As a practice management solution provider, we’ve proudly helped launch a variety of physical therapy startups. In doing so, we’ve seen (and even worked at in a past life) everything from the traditional outpatient clinic to specialized elder care to athlete-focused to pediatric care practices and beyond.
While many of the foundational aspects of launching and sustaining these private practices will remain the same, it’s important to note that when you niche into a specialized care, you can also expect to diverge from the crowd in a few areas of business. Whether it’s a passion, opportunity or a combination of both, many physical therapists are leaning into starting a pediatric practice.
Opportunity is certainly there: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that employment in pediatric care will grow by 30% between 2016 and 2026. Passion towards protecting this vulnerable population is there as well: Childhood sports and school or household accidents are a daily occurrence. Specialized care can go a long way in treating our pediatric community and giving them the best chance at rehab and recovery so they can live to their potential.
If you’re considering launching a physical therapy practice for pediatric patients, let’s examine how you can leverage the demand for pediatric-based physical therapy to get started on the right foot.
6 Steps to Starting a Pediatric Private Practice
1. Do Your Research
Obviously. Nevertheless, too many business owners pursue a calling without effectively analyzing and auditing the local competition and opportunities. However, that doesn’t mean it is the right niche to move in if the neighborhood population is mostly aged 65+.
Next, you must consider the technology and programs necessary for pediatric care. What tools and techniques are seeing the best outcomes? What environment is providing the best pre and post session results, etc?
2. Obtain the Appropriate Certifications
If you are planning to open a specialized therapy practice, you may have already worked in the industry and recognize the need for more specialized pediatric care. Nevertheless, this is when you can be taking the Continued Education Courses that focus on pediatric care and collecting any necessary certifications for a pediatric private practice.
It’s always best to work with experts to make sure all the right boxes are checked and your practice is appropriately protected since rules and compliances may vary from state to state.
3. Understand the Local Law
To dig deeper into our last point, you can’t just start operating without understanding state and local ordinances. Part of your process needs to be surveying the legal aspects of starting your business, primarily because companies focusing on children carry their own compliances and expectations.
Be sure to correctly incorporate and look at the tax ramifications of registering your business within your state. We recommend evaluating your state’s Early Intervention Program and learning the ins and outs of your state’s Medicaid rules and regulations. For all compliances related to your private practice, leverage our private practice compliance services.
4. Develop a Business Plan
There is a treasure trove of resources within MEG Academy’s Startup Accelerator program. Again, the concept begins at a basic level: You wouldn’t create a program for a patient without identifying and understanding their injuries or needs. In this way, you shouldn’t start a business without understanding how it will function and sustain itself.
Is there any outside funding that you must repay within a certain period? How will you account for location vetting, clinic buildout, staffing, overhead, marketing etc.? Are you opening an actual location or will you be a mobile clinic?
Knowing what your business will look like early on is vital, so be sure to build out your clinic’s vision statement and then build around what it will take to achieve your mission.
5. Register your Clinic
Once you have done your research and planned out how your pediatric therapy practice will operate, you’ll need to register your clinic. That means you’ll need to develop an official name and then provide that name to any state and local agencies necessary.
Setting up your LLC will establish your tax ID number (EIN) which you can use to open a bank account specifically for the business. From there, you should get some general professional liability insurance and then start working with insurances that you want to accept at your practice. (This is another area where MEG’s team can help!)
6. Start Finding Pediatric Patients
With your practice planned, established and open for business, you need to direct your attention to managing the in-house or outsourced systems that keep operations streamlined. This will help you direct more of your attention to finding patients.
This almost always starts with referrals based on past or new relationships with parents and doctors, specifically their referrals clerk. You’ll need to network and go to where the parents and physicians are so they know that your practice is up and running and specialized in the very area they care most about.
In the same way, you need to set up the appropriate physical therapy marketing strategy that will help people using search engines find you.
It’s Time to Open Up and Get Started
As your passion leads you into this highly rewarding category of physical therapy, our practice management coaches would love to help set you up for success.
Join MEG Academy to get the tools, tips and techniques necessary to launch a successful practice built sturdily on an optimized foundation of operations, environment, personnel, and structure!