Pains & Gains of Starting a New Practice
Author: Dr. Andrew Binamira
I am an Internal Medicine physician practicing here on Hilton Head Island. I moved here in 2010 from South Dakota. I can still remember the 24-hour drive from De Smet, South Dakota to Iowa to Kansas to Atlanta and finally crossing the Intracoastal bridge that evening in December. I have enjoyed this beautiful island as a place to live and a place to build my medical practice.
In September of 2014, I decided to start my own practice: OneCare Clinic. This was not an easy task. Let me tell you my journey.
I’ve always been an employed physician since after my training. As an employed physician, you have all the work done for you. You sign the contract, move in and everything else is in place. All you do is start seeing patients. If it’s your own clinic/business, you have do everything, and I mean everything.
I have been trained in the top schools and residency training facilities, where they teach us the medical aspects of being a doctor, i.e. taking care of patients in the ER, the hospital, the clinic and the nursing home. This part of medicine, is second nature to me. This is what I breath and live. However, doing the “business” side of medicine is a totally different ballgame. This, I was not prepared for, nor was it taught in medical school or residency training. From naming the clinic, to applying for licenses, to finding the perfect building, to getting the phone system, fax numbers, PO boxes, to choosing the right bank to work with, the perfect accountant who is well-versed in the business side of medicine, to hiring the lawyer who will make sure all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed, to getting credentialed with insurance companies, to finding the right plumber, painter, contractor to renovate the clinic space, and finally to assembling the perfect team to work with.
It’s has been quite a stressful time considering that I was doing all this while I continued to see my patients at my previous practice. I had less than two months to get this done. This was not easy, yet, I knew that there was a light at the end of that tunnel and all this would be over and I could start doing what I do best, which is taking care of patients and giving them the best care possible.
When I embarked on this journey in September last year, a start-up firm gave me a 65-point checklist of “things you need to do to start your own clinic.” When I first went through this list, I was about to give up and call it quits. But quitting is not in my nature, so I went through them one by one and the next thing I knew, I was more than halfway through. Perseverance, patience and a lot of prayers have helped me achieve this endeavor—and most importantly, all the support I got from friends and colleagues and from my dear patients. They all joined me, and we reached the end of the tunnel together.
November 10, 2014 came, and we opened OneCare Clinic, LLC. A good number of people came—friends, family, loved ones and most importantly, my loyal patients. It was a day I would not forget. We opened OneCare in less than two months, and we could not have done it without all of you. This would not have been possible if not for my great staff: Qualisa, Hope and Joe. Thank you.
We are going into our third month and OneCare is doing very well. Word-of-mouth from my patients and friends is the main way of getting our name out there and, of course, CH2 and CB2. The Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce has also been very supportive. There are still a few kinks that we need to iron out, but like growing pains, we expect these. We learn from our mistakes and from our patients’ advice and recommendations.
We want OneCare to be your one-stop shop for your healthcare needs. We want to be your partners in healthcare, your advocates. Our patients are the drivers and OneCare is the navigator. At OneCare, you can access your health records through the portal (internet), where you can make appointments, update your histories, see your records, refill meds, and communicate with our staff and, of course, with your healthcare provider, so that we can give you the top notch care that a stand-alone clinic usually cannot deliver.
We will continue to serve Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the Beaufort community and be part of your healthcare needs. And remember always: “You’ll get the best care from OneCare because we care.”
Dr. Andrew Binamira is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician with over 20 years of experience.