Self-pay Practice

November 1, 2005

We are a new solo pediatric office that isn't currently networked with any insurance carriers. I am looking for resources — for instance, other self-pay pediatric offices, management companies, publications, or seminars on how to grow as this type of practice. We do not want to wait for the "any willing provider" legislation. Can you help?

Question: We are a new solo pediatric office that isn't currently networked with any insurance carriers. I am looking for resources - for instance, other self-pay pediatric offices, management companies, publications, or seminars on how to grow as this type of practice. We do not want to wait for the "any willing provider" legislation. Can you help?

Answer: You can contract with commercial payers or your state Medicaid program without waiting for new willing provider laws unless you've already been refused contracts.

If you do want to go self-pay, you will need to focus on marketing and communicating to potential patients about why they should see you and pay instead of just going to a pediatrician on their insurance list (after all, this is how most people find physicians).

You also will want to be very clear about your fee schedule and whether or not you will help patients file with their insurance after they have paid you.

Be sure to think through your collection policy (do your best to collect at the time of service or to at least put a payment plan in place). Patients are notoriously slow to pay physicians if billed after the visit.