The YO Lounge Power Hour, “Meet With Practice Management Experts,” at AAO 2019 was designed to educate young ophthalmologists on starting a solo business, becoming a partner, avoiding billing mistakes and minimizing risks in their practice.
Lisa Nijm, MD, JD, Howard Chen, MD, Hardeep Dhindsa, MD, and K. David Epley, MD, discussed their different perspectives as solo practice owners. Lisa Harrison, PhD, and Sarah Rapuano, MBA, OCS, each gave perspectives from the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co. and from practice management.
Harrison, director of risk management for OMIC, the largest ophthalmology malpractice group, had a lot of information for YOs on pitfalls to avoid in their first years of practice
Dr. Nijm started her own practice from scratch in Illinois and had a lot of pearls for YOs about starting out.
Rapuano earned her MBA from Wharton and worked in finance. She was chief administrator for the cornea service at Wills Eye Hospital and is very active with the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives® (AAOE®) and planning the Ophthalmology Business Summit.
Moderating the session were Peter Karth, MD, MBA, and Arvind Saini, MD, MBA. Here are a few tips for YOs embarking on a solo practice or who just want to be better at managing their practices:
- Starting a solo practice. Sign up for the Solo Eye Docs listserv, get involved in the finances, know your Medicare Advantage penetration and lastly take advantage of Academy courses to minimize outsourcing.
- Becoming a partner. Understand the financials, voting power, get a private equity prenup and take AAOE course by Gregory Brinton.
- Learning how to bill and code. Start with Medicare denials or explanation of benefits (EOB), check claims and accounts receivable, and take the AAOE courses on learning to code from Sue Vicchrilli, COT, OCS, Academy director of coding and reimbursement.
- Decreasing your risks. Use OMIC and Academy informed consent videos, find a local second opinion for your patients, communicate with documentation, patients and staff and take an AAOE course!
In a nutshell, take AAOE courses and sign up for the Solo Eye Docs listserv. In seeking the best fit, find what makes you happy in a culture that allows you to take risks and grow. Change is hard, but it all works out.
“It should not be intimidating, nor should it be a barrier for YOs to wade into running their own practices or the practices they are involved with,” Dr. Saini says. “They do not need MBAs to figure this out, they just need a willingness to learn. It’s a very creative process.”