Monday, June 1, 2015
Avoiding the Potential Legal Quicksand of Opening ann Urgent Care
Opening an urgent care can be a fulfilling experience but to be successful takes more than good medical care.
The Top Four Legal Issues to Consider When Opening an Urgent Care Center article describes significant legal issues that need to be considered during the planning stages. In addition to the usual components of a business such as location, leadership, work-flow processes, and timing; the medical business has certain legal concerns.
1. Corporate practice of medicine is outlawed in some states and mechanisms including a “friendly PC” model can be used.
2. State licensure requirements including a CLIA certificate of waiver for laboratory testing, x-ray permits, and any other licenses needed in that state.
3. Understanding any EMTALA requirements is key to the viability of the center. Particular attention needs to be paid to the “naming of the center”. Adding the word Emergency will imply, the center is a 24 hour practice that is specifically under the EMTALA laws. Hospital owned urgent cares must have their legal team evaluate any responsibility to the law.
4. Have your insurance contracts in order prior to opening or face a potential cash flow issue. These negotiations take time.
Some other issues of particular significance are:
1. Location, Location, Location
2. Times of service
3. Types of providers
4. Credentialing those providers. This is a cumbersome time consuming task which may need to be outsourced.
5. Marketing-Establishing contact with the local community by providing school physicals, blood pressure checks, flu shots, etc.
6. Being undercapitalized and suffering cash flow issues
7. Picking an Electronic Health Record and Practice Management system that is efficient and pays for itself.
8. Understanding the difference between using a billing company and doing self-billing.
9. Hiring the right practice manager.
10. Not expecting a “paycheck” right away.
11. Fill in the blanks
12. Hiring a consultant to help with the start-up, if these steps are too daunting or too much aggravation.
With a proper vision, an urgent care can be an enjoyable way to provide quality medical care. This can lead to career longevity and adequate reimbursement.