Career OpportunitiesOpening and operating a private, for profit diagnostic service is a most rewarding personal and professional experience. The advantages over employment in either a not for profit laboratory (university/hospital) or a private, for profit laboratory are many. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, maximum flexibility, independence, no theoretical limits on income or growth and development, sense of pride in ownership and entrepreneurship and, opportunity for legacy. But the rewards must be balanced against the risks and responsibilities of small business ownership. If you are risk averse or frightened of business responsibilities read no further. Among the risks and responsibilities that must be considered are: acquiring and servicing debt, legal responsibilities and liabilities, risk management, personnel issues such as hiring/firing and evaluating/rewarding, contracts, licenses, taxes, ever changing federal and state regulations, dealing with third parties, fee setting, marketing/competition, managing money, and planning for retirement/succession. If the list seems daunting, it is. But, there is nothing in the list that is not manageable with professional help, proper planning and diligent, hard work.
All of the issues that were listed in the section regarding opening a diagnostic service in a University are appropriate here as well. But in addition, one must have legal advice about how the practice will be named (state dental practice acts will have to be reviewed for restrictions/limitations), stock issued, types of incorporation, adding associates or partners, dissolving or selling the practice, and other issues best left to local attorneys to discuss with you. Attorney services should be used to evaluate contracts when space is found and is to be leased or purchased. Software programs for laboratory functions such as accessioning, reports, doctor lists, and etc. need to be researched and demonstrated before committing to purchase. Financial software for billing, insurance, claims submission, cash management, auditing, check writing and etc. need to be similarly researched and demonstrated before committing. The services of an accountant and the use of a collections agent will be invaluable to you.
There are so many issues, large and small, to be considered that it is impossible to list them all here for risk of omitting important ones. For that reason, it is vital that you talk with other OMFP who have developed successful private diagnostic services.