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Melody Frye on the transition from employee to private practice owner

Behavioral health care professionals, whether they be part of a small private practice or a public behavioral health organization, contribute to the goal of improved population health through their respective channels. As clinicians grow and develop professionally, the best possible fit for their unique skills and perspectives becomes more apparent.

For Melody Frye, MA LPC, the thought of opening a solo practice felt like her true calling, though the proposition seemed daunting. “I had zero confidence in my ability to run a private practice,” admitted Frye. “I had only been a therapist. I worked for other agencies, physicians, and hospitals. I’d never been out in a private practice setting on my own.”

Getting started

Like any other significant life change, taking the first step is often the hardest part. Frye overcame her reservations with the help of a relative, who had worked in billing, had familiarity with Valant, and knew first-hand how much of a difference a quality EHR can have on a private practice. Frye recalled, “I just took a blind leap of faith and did it. I didn’t even know how to schedule an appointment on the computer. I had no idea—like zero experience at scheduling, billing, or even answering a phone at the office.”

Providing quality care for patients and running the daily mechanics of a business are generally two separate full-time jobs, if not more. Without a strong background in business or a strong EHR solution in place, many well-meaning providers quickly discover how demanding a private practice can get. Fortunately for Frye, Valant was able to shoulder most of the administrative burden through software automation.

“With just with a few clicks on the computer […] I can get my patients scheduled, I can do the billing as soon as they leave the office, [and] I can do their note as they’re walking out the door […] Basically I operate all by myself. I really don’t worry about things that I hear other people worrying about as far as all the billing and getting everything taken care of because it’s all so easy through Valant. […] It’s very simple. I felt like it’s pretty much fail proof, really.”

Solo practitioners using paper typically have to split their time evenly between care and catching up with administrative tasks, such as scheduling and documentation. With Valant handling much of the cognitive burden, time that would have needed to be spent filling out paperwork could be used in other ways.

Flying solo

It wasn’t long before Frye’s initial doubts about running her own practice were put to rest.

“Within a month of opening my own office I was making probably 3 times what I was making working for other people so it’s been profitable but also, just to have the feeling of being able to choose what clients that I see, what hours that I work, it’s really given me a freedom that I never imagined I would have in life, and being able to serve the clients in the way that I want to serve them.”

While it is true that private practice ownership isn’t the right fit for everyone, behavioral health professionals that are seriously considering it need not doubt their capacity to make it work. Valant helped Frye go from skeptical to profitable in a very short timespan. “I think there’s a misconception out there, especially among the people that I know, that billing and just overall running the office is just really, really hard and takes many people, but it’s easier than I expected it to be,” said Frye. “I never really expected to go out on my own. I always kind of wanted to but never did think I could and then when I found out a system like this existed, it allowed me to do really what I wanted to do.”

With the right EHR solution in place handling the administrative workload, behavioral health professionals can focus on what they do best: providing quality care to their patients.

Have you ever had the desire to start your own private practice, but maybe don’t know where begin? Valant can help! Click the button below to see how.