My visit to my orthopaedic was due last week and I was looking forward to seeing him. He’s a pleasant doctor, if a little expensive—but has a great bedside manner and is a whiz at diagnosing and treating issues that come under his speciality. The clinic is also pretty close to my place. So imagine my surprise when I found a little board on the door of his clinic saying “Shifted to….” Annoying!
Of course I found the new place, which was thankfully not too far, and once the consultation was done, we chatted for a few minutes, since there were no patients waiting.
I had no idea about all that went into moving a clinic to a new location!
When my doctor started the old clinic, the small space was just fine. It had a cozy feel and since the practice was small, he could also host his lab on-site without having to worry about spacial concerns. But being the good doctor he is, his practice has naturally grown. In fact, it’s outgrown your cozy setup and he was ready to move into something bigger and maybe even hire some help, although I have to admit that it was rather fun to dial the clinic and hear his voice.
Moving a clinic to a new location is very different process than building a new clinic or moving to a new home, obviously. So I asked him if he had some tips for others to help make this move/expansion go as smoothly as possible. He said that this time the process wasn’t so complicated since he didn’t move too far off from the old location, but his move ten years ago had involved a lot of stress. Here’s what he had to say—it was quite eye-opening for me!
This seems like a given, but most people tend to overlook it. Moving medical and lab equipment requires care and consideration that moving traditional office equipment does not. According to the relocation experts at pbmmi.com, there are legal regulations concerning the transportation of chemicals, cryopreservation, lab animal transfers, etc. It is best not to try to manage all of this yourself. Work with a company that understands and has experience transporting medical equipment and materials from point A to point B especially because everything is so expensive.
It’s also a good idea to hire a logistics expert to help you plan and execute the move. Remember: you’re moving a business. This means that you will likely have to shut down for at least a few days while everything is broken down, packed up, moved, unpacked and set back up in the new location. Trying to manage all of these details yourself is overwhelming. Working with a logistics expert will help smooth the transition and allow you to focus on what matters most: the care and treatment of your patients.
Permits, Government Regulations, Zoning
There are a bunch of legal hoops to jump through before moving your clinic from one location to another. For one thing, the chosen location must be zoned for medical practices and lab work. If you are moving (or expanding) to a new city, you’ll want to check into local permit and licensing requirements.
And, of course, the move must be registered with the local Secretary of State’s office and update your business’s registration information with your city and county too. You will also have to update your registered agent’s information to reflect the move (unless you are outsourcing these duties).
You might also have to update and make adjustments to the insurance policies you accept and the companies with which you work. Some insurers only cover a certain number of clinics within a specific state or even a specific zip code. This will be time consuming, but notify your insurers about the move and find out if there will be any changes in coverage for you to deal with.
Telling Your Patients
This is a big part of moving. The moment a doctor knows s/he’s moving the clinic to a new location, the information must be shared with their patients. Even if you’re not sure exactly where the new clinic will be, it’s good to get your patients used to the idea of the change as early as possible. Who knows some of them may have to look for a new doctor, depending on insurance coverage. If this is a possibility, it is better to work with the patient to find a new doctor. This reflects good patient care, and also adds to your reputation. While you may lose this specific patient, s/he may be a great referral or reference for potential patients in the new neighborhood.
Moving requires a stepping up of your marketing campaigns. Creating a marketing campaign specific to the move is also a good idea. Let the public know that you’re moving. Let your new neighborhood know that you will be there soon and that you will be accepting new patients. The simplest way to do this is through direct mail. Direct mail, local search, signage and print advertising are the best avenues for this.
Moving your medical practice is a major accomplishment and a complicated process. It starts as soon as the doctor decides to find a new location and does not end until s/he has settled in, and has a full patient load in the new neighborhood.
My doc was fortunate that he did not move too far off this time. These tips can make the transition as smooth as possible.