When Should You Get A Collaborating Physician

We all know why you may need a collaborating physician, depending on what state you live in and where you want to practice if it’s a legal requirement. What is the best timeline to actually seek a physician? I would recommend breaking it down into two sorts of pathways. One is if you’re going to be taking insurance, and one is if you are not, and you’re going to be doing a cash based practice.

Insurance Path

If you’re taking insurance, you need to do credentialing. A lot of people don’t realize that if you’re in a state that requires a collaborator, usually some of the insurance providers will require the collaborating physician to be credentialed before you can be credentialed. It’s just one of those things, I think it’s so they know the physician is really a physician and then you will be tied to them. It’s not across the board, but it is very common. It seems that about half or more of insurance companies require that.

If you’re going the insurance route, you may most likely want to get your physician at least a few months before you want to open the door of your practice, because it does take usually 30 to 90 days to get credentialing done. I recommend working with a credentialing company (we have some recommendations on our Services NPs Love page) that can get it done as efficiently as possible. It’s very complicated. There’s lots of paperwork, there’s lots of fine print. I do know people who’ve done it on their own to save money and they’ve done a great job of it. But unless you’re very, very detail oriented and like getting into the nitty gritty, we would recommend working with the company.

Cash Practice

On the flip side, if you’re a cash practice, you really don’t need the collaborator until you’re ready to open the doors.

If you are going to offer, say, aesthetics or IV hydration you can get your physician a lot closer to the day you’re opening. The thing though, with these practices, there’s often paperwork, setting up accounts, and getting all the different medical supply companies you might be working with. They almost always want to know who your collaborating physician is to do that. So there’s still going to be a little bit of a lead time.

Maybe a month or two before you’re opening the door, you need the physician to get everything buttoned down. This is just from my experience of over a decade with collaboration.

This is sort of the breakdown I’ve seen and I’m doing this as a public service announcement because so many clients come and say, you know, I’m opening the doors tomorrow, I need the physician. But they haven’t realized all the work that should have been done before. If you’re getting the doctor right when the door opens, it’s already a bit late because the credentialing won’t be done or the accounts won’t be set up depending on which side of the coin you fall.


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