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Private Practice
with Julie Hanks, MSW, LCSW, BCD

Business

6 Things I Learned from ‘Breaking Up’ With Managed Care

It was a scary step to resign from all insurance panels! I wasn't aware of any therapists who had built a fee-for-service practice in my area. The things I learned in the process of were better than I had expected.

When my practice Wasatch Family Therapy transitioned from managed care panels to a private pay model over a decade ago, I anticipated a few things would happen; I knew that this business decision would help allow me more control over the type and length of therapy, that I would have less paperwork, and I would get paid at the time of service. However, there were some unexpected lessons I learned as well. Here are 6 things I learned from breaking up with managed care:



I Learned:



 the value of my perceived value.     

When potential clients learned that I employed a private pay model, they seemed to perceive me as a more competent provider. "You must be really good if you don't have to be on insurance panels." My clinical skills hadn't changed, but my perceived value went up because of how I presented my services. It's surprising how much the way we clinicians value and present ourselves affect how others see us.


Business

3 Ways Managed Care is Hurting Your Practice


This is not the first time you've heard me share my perspective on the problems of building private practice based on managed care. The original intent of these third-party companies was to ensure equity for those who receive treatment, but the actual results have been far from successful and have caused a myriad of problems. Some have even described managed care as the cause of the mental health care crisis. And while managed care wreaks havoc on the field as a whole, this system is also problematic for private therapy practices. As a clinician, I can certainly attest to this. My guess is that you can too. Here are the 3 main ways that using managed care panels may be hurting your practice:


Blog Challenge

Therapist Blog Challenge #18: Agree to Disagree


Therapist blog challenge #18 deals with how to have a disagreement with a loved one while still preserving your relationship.   

[Headline] Come up with a catchy title for your blog post. Here are a few examples:

Debating with Dignity: How to Disagree and Still Be Friends

Maintaining Relationships When You Having Different Opinions

Agree to Disagree: Respectfully Holding Differing Views


Business

How Media Exposure Can Grow Your Practice: Podcast Interview

I thought you'd you enjoy this lively interview with Joe Sanok of Practice of the Practice Podcast about my private practice journey from a solo practitioner to a clinic with 3 locations and 20 employees. We cover a lot of ground during this podcast!  In addition to tips about gaining media exposure you'll also find:

Tips to land high profile media interviews.

The biggest lesson I learned when resigning from managed care.

The book that helped transform my practice.


Adventures In Private Practice

Adventures in Private Practice: Weight Management Counselor Michelle Lewis, LCSW

This series highlights the successful private practitioners' journey in private practice so you can learn from their successes and missteps. One of the unexpected benefits of writing this blog is that I've been able to meet and connect with practitioners around the globe. The therapist featured today actually is not on the other side of the world, but is in the same city, and practices only a few blocks away from my practice.

Michelle Lewis, LCSW and I worked together for one consultation and since then, I've been able to watch her really dig in, focus on her niche, and develop a successful practice. She is not only a great practice owner, but is a compassionate person and passionate about her work. Get to know Michelle.

Tell me about your practice…   

I own a group practice called Salt Lake Weight Counseling. We specialize in helping clients identify and overcome emotional barriers to weight management. We specifically target emotional eating, food addiction, body image, and patterns of self-sabotage. Working with these issues, we also treat a significant amount of trauma. By addressing the trauma, we are able to help  clients heal their relationship with food and end the war with their body.


Business

4 Steps to Breaking Up with Managed Care

Breaking Up is Hard to Do


We've talked a lot recently about the benefits of switching from using a managed care system to a private pay model. It benefits your clients, it benefits you, and overall it just benefits your practice (click here for a post detailing the math and financial advantage of a self-pay model)! But how exactly do you do it? It's quite a change, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are 4 strategies to help you make the transition:


Ethics

The Power of Online Presence: Blogger Dawn Friedman uses her Advanced SEO Skills to Rank High in Google


Discover how some very successful mental health professionals use blogging, social media, and other technologies as powerful tools for their therapy practices.

Dawn Friedman, MSEd LPC, is a clinical counselor specializing in issues surrounding family building, including infertility, adoption, pregnancy, and parenting. An early adopter of technology, Dawn started a blog that became the basis of her strong online presence and has helped her grow a thriving practice. Read about her story here:


Business

4 Ways a Private Pay Practice Model Benefits Clients

The value of using a private pay model (instead of a managed care system) for your therapy practice is clear: less stress about additional paperwork requirements, greater autonomy to provide the services you deem are in the client's best interest, and immediate payment of your full fee are some of the main advantages. But some therapists are understandably hesitant about how to make the switch because of the potential impact this choice it might have on their clients.

Some common fears are “Clients might stop getting the therapy they need because they can’t afford me” or “charging a higher fee is selfish and means I care more about money than helping people.” When I was considering making the switch, I too had thoughts like these cross my mind. But I discovered that the opposite was true; breaking up with managed care and embracing the new way of structuring my practice actually benefited clients who received services. Here are 4 ways that a private pay model benefits clients:


Blog Challenge

Therapist Blog Challenge #17: Managing Social Anxiety


Here's another Therapist Blog Challenge to get your creative juices flowing!

Therapist Blog Challenge #17 deals with how to cope with Social Anxiety Disorder. Those who experience this condition often feel crippling insecurity and fear in social situations. Here's some inspiration to write a post where you explain what SAD is and also offer ways to effectively manage it.