According to my Private Practice
Year Two is in the books! On December 16, 2023, I celebrated my 2-year Registered Dietitian Anniversary! Two years ago, I walked out of the exam room with the coveted golden ticket that all RDs 2 Be aspire to have. I felt relief & excited for my next steps. Relieved after failing the exam 3 times prior and excited about starting my career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Year 2 has been just as impactful. There were both successes and lessons learned through the challenges faced in my career. I can gratefully say that the successes & lessons learned outweighed the challenges. This year, I want to share a synopsis of my private practice journey. Honestly, this is the highlight of my Year 2 Review.
I Took a Big Step Toward my Private Practice Optimal Plan Nutrition, LLC. I focus on providing optimized nutrition for optimal performance. I've had many conversations with Private Practice RDNs in the past. I've noticed how many work for decades before finally having the courage to go into their private practice. Although there is beauty in every journey, they all say the same thing:
"I wish I started earlier."
In January 2023 I started working full-time for a group practice called HUSK Nutrition (big shout out). Along with working with some amazing Dietitians, I was able to learn the language of medical coding & insurance billing. By no means am I an expert, but this job showed me the ropes enough to confidently code and bill. As I got better at doing it, I began to ask myself:
"What is stopping me from doing it in my private practice? "
I already knew I wanted to run an insurance-based private practice. I feel like God put this job on my path to seal the gaps in knowledge that existed between me & billing insurance to get paid in my private practice! Many RDNs have this idea that private practice or entrepreneurship is for later in their career. Well as for me, I knew that my time was NOW or never.
I turned 30 on April 22, 2023!
For my 30th Birthday , my AMAZING wife gifted me a book called "Making Nutrition Your Business" by Ann Silver, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN and Lisa Stollman, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN. This book was essentially my Private Practice Bible. I studied it and followed each step. I realized that I was doing alright in my private practice journey before reading the book. I already had my LLC, EIN, and website. However, I missed many important steps. In reading this book, I was able to recover some of those missteps and properly set up this private practice.
This book also helped me structure my steps in getting credentialed & contracted with commercial insurance companies to get paid for nutrition visits! I suggest this book to anyone seeking to start their private practice as it walks you through the steps no matter your starting point in this private practice game. The book also comes with 6 hours of Continuing Professional Education Credits for all of my RDNs looking for entrepreneurial ways to earn CEU credits!
In June 2023....
I submitted my application to be an in-network provider for Cigna. The application process was pretty straightforward. I feel like I can say that because during year 1, I laid a lot of groundwork for my private practice. Some of these steps included applying for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) for myself AND my practice, purchasing general and professional liability Insurance policies for my practice, and leasing a practice location ( you still need to have a practice location even with intentions to run a virtual practice).
It is a Marathon, not a sprint....
They say from start to finish, it takes 60-90 days to get in-network with insurance carriers. I completed my application to Cigna on June 1, 2023. On June 29, 2023, I got my contract and was officially in-network with Cigna! It took me less than a month. I was so excited. I was proud of myself for being patient in this journey while doing it myself (and not paying $100+ to get it done through a vendor). After Cigna, I completed Aetna's application. After Aetna, I completed United Healthcare's (UHC) application. After UHC, I completed Medicare's application. After Medicare, I submitted Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's application. It is now December 2023, and I have signed contracts for ALL 5 of the insurance payors that I applied to. Talk about a sigh of relief! My private practice now has 4 clients that I see virtually. I have met with 1 urology office and have contacted 16 men's health clinics in the metro Atlanta area in hopes to receive referrals. I have successfully billed 14 insurance claims without blemish or mistake. THIS ALL HAPPENED in 2023, what an accomplishment!
On December 15, 2023,the day before my 2nd Dietitian anniversary, I received a letter from Aetna. I opened it up to find my first successful insurance claim payment!! What an early Christmas gift. But more than that, this was proof that I CAN DO THIS. I can:
CONFIDENTLY provide Medical Nutrition Therapy
Apply for Insurance contracts
Code and Bill for my nutrition sessions
Market my services
I CAN run a successful practice.
If you or anyone you know is looking for a Registered Dietitian to help you with your health & nutrition goals in 2024, Here is where you can book your initial session.
I take Aetna, Cigna, UHC, Anthem BCBS, & also Medicare!
Utilize your benefits and reach your health goals with me in 2024!
If you're still reading, Thank you! I hope this story encourages you to stay the course. Whatever you are seeking in life, work on it for a purpose far greater than you! I want to personally thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also want to thank my wife, daughter, extended family, and friends for all of the prayers, encouragement, and support. I pray that the work of my hands continues to bring glory to the one whom I live for. "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
*1 Corinthians 10:31