers have to think about when building a private mental health practice. There are dozens of overhead costs that need to be calculated prior to jump in to give providers their best chance at success. Some of these costs include:
- Renting an office
- Staff members
- Decorations and Office Decor
- Licensing (business and professional)
- And more
While all of this may sound overwhelming, the right tools and approach can align a provider with success on their private practice adventure.
To learn more about an EHR that can help you streamline and organize your practice management, click here.