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I just got back from a 2 day conference full of learning. I figured out that when you have a private practice, there are 2 kinds of learning: Fun and Work. And the thing about having a private practice is that you really need both. First, the fun part: learning about new techniques for the improvement of clinical skills, enlarging my population of patients in this way, or focusing more intensely on a focus disorder. Fun, exciting, motivating and revitalizing.

Now, the work part. It’s the upside down part. The conference I attended was put on by the Independent Therapy Providers Association (ITPA) and this group challenges me in a different way. The speakers, the sessions are all geared to improving the way we run our businesses. Here is a sample of some of the things I learned in snippets.

  • What should be included in how we hire or discipline or fire an employee? Definitely not fun, but so many practical things to know. An application is needed whereas a resume from prospective employees is just “marketing”. An offer letter is better than a contract. These were presented by a speaker from the Texas Workforce Commission. It applies the LAW in how to fairly have employees and all that goes with that. Squirm. Sigh. The burden is on the employee. Lots more here. But this is where I recommend knowledge from your state.
  • Did you know you could become certified as a “Woman Owned” or “Minority Owned” business and this could actually bring you contracts to add to your work diversity and payers? Smiled a little here. Hopeful for new opportunities and adding value to the business.
  • What should be included in your business insurance? Not your professional liability but the general business insurance policy. This was very informative and I now have a list of what to look for in our policy to be sure it is there. Squirmed. Wished we had been told to bring said policy with us.
  • How do you go about transferring your practice (selling or buying) when you are ready to retire, or you want to add a partner or you want to become a partner? Gulp. A little overwhelming but needed.

Of course with the meals and break times, we had lots of opportunities for networking and this in itself was invaluable. We also had a 2 hour ethics session presented by the general counsel of our association. It is wonderful to have great colleagues to share, laugh with and then look at each other during those squirm moments.

I left with quite a bundle of CEU hours but mostly I left with a list of things to do, research and develop. If you have an opportunity to turn upside down from the usual fun CEU opportunity, you should. We all need the work part. We need to make how we run our practices a high level of professional business operations. So flip over from the play, let all the blood rush to your head and work.

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