Back in my February 2019 blog to NNPEN’s members and friends, I introduced the question: “What’s ahead for the NP-owned practice?” At the time, I strongly suggested that small NP-owned practices may reach a certain revenue threshold and plateau. The small NP practice, as an economic buyer, does not have the fiscal clout to, for example, negotiate performance-based adjustments to the payer’s stingy FFS fee schedule. By aggregating NP-owned practices into a single signature contracting entity, NPs create critical mass and economic value. So, my No. 1 takeaway for indie NPs is the need to join a contracting entity that creates clout through aggregating practices – without NP practice owners losing control of their practices or brand. “Aggregate” is my fancy way of saying GO BIG.

Then, in June 2019, I blogged about why NNPEN has begun offering business services through partnerships with PRMS for revenue cycle management (RCM) and SBSC for credentialing. In short, we see NP practices needlessly leaving 20-30% of their collectibles on the table, most notably by letting claim denials go unchallenged due to lack of time or confidence – most likely both. NNPEN encourages NP practice owners to spend their time with patients, where there is reimbursable value – and outsource RCM and credentialing.

Now it’s September, and we invite NP practice owners to kick the tires on our recently formalized partnership with the American Advanced Practice Network (American-APN) and CareSpan. We three partners aim to accelerate a nurse practitioner’s ability to establish and operate a sustainable independent clinical practice! Read our official press release announcing the partnership on CareSpan’s website.

We know that NP practice owners want to:

  • Spend more time with patients
  • Grow revenue
  • Be part of something bigger

Being part of something bigger can mean being part of a professional community that offers evidence-based practice guidelines, peer review and emotional support, as well as the capacity to offload backroom activities that interfere with patient care time. But it can also mean bulking up to a size that third parties – read payers – cannot ignore. From NNPEN’s perspective, that is the long-term play here we find irresistible.

An important NNPEN undertaking in this partnership is to identify nurse-led practices who 1) are new to independent practice and whose collectibles goals at 24 months exceed $100,000; or 2) are established owners but have growth aspirations that are not translating into collectible revenue. For these growth- oriented practices, American-ANP/CareSpan offer important options to explore, especially before investing or reinvesting in an EMR. An NP practice owner should be asking these questions:

  • Is my practice up but not growing?
  • Is my practice up-and- growing but placing a 24/7 demand on me that is not sustainable?

American-APN/CareSpan is probably not an option for an NP practice satisfied seeing fewer than 10 patients a day. Nor is it the right choice if you are not planning to add a virtual practice (telemedicine) component to your repertoire. But NNPEN sees positive work/life balance relief, managed care contracting leverage, and other economies of scale in this first creation of an NP network, and NPs need practice management choices for NP-led practices.

Information is power. NNPEN is dedicated to informing NP practice owners about emerging practice management choices. We already offer ala carte options – specifically for stand-alone revenue cycle management and credentialing – but none of these get at NPs’ needs for a network that creates critical mass in negotiations with payers. American-APN/CareSpan does.
This is a call to action for NP practice owners: Get Big! Contact us: businessservices@nnpen.org.