Practicing alternatives & side hustles for doctors

By Physician Sense, for MDLinx
Published October 3, 2018

Key Takeaways

Tired of taking the pittance offered to you by insurance companies for your services? Or, are you looking for a medical side-hustle to make a few extra mortgage payments? Before you burn out or make a major financial mistake, consider your options.

There are several that may interest you, says Doug Graham, Senior Management Consultant at Doctors Management. But proceed with caution. You must deal well with change to consider any of the alternative approaches in this post, Graham says.

“You’re going to be on call 24-7. You will be spending a lot more time with patients. You’re going to be delivering better healthcare, but it’s going to be very different from what you’re doing. You need to know how you’re going to adapt to that new model. You’ve got to really understand how you’re really going to change.”

Option 1: Direct Primary Care

If you’re looking to get out of the insurance game, Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a sound option. DPC is a subscription-based business model in which patients pay a monthly fee, usually between $25-$100, for access to your basic services, such as lab work and wellness visits. Your primary client base, Graham says, is going to be Millennials and Gen-X-ers.

“The reason being is that they may or may not want to be involved with insurance companies, paying those astronomical insurance premiums every month.”

DPC offers the major advantage of upfront pricing. Fees might be higher than insurance, but there are no billing surprises for patients. DPC usually offers physicians the opportunity to spend more time face-to-face with patients, Graham says. EMRs become a thing of the past under this mode (unless you want them). You can maintain patient records as you see fit.

Consider the following example: An internist working a fee-for-service practice in the suburbs of Atlanta wants to become DPC. The doctor is in their mid-40s, works five days weekly, and has a large patient base. Graham estimates that this doctor could expect annual revenues of about $350,000-$400,000 in about one or two years, once they reach 500-600 patients. The major caveat is that the doctor will retain only about 5-10 percent of their existing patient base. That means the doctor will have to hustle to bring in new patients.

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