Why outsource? Why hire consultants? Essentially, because you’re worth it. Your practice deserves the expertise of a professional who will help guide you through the challenges necessary to achieve your goals. With the advice of an expert team, you can return to kids and families, reassured that you have a team that will keep your practice in capable hands.
Still not convinced? If you’re spending time in your day tackling billing and HR and then going home to mull over complex finance and management tasks, your work as a physician will inevitably suffer.
PCC’s Chip Hart puts it more directly:
"To the doctor who has always been the smartest kid in school and wants to do everything herself, we need to say: 1) It's beneath your paygrade to do these tasks and 2) you're not good at it anyway. We want to teach doctors to produce at their highest level - and 90% of the time, that's in seeing patients. Anything that someone else can bring expertise to, they should. Otherwise, you are the most expensive HR/biller in the world."
So once you’ve determined that your practice’s problem is out of your hands, where should you turn for help?
SOAPM: Find and Recommend Professionals
When you’re flustered, worried, and frustrated over an issue with employees, billing, or insurance, or you’re simply concerned about keeping your practice in the black, it can be easy to feel alone. This much is true whether you are a group of pediatricians with differing opinions or a solo provider without partners to consult with.
Your first resource in connecting with other independent pediatricians is the AAP’s Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM). For dues of $35 a year, you can connect with hundreds of pediatricians who face the same questions and issues of running a private practice that you do.
The primary benefit of SOAPM is the ability to connect with other pediatricians to ask and give advice. However, SOAPM can also offer pediatricians unique insights into outsourcing full or part time help, practices in hiring well, and even offer local recommendations for professionals who already work with pediatricians and will have the experience to answer your needs quickly and efficiently.
If you have a loan with a bank, have a relationship with a stockbroker or investment firm, or have an accountant to prepare your taxes every year, you might wonder if these professionals could help you protect your practice’s assets, loans, and make wise financial decisions.
While these professionals are sure to be excellent at what they do, they are mostly inappropriate for a long term financial consultancy. A bank’s aim is to receive the return and interest of your loan, and a stockbroker or investment firm takes fees based on your earnings. An accountant is an expert in audits, taxes, and how your business is performing, but may not have the experience or expertise to give sound long term advice.
You will still need these professionals to maintain a healthy financial life, and your ideal financial advisor may operate under another of these hats to help you with problems as they arise. However, your expert should at least have experience or qualifications to advise you on long term goals, such as expansion, moving, and retirement.
Come prepared to meet your financial advisor (ideally recommended by another physician or friend) with questions such as, how are they paid? Are they a fiduciary and required to work in your best interest? What is the all-in cost and how will they be paid?
If you feel you only need a short session of advice for an individual problem or question, you can still find sound advice with an advisor and forego their services once you’re satisfied. You can also choose to hire a consultant instead, who will help you address an issue and who expect to work with you until your goals are achieved.
Are you or your office manager tag-teaming your billing? If so, you probably burn some precious time after office hours are over, and you might often run into challenges with insurance companies you’re not sure how to handle. Office managers are amazing professionals, but even if they are experienced billers, they are not likely to have enough time in the day to complete billing and office management tasks.
With a billing expert to take over, your claims can be completed with the proper time and care required to allow them to return with the payments you deserve. If you’re wondering if there is enough workflow for a biller to be occupied in your office full time, you can consider hiring part time or outsourcing to a billing company such as PedsOne, a pediatrics-specific billing company. PCC clients can opt to have billing completed by Peds One and integrated easily into the EHR.
Running a business and hiring employees means that the employer-employee relationship with your staff usually means a headache now and then. If you’re having trouble with tardiness or questions about FMLA, an HR professional will have the answers.
However, whether or not you have long term issues or simple questions, your practice is still required by law to have an HR representative available for employees to refer to at any time. Employees need HR professionals to consult with over important personal matters, such as when they have questions about benefits, discipline, and equitable treatment at the workplace.
If your HR professional is also your biller, office manager, or another professional at your office, reconsider. HR professionals need to be uniquely qualified to give the appropriate advice to employees and completely unbiased to the results of advice or actions taken.
In a small practice, a consulting HR professional is a great choice, because they can be available as needed for questions and concerns, while also guiding or performing required audits to keep employees, equipment, and your practice safe and legal.
To learn more about HR practices for the independent pediatric practice, see our blog post: Is Your Practice Compliant?
The list of responsibilities for a physician are many, and when running a business is added to it, it can be stressful for pediatricians who were trained, after all, to be doctors and not business owners. When you’re planning for flu season, allergy weather, and next month’s sleeping class, it’s important to take every one of these smaller decisions and consider how they benefit your business. Are your goals to bring in more patients, or improve engagement with your existing families?
If you need help planning for long term success, negotiating terms with insurance companies, or simply budgeting for a new vaccine fridge, a business consultant can help you.
Many consultants are trained to help small business owners succeed, but the unique needs of a pediatric office may require the services of a pediatric management consultant. You have many resources to consider, including:
- The Pediatric Practice Management Alliance, a subgroup of SOAPM
- Independent pediatric-specific consultants
- Companies such as The Verden Group and The Pediatric Management Institute, whose goal is to support pediatricians and healthcare professionals
- PCC’s practice management team, led by nationally recognized speaker and consultant Chip Hart. While PCC as a whole aims to help pediatricians succeed, the practice management consultants are experts at looking at your practice’s data, history, and goals to help you achieve your best potential.
Whether you’re planning to start a pediatric practice right out of residency or wish your established independent practice had a better handle on your business’ finances, HR policies, or billing, it’s worth remembering that success all comes down to who you’ve got in your corner. Outsourcing experts who are qualified, compassionate, and experienced can bring you the assistance, clarity, and peace of mind you need to perform your work as a physician and business owner.
Want to hear from Chip Hart how your practice should set its prices? Check out the webinar below to learn how to earn the maximum revenue without moving costs to your patients: