Checklist for opening a physician’s practice

Checklist for opening a physician’s practice

Opening a new physician’s practice is an exciting and challenging time for everyone involved. Once you’ve found and furnished a location, organized legal, licensing, financial, and insurance arrangements, and decided on your fee structure, you can turn your attention to the many day-to-day details that go into operating a medical practice. We’ve put together a checklist to help ensure you’ve thought of everything before you open your doors.

Management

  • Choose a medical practice management system to deal with registration, scheduling, billing, and patient database requirements
  • Decide on a system for patient records. If using a physical filing system, order charts and files. Consider starting with Electronic Health Records which can be integrated with your medical practice management software
  • Order and arrange telephone, fax, and high-speed internet lines and set up utilities
  • Choose answering and paging services
  • Arrange for call cover as necessary
  • Write office policies and procedures, including HR, billing, medical records, compliance, inventory, petty cash, etc.
  • Research and contract with language access services for bilingual patients, including trained medical translation services either by phone or in person
  • Notify area pharmacies
  • Contact pharmaceutical reps to alert them of practice opening
  • Choose ancillary suppliers and services as necessary: laboratory, X-ray, etc.
  • Decide on transcription services, as needed
  • Contract with cleaning and laundry services as necessary
  • Arrange waste removal services, including specialized infectious waste
  • Decide on security needs

Billing

  • Decide on practice fee structure
  • Obtain fee schedules from payers, including Medicaid, Medicare and Workers Compensation
  • Arrange for credit and debit card facilities to accept patient payments
  • Develop accounts receivable policies and procedures
  • Contract with a collections agency

Staff

  • Select and set up payroll systems or services
  • Consider a time clock for employees to streamline payroll operations and maximize efficiency
  • Decide on employee benefits and policies
  • Write employee handbook
  • Arrange training for onboarding staff, including software and systems-specific instruction for office employees
  • Research and implement OSHA standards

Supplies

  • Choose vendors and set up inventory and ordering schedules
  • Order signage
  • Order medical supplies
  • Order office supplies
  • Source or write patient information and education materials: arrange for printing
  • Have all forms typeset and printed
  • Consider translated forms for bilingual patients
  • Order lab coats, uniforms, and name tags for all staff
  • Select office magazine subscriptions

Marketing

  • Prepare a news release for press, detailing practice opening
  • Set up newspaper and Yellow Pages ads
  • Arrange Open House, invite area civicl and political leaders, and advertise the event in the press and with local Chamber of Commerce
  • Consider membership in church and civic organizations
  • Set up meetings with social and referring agencies
  • Work with designer to develop practice branding
  • Design and order marketing materials: brochures, appointment cards, patient supply bags, business cards, etc.
  • Set up social media accounts and arrange for account management either in-house or with a digital marketing agency

Every practice is unique, and no list can cover every need that may arise as your practice grows, but following this checklist should help you start off on the right foot. Setting up systems and schedules to manage your processes from the very beginning will help your practice run smoothly, efficiently, and profitably. Congratulations, and good luck!