Have you thought about starting a healthcare business? The good news is this is a great time to get into the healthcare industry. Health care is in high demand, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
The demand is linked to several factors, including a growing population of aging baby boomers. By 2030, an estimated one-fifth of the population will be over the age of 65. Aging Americans are also living longer, feeding the demand for healthcare.
Healthcare spending is also set to increase at an average yearly rate of 5.5 percent through 2026.
But before you can start a healthcare business in this lucrative industry, you need to do plenty of research and preparation before you open your doors.
Create a Business Plan
Once you decide to move forward in starting a healthcare business, you need to develop a solid healthcare business plan, which will serve as a roadmap for your company operations and its path to success. This overview is the base of your company and will be needed for each step to follow. A healthcare business plan includes the following:
- Executive summary – Explain the basics of your company.
- Company description – Write the mission and goals of your healthcare business.
- Services – Describe what services you will be providing.
- Marketing plan – How will people learn about your business? Decide the pricing of your business as well.
- Management and organization – Describe the ownership structure of your healthcare business.
- Operational plan – Explain the facility and staff, as well as supplies you will need to operate.
- Financial plan – This is where you will write a cash flow projection, balance sheet, and break-even analysis.
In order to allow patients to use their insurance coverage at your healthcare business, you will need to contact the major insurance carriers in your area and find out what is required to become credentialed.
Start the contracting process at least six months before opening to ensure you have rates and discounts agreed upon before you receive patients. Having a fee for service (FFS) or cash payment schedule in advance will allow the front desk staff to collect the appropriate amount before the patient is seen.
Before you can open any business, you need a business license. Licensing requirements don’t stop there and vary from state to state. Contact your state licensing agency to determine the licenses an urgent care center needs to operate in your jurisdiction. It can take several months to get some licenses, so plan accordingly when considering an opening date.
You will also need to apply for any other necessary licenses or permits in your jurisdiction and request your employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
Establish a Billing Process
Billing controls your revenue stream, so it is vital to have timely reimbursements from payers. Delays from payers or frequent mistakes in claim submissions can significantly impact your bottom line.
Determine a billing process before opening. Consider using a third-party billing company, and have access to accounting figures.
Selecting a Location
Will you rent or buy your business space? Once you decide, you should work with an experienced commercial realtor to help you establish your business in an area where you can attract and grow your clientele. You can also request demographic information from the local chamber of commerce or census agency. Local competition and traffic volume should factor into your decision.
If you’re thinking about hiring employees, then you must learn the state and federal employment law as well as federal employment law. It’s a good idea to work with an accountant, especially in your first year of business, to guide you through the paperwork.
Funding the Business
How will you fund your business? You could go the traditional route and get a loan through a bank or the Small Business Administration. You can also try bootstrapping your business which means you fund it yourself with your savings accounts, credit cards, and leveraging other personal assets. You can also ask friends and family to invest initial capital into your business.
Products and Services
To properly execute the job, you will need to research the proper equipment for your healthcare business, from exam tables to blood pressure cuffs. You will also need to establish relationships with suppliers and wholesalers to get the best deals on highly utilized products like gloves, masks, bandages, etc. You will also need to decide what services you will provide, to whom, and at what cost.
You will need to find qualified doctors and nurses as well as various assistants and technicians. Your healthcare business will also need office staff, including at least one receptionist, billing specialist, and other staff such as custodians. Most of the positions come with their own licensing, certification, and education requirements, which you can request from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the licensing board for the specific fields.
The Franchising Option
If all the above is making you rethink opening your own healthcare business, you might consider partnering with a franchise. One of the major advantages to becoming a franchise owner is that so many of these decisions and resources listed above are already in place. If you have no experience in the field, the franchisor will provide the necessary training and support. The business plan has already been created, and you, as the franchisee, simply follow the established model.
Established in 1982, American Family Care (AFC) is the nation’s leading franchised provider of urgent care, accessible primary care, and occupational medicine. All AFC’s clinics are designed, equipped, and staffed to provide accessible primary care, urgent care, minor emergency treatment, and occupational medicine. Indeed, AFC has pioneered the concept of non-emergency room urgent care, resulting in an average patient visit of about an hour from registration to discharge. Underlying this efficiency is a high-tech, high-touch approach — including digital x-rays, on-site lab testing, state-of-the-art diagnostics, electronic medical records, and well-trained teams of medical professionals.
One of the biggest benefits of being part of an AFC franchise is the business that comes through the partnership. You will receive the company’s name value and brand awareness that resonates with the customers. That means less time promoting the business and attracting clients, so you can focus on running daily operations. Marketing and PR are part of the franchise agreement, giving you additional visibility and additional customers. American Family Care franchise owners receive these benefits to help them establish and grow their business.
A lot of work and preparation goes into starting a healthcare business. The advantage to buying a franchise is many decisions are already made, and the support and resources are there for you. If you would like to know more about the opportunities with AFC, the nation’s leading urgent care franchise, click here.