The Guide: Table of Contents (the steps)

cover of guide

The 14 Concrete (but not so hard!) Steps to Private Practice: Plus, six more steps to consider is now available exclusively on Amazon.

See Table of Contents below.

This step-by-step guide is loaded with concrete and specific information, resources, tips, reading assignments, pros and cons, and a healthy dose of encouragement to pursue your dream of having your own private psychotherapy practice.

Table of Contents
Why this Guide?
What You Will Find in this Guide
A Quick Note Regarding LLC, PLLC, Incorporation, S-Corp, and Group Practice
How to Use the Guide
First Assignments
Staying Organized
Success Factors
Step One – Consider Your Experience & Regional Area / Name Your Practice
Social Workers
Insurance Panels in your Area
Assignment: Name Your Business
Step Two – Establish Your Tax Id Number (TIN) – SSN vs EIN
Assignment: Get Your EIN
Step Three – Establish Your Practice Address
Ways to Find an Office
Things to Think About When Choosing an Office
Assignment: Go get your office!
Step Four – Email, Phone, Fax, Internet Access, Scanning
Read about the Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
All-inclusive Services
Read about email security and HIPAA Compliance
Here are four HIPAA Compliant email examples to check out:
Assignment: Choose Email & Create your Signature with Disclaimer
Read about texting and confidentiality
Assignment: Get Your Phone Number
Fax Assignment: Get Your Fax Number or at least have a plan
Internet Access at a Physical Office
Assignment: Decide on Initial Internet Access
Read about Camscanner app warning
Step Five – Get Your Business License
Assignment: Search for your city’s business licensing office
Assignment: Get Your Business License / Pay Licensing Fees & Taxes
Step Six – Order Business Cards & Other Signage
Assignment: Order Business Cards
Step Seven – Join Your Professional Organization
Licensed Marriage Family Therapists
Social Workers
Assignment: To Join or Not to Join, That is the Question
Step Eight – Get Insured
More about Additional Insured Coverage
Assignment: Purchase liability insurance (professional liability, general commercial liability, cyber, and additional insured if needed).
Step Nine – Get Your National Provider Identification (NPI)
First: Read about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 NPI
NPI National Provider Number – National Plan & Provider Enumeration System
Assignment: Get Your NPI & Make Note of Your Taxonomy Code
Step Ten – Set Up Your Business Checking Account
Assignment: Get Your Business Checking Account
Assignment: Make a voided check, scan, and upload it to your computer
Step Eleven – Set Your Fees
Read – Learn what you are charging for.
Read more about CPT codes
Everyone: Read to learn more about setting your fees and see session rates
Your Fees vs. Your Contracted Rate
HBAI Health and Behavior Assessment Intervention
Read to learn about HBAI
Read about social workers and HBAI (why we don’t get paid for HBAI)
Sliding Scale
Read about Sliding Scale
Two examples of sliding scale
Assignment: Focus on and develop your fees for the following list
Psychotherapy Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes
Step Twelve – Decide Who Will Do Your Billing (and more…)
Collecting Payments
For Cash
Billing Insurance
Deciding Who Will Do Your Insurance Claims Billing
Read about Dual Eligible clients (Medicare + Medicaid eligible)
If you chose an individual to do your billing
Choosing an Agency to Do Your Billing
Questions You Should Ask a Billing Agency
DIY – Let’s give you an idea of what you are getting into in terms of claims billing.
Here’s an Option: Start with a professional biller then transition to DIY later
What’s a Clearinghouse, you ask? (finally, we are here)
Assignment: Decide Who Will Do Your Billing, Initially
Reading Recommendations for growing your billing competency
Step Thirteen – Choose Your Charting Method – Electronic Health Record (EHR) vs Paper
Paper vs Electronic Health Record
Read: why choose an EHR
More About EHR with Integrated Billing
Assignment: Decide on Initial Charting Method
Step Fourteen – Create Your Forms & Celebrate!
Assignment: Develop your forms
If you’ve completed the 13 prior steps, as soon as your forms are ready, you are set up to see clients!
Step Fifteen – To Home Visit or Not to Home Visit
Assignment: Decide if You’ll Do Home Visits, Initially
Additional Information related to billing and location of session
Step Sixteen – Applying to Insurance Panels
The Paperwork – Don’t Get Discouraged – Practice Patience – Be Here Now! (again, and repeatedly…)
Social Workers: Time to Think about Medicare Again
If You are an Eligible Provider, Get Enrolled with Medicare First (before commercial insurances and Medicaid)
EVERYONE – Apply to State Medicaid/Medi-Cal (Social Workers – take this step after you receive your Medicare PTAN)
Medicaid/Medi-Cal Managed Care Programs
EVERYONE – Applying to Commercial Insurance Panels
A Few Insurance Tidbits Specific to California, Medi-Cal, and/or Medicare
Everyone: Back to Determining which Insurance Panels to Apply to
Single Case Agreements – side note – a possibility when you are not on the panel
Assignment: Apply to Commercial Insurance Panels, enroll as an Accept Assignment Medicare Provider (if eligible), and apply to Medicaid/Medi-Cal
Step Seventeen – Get the Word Out – You’re Open for Business!
Assignment: Make a list of potential referral sources.
Assignment: Write and Send Your Introductory Letter
Step Eighteen – Establish Your Professional Will
Assignment: Read This & Prepare a Professional Will
Step Nineteen – Telemental Health/Teletherapy/Telebehavioral Health, or plain ole’ Telehealth, OH MY
Read about how the pandemic has changed mental healthcare
California Regulations/Codes for Telehealth
Medicare & Telemedicine
Terminology: Originating site and Distant site
Step Twenty – Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue, Burnout
Brief Overview of Compassion Fatigue and Burn Out
Assignment: ProQoL
Assignment: Read Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk
Assignment: Write Out the Nuts and Bolts of Your Self-Care Plan
Congratulations! 153
Appendices 154
Appendix A Expenses to Expect – Subletting
Appendix B Expenses to Expect – Your Own Office
Appendix C Checklist for Success
Appendix D User IDs/Names Passwords
Appendix E Sample Introductory Letter – use letterhead
Appendix F Sample Registration Form
Appendix G Sample Diagnostic Evaluation / Biopsychosocial Assessment
Appendix H Sample Payment Form for Chart
Appendix I Sample Confidential Psychotherapy Notes
Appendix J Sample Superbill
Appendix K Sample Progress Note
About the Author

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