Moving into private practice can be one of the scariest and most rewarding adventures. It can feel so overwhelming trying to navigate the unknowns of what has to be done and in what order. My hope is that this series helps you if you're wanting to start a nutrition private practice, or if you're just curious what this potential avenue may look like if you pursue this route in the future.
In case you missed it, first read Steps 1-5 in: How to Start a Nutrition Private Practice - Part 1
HOW TO START A PRIVATE PRACTICE, as a registered dietitian, PART 2!
STEP 6: Open a bank account for your business
Having a separate bank account that you only use for your business will help keep assets divided. Some insurance companies require a separate bank account to deposit payments into, so this is also helpful to do before credentialing with insurance. Shop around! Different banks offer different deals and services for small business owners. Be mindful of yearly fees and transaction fees, those differ by bank as well.
STEP 7: Get liability insurance
There are 2 types of liability insurance that are typically necessary: Professional Liability Insurance and General Liability Insurance. They both serve as protection but in different ways - "professional" offers protection against professional services, "general" offers protection against damages typically related to your property. I recommend getting a few different quotes and asking each insurance company what is covered so you know exactly what you're paying for. If you offer virtual services, be sure to check if those are covered.
STEP 8: Create a system to manage finances
This step is important so that you keep all your costs organized which will help you file taxes much more easily when it comes time. I went with "Wave" which is online and free. Other popular options are Quickbooks or an Excel spreadsheet. At this point I also got an accountant on board to help navigate taxes, deductions, and bookkeeping best practices. I have a lot of colleagues in private practice who did not and did it all themselves, totally do whatever works for you!
STEP 9: Obtain a NPI (national provider identifier)
There are 2 kinds of NPI numbers: NPI I and NPI II. NPI I is for you personally. If you have a NPI I from a prior job, use the same one. That NPI will follow you. NPI II is for your business. NPI II is helpful to have if you want to add other clinicians under your business later.
STEP 10: Decide if you will take insurance & how you will accept payment
There is no right or wrong decision here. If you do decide to take insurance, fill out your CAQH. If you're in Washington state, it is called One Health Port. This is like the "general app" for insurance companies. Once you fill this out, most insurance companies will pull your information from this application in their credentialing process. There are a ton of helpful resources on credentialing with insurance, so I won't go into detail here. As far as payment goes, if you are taking credit cards, find a credit card processing like Square or Stripe.
Once you've done Steps 1-10, you're almost ready to go! So close!
Part 3 will go over: documents needed and other miscellaneous items!
**Disclaimer: the above is purely based on my own experience and is not a substitute for legal or accounting advice.