Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that telehealth visits saw an 154% increase in 2020.
Telehealth services have become a life-saving necessity in the healthcare industry. Doctors have been able to provide clinical services to patients with telemedicine. Telehealth appointments give medical practitioners the chance to meet with patients. They may diagnose and treat injuries and illness. This helps ensure the safety of patients. They receive the care they need from the comfort of home. It’s especially critical for patients with pre-existing medical conditions.
Telehealth will continue to be an in-demand industry in the healthcare sector. As of 2020, 48% of physicians in the United States offer telemedicine services. Patients enjoy the convenience and treatment they receive through a telehealth visit. Telehealth providers experienced success with telehealth and telemedicine services throughout COVID-19. They will continue to offer these options in their private practices.
What should individuals know before entering the telehealth industry? Here’s what they need to know about starting a telehealth business.
Understand State Laws Surrounding Telemedicine
How do you practice telemedicine? Medical professionals may use a device with video access. This includes an app, smartphone, or computer to connect with patients.
First, understand your state of incorporation’s telemedicine laws. This will allow you to learn what is and isn’t permitted in a virtual setting. You will also be able to determine how your telehealth practice delivers its services. This may be in a direct-to-consumer manner. Or, it may be through hub-and-spoke. In some states, for example, telemedicine laws require face-to-face interaction. Situations like these will require taking videoconference calls where the doctor may see the patient in their home.
It’s also important to learn how much Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans will pay for telemedicine visits as well as laws for e-prescriptions. Not sure where to look for answers? Check in with the state medical board and the American Telemedicine Association as resources to answer your questions.
Prepare a Business Plan
A helpful tool for your telehealth business is its business plan. This document establishes the company’s foundation. You may set goals for the business. Then, establish timelines to reach each one.
A business plan also gives you a chance to share more information about your telehealth business and its offerings. Conduct a market analysis to learn about your customer base. Share details about leadership and their responsibilities and health backgrounds. Then, share financial projections about the business. These numbers will shift as the company grows over time.
Choose a Business Name
The name of your telehealth business will help patients identify it. Think of a business name. Then, file to trademark the name.
Conduct a name search prior to filing your trademark application. This ensures that nobody else is currently using the mark. It also means there aren’t any pending applications.
Is the mark available for use? Now, file a trademark application. This will give the owner of the business exclusive rights to the mark. It ensures nobody else uses or plagiarizes the name.
Incorporate as a PC or PLLC
Generally, we advise small businesses to form corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs). However, those in the medical profession are licensed professionals. As such, they must incorporate as a specialized entity formation.
Telehealth and telemedicine professionals may choose to incorporate as a professional corporation (PC). Or, they may choose a professional limited liability company (PLLC). Choosing the right entity will depend on your telehealth business needs. This also depends on any partners that may be joining the business with you.
Remember that when you file to incorporate as a PC or PLLC you will need to provide proof of good standing. For example, consider your state license. This document is evidence of your professional occupation. It may be shared as relevant proof of your profession.
Establish a Physical Address
If you’re starting a telehealth business, you don’t need a physical address to conduct business — right?
Not quite. Insurance providers bill doctors by their physical street address. Your telehealth business will need a physical address. This allows you to offer a hybrid of telemedicine and general healthcare services to patients.
Where else does a telehealth business need a street address? Incorporating as a PC or PLLC requires a street address for your incorporation documents. The telehealth business will also need a registered agent service. A registered agent acts as the point of contact between the company and the state. An RA must also have a street address. They need to be available during general business hours to accept official documents.
Obtain Required Licenses and Permits
State laws surrounding telemedicine vary by state. As such, the licenses and permits this practice requires to operate vary in each state.
Check in with your local Secretary of State. You will be able to find out which business licenses and/or permits your telehealth business needs. This allows it to operate in a specific city, county, and the state.
Obtain a Tax ID
Your telehealth practice will need its own business bank account. In order to open this account, you must file for an employer identification number (EIN).
An EIN is a federal tax ID. The IRS issues this nine-digit number to businesses. It legally identifies the business. This tax ID ensures it remains in compliance paying federal and payroll taxes. What else can an EIN do? You may hire employees with an EIN. Building your team is key for the success of a telehealth business.
Additional Telehealth Startup Information
Please keep in mind that is a basic guide for starting a telehealth startup. For more information about starting a telehealth business, visit the American Medical Association. Review their Telehealth Implementation Playbook to further identify telehealth needs. You will learn how to design workflow, scale, and evaluate success as a telehealth business.
Let’s help incorporate your telehealth practice today! Visit us at mycorporation.com or call us at 877-692-6772.