You’ve made the decision to launch a direct primary care (DPC) practice, either as a completely new operation or by converting patients over from your traditional practice. Now you are concerned about the costs involved. With some careful planning and budgeting, you can afford to start a DPC practice to better serve your primary care patients.
The first step is to develop a budget. Include in that budget, the potential cost of:
- Office space, including utilities
- Medical equipment
The good news is that you can save a lot of money on furniture and equipment by purchasing surplus from local hospitals or surplus stores.
Do some research to determine where you want your DPC practice to be located and then get as much information as you can about available office space in that area. Overhead is much lower in a DPC practice than in the traditional primary care model, but you will still need an office and minimal staff.
Your office does not have to be large or expansive, since your patient panel will be smaller in a DPC practice than in the traditional model. Your staff will consist primarily of an assistant who can check in patients and help you in the exam room. You will not need an insurance coder or biller, since your income will be based on monthly membership fees and not third-party reimbursement.
To market your new practice, you can use low-cost or no-cost options. Word of mouth is the most effective way to promote your services, particularly if you have already established a number of satisfied patients. Social media posts to educate potential patients about what a DPC practice is and how it can benefit them will cost you nothing except the time it takes to craft an appropriate and effective message.
An affordable electronic health record (EHR) solution will further aid you in running an efficient practice, while enabling you to offer the highest quality care to your patients.
You can afford to start a DPC practice if you do your research and plan accordingly. Start-up costs could be in the $20,000-$25,000 range, which can quickly be recouped in membership fees as well as fees for additional services you can choose to offer at your practice.
When searching for the right office space, balance the convenience factor for your patients with the affordability of the neighborhood for your practice. Choosing a smaller office can save money and still give you and your patients the space you need. Low overhead costs also lets you keep your membership fees low, so you’ll be able to attract more patients to your new practice.
Looking beyond the start-up, choosing the right location and hiring qualified staff can also benefit you in the long run. As you budget and plan for your new practice, you will need to consider how to keep it sustainable as well as how to position it for growth and success in the long term.