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Dr. McElveen Releases a New Book with Business Tips for Private Practice
Dr. Kristen McElveen released her first book, "Tips On Creating a Successful Practice: Based on the Ups and Downs of a ND in Private Practice," on September 3, 2013.
"What inspired me to write this book was the lack of guidance out there, from a business perspective, directly from someone who has owned an actual naturopathic practice. We NDs get a couple of business classes in school, but obviously, the bulk of the education is focused on clinical education and there isn't much time or money to spend on business and marketing seminars. Since Naturopathic Doctors aren't typically working in larger facilities, we've got to be both great doctors and great business owners in order to thrive in private practice. Sadly, I've seen some great doctors drown because they didn't have the business knowhow - both in the naturopathic and allopathic communities."
Dr. McElveen accomplished two years of residency after graduating from the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) (http://www.ncnm.edu) in 2007. Due to the amount of clinical internship incorporated into the core curriculum in naturopathic medical school, residencies are not yet required for NDs and are extremely competitive as there are very limited positions available.
“A mentor of mine told me when I was in school, ‘be sure to observe everything when you work with other doctors – both the business and the medicine.’ This advice was essential for me and I did make sure to pay attention to the front and back office structures both during my student shifts and through my residencies. I at least had an idea of what was working and what wasn’t for some people. But it’s totally different when you hang your own shingle. A lot of your knowledge goes out the window as you’re just trying to survive, be a good doctor and become a viable small business, especially in this economy. Things are changing, but slowly. As NDs, who are not currently considered Medicare providers, we aren’t eligible for a lot of the government incentives and grants that MDs and DOs are. It is very frustrating because we are trained as primary care providers [PCPs] and we can be a huge help in this PCP shortage, but without that Medicare acknowledgement, that simple recognition of getting our name on the list, we continue to go overlooked. The average ND graduates with $200K+ in student loans, just as allopathic medical students. Only, most of us have to then start a small business rather than join a large facility and get an instant salary. It only puts that much more pressure on us to instantly create a successful practice.”
The Center for Natural Medicine at Dr. McElveen’s alma mater, NCNM, was recently credentialed as a Tier 2 Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH), the first naturopathic medical clinic in the US to receive this credential. In Oregon, NDs do qualify for loan repayment if they practice in rural areas. Also, in 2012, the Department of Heath and Human Services finally included NDs in the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program.
“I’m thrilled with all the progress that we’re making, even though they are baby steps. For the last two or three years though, I’ve been getting contacted by so many colleagues and former students, who are phenomenal doctors, who just are flailing from a business perspective. I’m no expert, nor do I have a business degree. But I am a keen observer and I have taken every webinar I could afford and read every book I could get my hands on. There just isn't much out there specific to what we do. I have a successful practice in rural Maine where our scope of practice and ability to prescribe medications is limited and the majority of patients are on Medicare or Medicaid, which do not cover my services. Obviously, I’m doing something right. In support of our amazing profession, I want to do what I can to provide an affordable resource to NDs looking for business advice. I started consulting officially in 2011, helping new and practicing doctors with both clinical support and practice management. This guide really is a great summary of the most common questions I get when consulting with new docs. I literally had a light bulb moment after a consult a few months ago, when I realized ‘I just wish there was a good book out there I could recommend – wait a second, I will write that book!’ So I did.”
Tips on Creating a Successful Naturopathic Practice: Based on the Ups and Downs of a ND in Private Practice, is currently for sale on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/
Page Updated Last on: Sep 18, 2013