Consulting/Training – Start Ups

Sections on This Page.

A. Opening a Behavioral Health Therapy Business (“Dipping Your Toes in the Water”)

  1. Two Hour Training/Consultation
  2. Six Hour Training/Consultation
  3. Location andTimes
  4. Fee Structure

B. Becoming Licensed as a Mental Health Agency / Project or Other Agency Development

  1. State Licensed Mental Health Agency
  2. Other Project or Organization
  3. Initial Consultation
  4. Developing Your Organization (e.g. Meeting Licensing, etc.)
  5. Fee Structure & Contract

C. Developing a New Program Within an Existing Agency or Organization

  1. Initial Consultation & Fees
  2. Ongoing Program Development & Fees

D. A La Carte Services

E. Other Expenses

Background Info

Starting an independent therapy practice can seem daunting; opening a Maine-state licensed mental health agency or other organization can seem even more so. Our years of experience will help minimize your background research & development time – and the risks involved.

The above business types as well as other projects are described below; the supports we offer for opening your therapy practice can be found after the grey block below this section.

For info on opening a licensed mental health agency or developing another project, scroll down to the second grey header block, where you’ll find a couple of options we offer for helping you get on the road to success!

A. Dipping Your Toes in the Water, or The Basics of Opening Your Behavioral Health Therapy Business

Are you a behavioral clinician/therapist working for an agency, but considering going out on your own?  Seems like a big – maybe huge – step, doesn’t it?  And oh! the risks….

Yet, lots of clinicians have happily taken that step.  And the risks can definitely be mitigated.  We can show you how.

Remember, as an independent therapist, you will not only have a clinical practice, you will have a business – and you should treat it like one, right from the very beginning.

As someone who has owned several businesses over the decades, including a 200 employee mental health agency, and now, as the President & CEO of Heritage Health Services, Linda Snyder, M.S. (and her staff) can help ease that transition to independence with support & information that is specific to your needs.

1. Two Hour Training & Consultation. You will get the very basics you’ll need to make an informed decision and get started:

  1. Financial – income & expenses, start-up costs, billing software, rates to charge
  2. Policies & Procedures – no show/late cancellations, client agreements, HIPAA policies, boundaries
  3. Choosing the Right Kind of Corporation – C-corp, S-corp or LLC?
  4. Legal Agreements – understanding Business Associate Agreements, affiliating with other agencies for billing purposes, independent credentialing, insurance contracts
  5. Marketing – getting your name and expertise “out there”
  6. Mitigating Risks – and there are always risks
  7. Other Questions, Thoughts, Answers, etc.

2. Six Hour Training & Consultation. A more intensive day that also offers targeted presentations by experienced independent therapists, this consultation includes topics covered in our two-hour sessions, plus:

  1. Financial – break even analysis, balance sheets, necessary insurances, finding inexpensive / shared office space…
  2. Policies & Procedures – more extensive CYA type policies & procedures
  3. Choosing & Setting Up the Right Kind of Corporation – C-corp, S-corp or LLC, obtaining a legal name, registering your DBA and corporation with the State, annual corporate filing
  4. Legal Agreements – your own Business Associate Agreement, more in-depth information on affiliating with other agencies for billing purposes, insurance contracts, more on independent credentialing, your CAQH account, should you change your NPI?
  5. Marketing – developing a marketing plan outline, the basics of developing a good website, resources for referrals
  6. Mitigating Risks – including a SWOT analysis exercise
  7. Other Questions, Thoughts, Answers, etc.
  8. Expected: Touring Possible Co-Shared Rental Offices, after the session has ended.

3. Location and Times.

Our two-hour Dipping Your Toes in the Water introductory sessions will generally be held in Auburn on the first Saturday of even numbered months from 9:00 am – 11:00 am, although this may be changed to meet the needs of the participants. 

For the calendar year 2020, these two-hour sessions will be held on February 1st, April 4th, June 6th, August 1st, October 3rd, and December 5th. Registrations with full payment are due no later than the Friday 8 days prior to the session date.

On the first Saturday of odd-numbered months, we offer the more intense six-hour sessions, which are also held in Auburn. It is possible, however, that these sessions might take place in Portland, Augusta, or some other area where there’s the chance of offering a brief tour of co-shared rentals after the end of the session. This program will run from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, with a half hour lunch break.

For the calendar year 2020, these 6-hour sessions will be held on March 7th, May 2nd, July 11th (because of Independence Day falling on Saturday the 4th), September 12th (moved up to avoid Labor Day weekend), and November 7. Note: There will be no session in January 2020.

4. Fee Structure.

  • Two Hour Basic Introductory Session – $145 for one person includes resource handouts, with coffee & other beverages. Register 2-6 participants at once for just $95 per person. Limit: 6
  • Six Hour Intense Introductory Session – $395 for one person includes extensive resource handouts, as well as beverages and light snacks. Please bring a lunch as we will only take a half hour break from about 11:30-12:00. Register 2-6 participants at once for just $245 per person.  Limit: 6.
  • If one of the group participants you’ve signed up can’t attend, you are welcome to transfer that individual’s registration to another. Sorry, no refunds with less than 72 hour notice, unless we can fill that slot, in which case you will be refunded all but a $50 Late Cancellation fee for each registration. No Shows will forfeit their registration fee in full.
  • Fees may be tax-deductible, and will cost you less per hour than you will bill out once you’re on your own.
  • Other Costs (if any). Please scroll towards the end.

B. Becoming Licensed as a Mental Health Facility, or Developing Another Project or Agency

For ten years, Linda Snyder, the President/CEO of Heritage Health Services, ran a state-licensed mental health agency.

In fact, she started that agency from scratch and grew it from one person (herself) to over 200 employees billing nearly $9M at its peak.

It’s a huge… HUGE… amount of work, and fraught with both minor pitfalls (to be expected) and stunningly outrageous problems you’d never consider could happen to you.  But when it goes well… man, you feel like you’re doing the work of angels, making a real difference in the lives of people who desperately need your caring, your compassion, and your devotion.

Okay, so you’re a clinician (LCSW, LCPC, psychologist, etc) and have been doing therapy independently.  Or maybe you’re just a good, kind, passionate person who feels strongly about providing quality mental or behavioral health services. Or you have another project in mind that you believe strongly will meet the needs of a population in a way that’s not presently being served.

Whatever the impetus, your dream is to be able to offer more services for those who are hurting, because you see there’s a huge need, and that there’s a major gap in the kinds of services your clients or others are (not) getting.

1. State-Licensed Mental Health Agency.

In order to offer services (other than outpatient behavioral health as a licensed clinician) and get reimbursements from MaineCare (Medicaid) – whether they’re for case management, community supports, foster programs, or whatever – you first must become licensed by the state as a mental health agency.  Heritage Health Services can help you with that.

2. Other Project or Organization to Serve Those in Need.

This project may not require state licensure, but it will certainly demand a lot of work from you and your board of directors (whether you already have one, or are still considering developing a board). It’s easy to get distracted and spend too much time in areas that seem important, but don’t actually contribute towards your final goal: turning that fantastic dream into reality.

3. Initial Consultation. You will get the very basics you’ll need to make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue agency licensure.

Our services include:

  1. An initial meeting with you to discuss your vision and the realities of becoming a licensed mental health agency, as well as your initial financial investment. Included will be a questionnaire for you to complete within the next few days regarding the personality traits needed to successfully develop and manage a state-licensed mental health agency, a stress management/risk aversion assessment, and a SWOT analysis. (If you want to run an agency, being a bit obsessive is a good thing!) Completing these should take you at least an hour before the next session with us, which should be scheduled for one week after the first session. [You can expect this first session to take about 2 hours.]
  2. Returning to our offices, we will review the program(s) you want to pursue (your planned focus and rationale for becoming a state-licensed mental health agency) and reimbursements as spelled out in the Maine Medicaid Manual, sketching out a very basic draft initial budget based on information available, including start-up costs before the money comes in. [About 2 hours.]
  3. A second meeting with you will review the assessments mentioned above], discuss the feasibility of State licensure, offer in-depth discussion of risks & benefits, and identify the next steps, if appropriate. We will also cover in more depth your initial financial investment, risk mitigation, and may include discussion with another small agency Executive Director. [About 2 hours.]

    Fee for this service: $495.00.
    Other Costs (if any): Please scroll to the end of this page.

4. Developing Your Organization (Meeting Licensing Standards & Expectations, etc). Meeting the State’s licensing standards can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming.  We know; we’ve done it.  And we can do it for you in a lot less time than you can do it from scratch.

We will help with or provide for you:

  1. Financial – a detailed draft budget extrapolated for 3 years, and a break-even analysis
  2. Policies & Procedures – develop or revise policies & procedures (Governance, Personnel, Finance, Quality Assurance, Health & Safety, Working with Clients, and HIPAA standards, etc.) required by Licensing and federal regulations
  3. Staffing & Personnel – identify a recruitment plan, develop or revise an employee handbook and policies & procedures, required training & resources, Department of Labor standards & expectations, and consultation on employee-specific risks & benefits
  4. Marketing – develop a marketing plan outline and materials, if needed
  5. Mitigating Risks – provide a risk & benefit analysis of what’s being considered including staffing patterns, client and financial risks – most insurance companies will want some kind of assurance that you’ve addressed these issues
  6. Physical Plant – meeting state and federal fire safety and ADA standards
  7. Other Activities as Needed

The amount of time needed by Heritage Health Services will depend on how much time you yourself have available to put into the background work, your writing skills and/or sophistication in developing new programs/services, and your development budget.  One can expect a minimum of 20 hours of our consulting time will be needed, although that will depend on how much of the actual work you are able to manage while also running your current therapy or other business.

5. Fee Structure & Contract.

Our base fee is $1295 for up to 20 hours (with that 20 hours ordinarily being completed inside 4-6 weeks), and $50.00 per hour thereafter.  Payment is due weekly for work actually performed, per invoices that are emailed every Sunday evening.  This allows you to choose to limit your costs for our work after the initial base fee, if you then decide to do the bulk of the work on your own.

Alternatively, you can choose to depend more on our services, with a base fee of $1,995 for 40 hours of work, and $42.50 an hour thereafter.

Over all, you can probably expect about 50 hours of our time to get you off and running, including To Do Lists for you to complete.

A simple Scope of Work contract will be expected, and a Business Associate Agreement for HIPAA purposes.

Other Costs (if any): Please scroll to the end of this page.

C. Developing a New Program Within an Existing Agency or Organization

1. Initial Consultation & Fees. You will get the very basics you’ll need to make an informed decision about pursuing developing the program under consideration.

Our services include:

  1. An initial meeting with you and/or your agency staff to discuss the program you’re considering, including reviewing your current agency budget and expenses, and how the new program will fit in, along with any new expenses that would be incurred. [About 2-3 hours]
  2. Back at our offices, we will review the program parameters and reimbursements as spelled out in the Maine Medicaid Manual, and sketch out a preliminary draft budget based on information available, including start-up costs. [About 6 hours.]
  3. A second meeting within about a week with your agency staff will be to discuss the program’s feasibility, risks & benefits, and next steps, if appropriate. [About 2 hours.]

    Fee for this service: $595.00.
    Other Costs (if any): Please scroll to the end of this page.

2. On-Going Program Development & Fees. If you don’t have the time to do the full-blown program development, we can handle that for you.  Our background includes extensive experience in program development for several mental health agencies.

We will help with or provide for you:

  1. Financial – a detailed draft budget extrapolated for 3 years, and break-even analysis
  2. Policies & Procedures – develop or revise policies & procedures specific to the program/service being pursued
  3. Staffing & Personnel – identify a recruitment plan, develop or revise an employee handbook and policies & procedures, necessary skills training, Department of Labor standards, and consultation on employee-specific risks & benefits
  4. Marketing – develop a marketing plan outline and materials, implement if needed
  5. Mitigating Risks – provide a risk & benefit analysis of each area of the program being considered including staffing patterns, client and financial risks
  6. Other Activities as Needed

The amount of time needed by Heritage Health Services will depend on your agency’s sophistication in developing new programs/services, the program/service under consideration, and your agency’s program development budget.  One can expect at least 20 hours of consulting time will be needed, although that will depend on how much of the actual work the agency wants to shoulder itself.

For this service, the base fee is $1295 for up to 20 hours (with that 20 hours ordinarily being completed inside 4-6 weeks), and $50.00 per hour thereafter.  Payment is due weekly for work actually performed, per invoices that are emailed every Sunday evening.  This allows you to choose to limit your costs for our work after the initial base fee, if you then decide to do as much as you can on your own.

Alternatively, you can choose to depend more on our services, with a base fee of $1,995 for 40 hours of work, and $42.50 an hour thereafter.

Over all, you can probably expect about 40 hours of our time.

Other Costs (if any): Please see below.

D. A La Carte Services/

  1. Program/Organization Budget
  2. Program/Organization Narrative
  3. Policies & Procedures and Supporting Forms, General
  4. Policies & Procedures and Supporting Forms, HIPAA
  5. Policies & Procedures and Supporting Forms, Quality Assurance
  6. SWOT Analysis & Strategic Plan
  7. Mission Statements
  8. Working with a Board of Directors
  9. Succession Planning
  10. Employee Handbooks
  11. Other Projects as Needed
  12. Fee Structure & Contract Info. HHS charges $65/hour up to 3 hours ($195) and $45.hour thereafter. Please note that all policies & procedures, forms and so forth produced for your organization are proprietary with Heritage Health Services retaining ownership, and may not be given or sold to any other organization.

E. Other expenses.

  • Generally the initial discussion (up to an hour) will be at no charge. The clock starts ticking at the one-hour mark.
  • For travel beyond 20 miles round trip, please note there will be an additional mileage reimbursement reflecting the current IRS mileage rate expected, as well as any tolls and/or parking fees.
  • For telephone calls, texts or emails of less than 4 minutes in any 24 hour period, there is no charge.  Calls, texts or emails taking longer than 4 minutes will be charged on a quarter hour basis, as ordinarily those will include additional documentation or other work on this end.
  • Faxing, photocopying and/or printing. Ordinarily, there’ll be no charge for these, unless the cost to us seems out of the norm.

If you’ve read through all of this, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step into an exciting new world! We’d love to talk with you about what happens next. Feel free to call Linda Snyder, President/CEO at 207 / 740-2247.

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