CHAIRPERSON: PRIVATE PRACTICE GROUP
- Be sure to comply with VAT requirements. The penalties for not paying VAT (should you be eligible) high. Eligibility for VAT depends on your yearly income and not on the type of practice you may have (i.e., part-time or full-time practice).
- Make sure that you take the necessary steps for client referrals should you be in a position where you are away from your practice for an extended period of time. Speak to a colleague about a locum agreement so that your secretary can refer urgent cases to him or her. Also inform your patients that you will be away and unavailable for a while and that there will be another professional that they can see on an urgent basis if needed.
- It is a sound principle to draw up a form which includes the name of the patient/client, the date, the file number of the patient/client, the therapeutic times in categories (so that you can indicate the time period) and has a place where you sign and the patient/client signs at the end of the session. This form can be given to your accountant and captured in your billing software or invoicing system. It can also serve as proof that 1) you did consult with the patient on that specific day and 2) the duration of the consultation. There are many complaints at the Professional Board of Psychology by clients/patients stating that they 1) did not consult with the psychologist on that specific date or 2) that the session was shorter than the amount claimed. In this way the patient/client and the psychologist verify each session. It is also a sound method in terms of accounting.
- Be sensitive to the ethical rule of supersession which states that one psychologist cannot simply take over the client/patient of another psychologist. This rule especially comes into play if patients/clients are referred by psychiatrists/medical practitioners to the psychologist or the psychologist is requested to see a patient/client in hospital.
- If you are in private practice don’t simply become involved in forensic work without proper training and mentoring. Attorneys can be very convincing in requesting a “quick evaluation” which can become a nightmare for an inexperienced psychologist.