On Private Practice
The toughest part — learning the business of medicine. As an employee first of one local practice, and then as an employee of Lakeside for nine years, I saw patients, did procedures, and submitted the codes for my work, and that was it. I never had to worry about insurers and contracts. I had no idea of the difference between fee-for-service and capitation, and certainly not a clue of what an EOB (explanation of benefits) is.
There’s also running a business. Medical school, residency, and fellowship don’t teach business. I had good advice from people who know more than I do about business. My sister-in-law Mary Ruth helped to put together documents to set up the corporation. Laurence Kinzler of MGMA helped start me on the process, from my rough ideas of what I wanted to do, to a specific timeline of opening the practice. Jill Freiberg helped me with my insurance contracts and with plenty of advice from her years of experience. And conversations with a few local cardiologists were quite helpful as well.
The office opened on January 2. Things were slow initially, which allowed enough time to fine-tune our operations, and for us to learn how to use our new electronic medical record. Business gradually has picked up. By the end of February, money started to come in, at the end of March the practice was breaking even, and thereafter the practice is definitely thriving financially.
I’ve set up a practice to provide a more personal experience. We’re a small office, so if you call during business hours we pick up the phone, you don’t get a recording. If you feel you need an appointment ASAP, we can make that happen, there’s no waiting for weeks to see the doctor.