Skip to main content

Perspectives On Starting Your Own Private Occupational Therapy Practice

Perspectives On Starting Your Own Private Occupational Therapy Practice | Symbiosis LLC | Medical Coworking Space in Washington DC

Are you thinking about starting your own private healthcare practice?

If so, whether you want to start your own physical therapy practice , start your own massage therapy practice start your own naturopathic practice, or any other type of practitioner, it’s important to note that every type of practice is different.

That’s why it’s so important to listen to how others have done it before you, so you can learn from their mistakes and get a better idea of what to expect for your own practice.

Today, we’re speaking with Melodie Ethel-King, an occupational therapist in Tigard Oregon and co-owner of New Horizons Wellness Services.

They offer occupational therapy, speech therapy, and mental health counseling for both children and adults.

Watch the video below for the full interview, or read below for an overview of the discussion.

Melodie, what inspired you to start New Horizons Wellness Services?

New Horizons Wellness Services has existed for over 20 years as a successful private psychology practice under my husband, Dr. Patrick Ethel-King.

For some time, though, he’d noticed when he made recommendations for other types of practitioners that his clients were having a hard time accessing those services.

So we recognized there was a need in the community.

I began participating more in the business, adding occupational therapy social skills group sessions to the clinic’s services.

From there, we added occupational therapy individual treatments and speech therapy treatments – so it was a very gradual way to grow.

What were your key transformative challenges?

A big one was to decide who was the type of client we were trying to serve.

With my background, I’ve worked with so many different types of people in an occupational therapy setting.

And because we were just starting out, I didn’t want to turn any business away.

Eventually, though, we decided that even though we decided to treat all ages, we decided not to focus on certain ailments.

This allowed us to draw in more of the types of clients we were best at treating.

As we drew in more service providers too, it became important to build our services around what we wanted in our clinic, rather than just building services around the service provider.

So for example, if one of our service providers builds a specialized treatment around stuttering, and then leaves, we’re left with all these clients we can’t service.

So instead, we knew what types of services we wanted to provide, and hired our service providers around that.

You can’t do it all right away!

How do you define a well run private practice?

When you’re first starting out as a clinician starting your own private practice, it’s easy to end up focusing just on the clinical side of things.

However, when you open a business, it’s important to focus on the business side of it.

And that’s not something they teach you in school.

You have to think of things like:

The list goes on and on.

A good private practice owner needs to think like a business owner, not just a clinician.

Has this definition changed with time?

Well obviously COVID-19 has changed a lot for us.

Before COVID-19, we’d moved to a bigger location, with the idea of growing.

We’d been in a steady period of growth before then as well.

We weren’t doing telehealth services before COVID-19 though, but with obviously as lockdowns began that became difficult, so within the span of a couple of weeks, we moved almost entirely to telehealth.

That was a big learning curve, and we’re very grateful to Symbiosis for helping us get set up there.

When COVID-19 first began too, of course everyone was terrified so they ended up staying home and canceling their appointments, so that was a major challenge too – we had higher overhead and fewer clients.

However, after a few months, people realized it wasn’t going away so our clients started to return.

Beyond that, the laws have been rapidly shifting too around what sort of in person services people can and can’t provide.

But while some people put their need for our services on hold temporarily, that need never really went away, so we’re busy once again.

So we just had to pivot to continue to meet that need.

Questions? Contact Symbiosis

Are you considering starting your own occupational therapy practice?

If so, consider a Washington DC medical coworking space.

Symbiosis can help.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you reduce costs and get to profitability sooner.

1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 794-6820

Our Practice In A Box solutions take all the headaches out of opening and scaling your own private practice. We provide the clinic medical coworking space, operations, management, and more. Do what you do best – practice medicine – and leave the rest to us. From start to finish, we make sure your business is ready and thriving. This is what makes Symbiosis the smarter choice.