What I Wish I Had Known When I Bought My Practice

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By Natalie Bissoon, OD, of Richmond Hill, New York

I purchased a historic practice in our community, and it’s been a great fit for me, allowing me to practice close to home and make time for my children. But there are many things I wish I had known that would have helped me with my financial planning from the beginning.

Here’s my best advice for my colleagues who are looking to purchase a practice.

Look closely at the details, specifically the cosmetic features of the office, the instrumentation and patient base. I discovered a few bumps in the road after I purchased the business and wish I had more carefully analyzed these areas. I had no idea that there was no subfloor beneath the space, and my equipment was functional but so outdated that hardly any of it could be serviced or updated. The practice did have an existing patient base but some of it had dwindled due to the former owner’s limitations and health issues.

Start the process for credentialing/re-credentialing for insurance plans as soon as possible. I laid some of the groundwork by getting on as many insurance plans as I could early on in my career. But since I was moving to and practicing in a new state there was a re-credentialing process that could not begin until I officially took ownership and had the paperwork to prove it. Make this a priority: Insurance is a big deal, and I was here but couldn’t see those patients because I wasn’t on the panel and I wouldn’t get paid. The process to get your approval can be lengthy—ranging from 30 days to more than one year.

Understand all important processes, even if you intend to eventually delegate. I’m licensed as both an optician and optometrist, and I attended a three-month CE program on medical billing because I’m handling that responsibility in the office for now. You have to teach yourself; you have to know how to do it. At the end of the day, the practitioner is solely responsible for the billing, and any person or company you hire is not liable but you are. You have to make sure they are doing it right for you.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Bissoon's practice and the changes made when she purchased it.