Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Coming around again

Today was a productive day. Mailed my application to Aetna after making xerox copies of my medical license, DEA, certificate of malpractice insurance, AAFP board certification, CV, W9 form, lock of my firstborn's hair, etc. Next will be Blue Cross, then Blue Shield. Medicare? Hmmm... Still thinking about it.

I recorded a "Welcome to my practice" message for my office voice mail, instead of the generic greeting. Maybe somebody will leave a real message now rather than the annoying recorded messages I've been getting trying to sell me "Get instant credit!" products. How the heck did they get my number? Now that I think about it, how will anyone know to call me since I haven't advertised yet? I've handed out about 10 business cards so far to some friends who came to our Christmas party, but other than that, I have not publicized my phone number. That should change in the next few weeks.

Yesterday I spoke to a sales rep for the local Yellow Pages about putting in a line ad. Another sales rep from the day before gave me a hard sell about how I "needed" to buy a big display ad if I hoped to get any new patients. But I've read from many doctors that Yellow Page ads just don't generate a lot of new patients. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement, and it's free, too. But I did cave in a little and ordered a BOLD line ad for $9.00/month instead of the plain $6.50/month single line ad. I'll survey my patients and see how they heard of me, and that way determine the most cost effective means of marketing. Since the Yellow Pages is only published once or twice a year, any new docs should find out when the publishing deadline is so that they don't miss out. I was told that I would make it by the Jan. 31st deadline.

I took off the painter's tape from our paint job last week, vacuumed the carpet and assembled my office furniture today, too. That is, all that I had: a desk, return, lateral file drawer and a hutch that sits on top of it. It took all morning, but it made me feel like my practice is finally getting started.

It hasn't felt much like that so far this week since I have been working every day at Kaiser, though it has been only for a half day. I'm still seeing many of my old patients, the only difference is that I'm seeing them out of someone else's office, since I had to move out of my old one so that someone else could move in. It's ironic in a way. When I first started at Kaiser, I moved from office to office because there was not enough offices for all the doctors. The newest ones had to work out of whoever's office was free for the day. I'm leaving Kaiser the way I started 13 years ago.

What goes around, comes around.

Countdown: 26 days until *new* target start date