Cindy Weinberger, OT/L, CHT share her occupational therapy private practice success story
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What were your hesitations in going into private practice?
I have always been fearful of the “business” end of private practice (billing and marketing) and have also not been in a financial position to give up my full time employment.
The risk of giving up our family’s health plan and the “guaranteed” paycheck have discouraged me from pursuing my own practice, but the thought was never far from my mind.
Tell me about the process of setting up your business.
I had no idea how to begin.
I live in an area where I knew that if I did not accept insurance, I would not get clients.
I began the process 6 months in advance of planning to see any patients, applying to become credentialed with medicare, medicaid and 5 other commercial insurances that are commonly seen in my area. This process is tedious and detail oriented (not my forte!) but I made it through getting an NPI #, CAQH, malpractice insurance etc.
I consulted with a PT friend who recently started a practice and she recommended a company named Office Ally, for FREE billing. So far, they have great customer service and are submitting my bills.
I did not want big overhead initially, so I am renting a corner of an existing PT practice with use of their office supplies, receptionist for scheduling and modalities. My purchases were not very big.
What’s Happening With Your Practice Now?
I have been “open” for 2 months so far and it is steadily growing.
I changed my job hours to 4, 10 hour days, having one day to work at the private practice. If needed, I fit in a patient on a Saturday, or an evening appt on my way home from my “regular job”
Admittedly, it is a bit crazy schedule wise, but I am excited to be building something of my OWN and my family is supportive (key)
What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is just getting started with private patients?
The few things I wish I did differently are:
What I am glad that I did is that by not leaving my job, or reducing my hours, I am not stressed about the practice growth. It can grow slowly, and that is OK.
I am also glad I do not have big overhead and am starting small. A year from now, if I am busy and have reduced my hours at the hospital, I can consider setting up my own space, and at that point, I will register a real name!!
I am amazed at how much I have learned from my first thoughts on this when I purchased Jena’s book, to now, but I have a long way to go and lots more to learn.
So, that’s my story! I am on LinkedIn but no website (yet!)
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Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a private practice consultant who helps SLPs, OTs and PTs start their own private practices. She is the author of two books: The Guide to Private Patients and The Guide to Creating a Web Presence For Your Private Practice and an online course, Grow Your Private Practice.