The ageing population is one of the main drivers of mobile health care where services are provided in people’s homes. Before diving in and setting up your own practice, you need to consider some essential aspects.
Create Your Legal Business Entity
According to the Australian Taxation Office, there are 4 commonly used business structures in Australia. These are listed below, and it might be worth getting advice from an accountant to discuss which would be suitable for you:
- Sole trader
Secure Sufficient Financing
You need to make sure that you have enough capital to support the operations of your venture for a significant length of time while you are in the startup phase. Keep in mind that if you are contracting through an agency, it may take some time for you to receive payments. In the mean time you will need to pay your clinicians and pay your operating costs.
According to the Max Funding business loan experts, “the healthcare industry is not based on routine, so trying to align things like payroll expenses with patient fees may be a challenge. Short term financing options from non-traditional lenders can cover the gap in capital and ensure your healthcare business is not caught without the funding it needs.”
Ensure that you are complying with regulations in advertising health services
The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme protects the public via the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. The National Law includes provisions on the advertising of regulated health services for AHPRA-governed professions including nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology. Visit the AHPRA website for information about advertising guidelines and regulation.
Under the National Law, a health service must not advertise in a way that:
- is false, misleading or deceptive
- uses gifts, discounts or inducements without explaining the terms and conditions of the offer
- uses a testimonial or a purported testimonial
- creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, and/or
- directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services
If you are applying for your initial provider number you will need to fill out a form, however, you are able to apply for a new provider location number using the Health Professional Online Services from the Department of Human Services. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your provider number to come through in case there are any unexpected delays.
Private Health Insurance Companies
You will need to get in touch with private health insurance companies and apply to be a provider. You also need to consider how you are going to process your clients’ claims with health insurance providers.
Get Insurance Coverage
You will need to get workers’ compensation insurance as well as professional indemnity and public liability policies. They will cover you against risks associated with anything that goes wrong when providing health services to your clients and any injuries that your staff may encounter when in people’s homes.
Establish a Payroll System
Your payroll system must meet legal standards. This can be achieved by using software and doing it yourself, or by outsourcing to a payroll service provider.
The importance of a payroll system, according to the payroll experts at Robinson Accounting, is ultimately about saving time. They explain “it can be tempting to try and wear many hats at the start of your healthcare business’ lifespan. But this is a risk. Investing in a payroll system is a safe, time saving option. More than that though, it reduces the risk of human error, and in the infancy of your healthcare startup it pays to avoid any potential hiccups.”
Set Up Your Billing Systems
Some home health care providers opt to bring their billing in-house by using billing software. However, some prefer outsourcing such services from professional medical billers that have software and systems designed around insurance and medical billing. The primary objective is to ensure that you have timely and accurate billing, which is vital for proper cash flow.
Hire Qualified Clinicians
It is important that you employ qualified health professionals. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has an employer’s guide to checking health practitioners’ registration, and it is important that you follow the guidelines if you are hiring AHPRA registered practitioners.