Things to keep in mind when obtaining a business license in DC

All businesses that are based in the District of Columbia must obtain a valid business license. The type of business license required depends on the business activity conducted in the District of Columbia. This will determine if a Basic Business License is required, and which other licenses are required to legally practice as a business. The process of starting a business can be easier than one might think, and it is strongly recommended to consult with an attorney to file for the right business entity that fits your needs.

 

Business licenses can be filed three ways

A Basic Business License can be filed in three ways: online, via mail, or in person. The processing time is currently around 30 days for Washington DC applications. If you are in a rush, consider filing for your Basic Business License online or in person. After you obtain the license, it has to be renewed every two or four years depending on the entity type.

 

Several business licenses

Several business licenses must be obtained for businesses with different locations or separate business entities. However several activities may be combined on one application as long as appropriate documentation required for each activity is provided. The requirements for that will depend on the nature of the business. The important thing to remember is that an entity name you obtain for one state’s business license may not be available in another municipality’s, so it’s important to check all the databases before you settle on the name of your business! The last thing any business owner needs to worry about is managing several different entity names across all their territories.

 

Different kinds of licenses

Different licenses are needed for different types of activities businesses engage in. For example, many retail and office operations require a General Business License. Businesses with an active business license are often exempt from needing to obtain a General Business License. Specialized licensing is needed for food establishments, industry, specific services, or medical practices.

 

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs provides several resources about business licenses under: https://dcra.dc.gov/node/545242

Rule of thumb for your new practice: maximize comfort and minimize steps

Having a well thought-out strategy when deciding on the space layout of your practice will have a significant impact on how your staff use their workspace. Nurses and most healthcare staff spend most of the day on their feet, moving around the practice from the waiting room to examination rooms all throughout the day. A well-designed office space can drastically reduce the steps both staff and patients take throughout the office. This makes for less stressed employees, but also allows patients to intuitively know how to progress through your clinic after arriving.

 

Front Desk

Your front desk should be the first element your patients see when walking through the door. This increases their feeling of comfort and safety, as they don’t feel lost walking into the practice. In return, your front desk staff should be able to have a view of all patients from the front desk to gain a sense of control of the workplace.

 

Waiting Rooms

Having an inviting waiting room enables your office to avoid the coldness many doctors’ offices can project. Chairs can be arranged in patterns, instead of against the wall, to create a feeling of warmth and give a homey feel. When considering this, make sure you still leave enough space for foot traffic, so patients and staff can move with ease throughout the office.

 

Examination Rooms

Even a small doctor’s office should have a minimum of three examination rooms, even if there is only one doctor. This improves the waiting time for patients and the workflow for doctors and staff. Medical assistants can work on patients in those rooms before doctors arrive, improving the quantity of patients that doctors can tend to each day. Having those rooms in close proximity to each other allows your staff to quickly go back and forth, therefore improving their workload.

The medical office your patients really want to visit

Are you looking to make the patient’s time in your practice as pleasant and memorable as possible? When done, it not only benefits patients immensely, but also reflects positively on your practice, staff, and doctors. The design of the space is key to how the patient interacts with the space.

 

Welcoming waiting room

First impressions certainly count, so having a clean and bright waiting room is essential to making a positive impression on your patients. The cleanliness of your waiting room and the accommodations you provide, be it coffee, tea and/or WiFi, will reflect on how the patient perceives the overall care he or she receives in your office. An added bonus, to ensure patients will love coming to your practice, are computer work stations, kid-areas with TVs and games, and “Family Corners” for quite privacy.

 

Modern examination room

It is more important than ever for clinics to have modern and updated exam rooms. This ensures that the patients feel safe and that they will receive the best care through the newest technologies available. Up-to-date clinics who apply new advancements in the field are constantly surpassing the competition in terms of customer satisfaction.

 

Caring staff

The appearance of your staff and how they treat patients reflects on your practice, and the likelihood of them recommending your clinic. Ensure your staff wears matching, clean scrubs and that they treat patients with politeness and patience, especially on the more stressful days of the week where patients are enduring longer wait times.

Our recommendation: spend a lunch break in the waiting room and look around you. Examine how the staff interacts with patients and contemplate what could be improved in the waiting and examination rooms. See your practice from the point of view your patients see it.

Checklist you need before starting a practice

Are you considering opening your own practice? You are not alone: a growing number of doctors want to make the leap into independant business ownership every year. Shaping your own work environment, hours invested, and applied techniques are some of the many reasons healthcare professional across the field strive to open a private practice. There are many things to consider when opening a business in the healthcare industry, be it seemingly minor details such as where to get business cards printed, or more significant aspects like the floor plan layout and size of your new practice.

 

Here is a list to get you started when thinking about launching your own practice:

    • Create a business plan, including a marketing and strategic financial plan to alleviate concerns about cashflow and initial capital invested.
    • Spend time meeting with various architects, interior designers, and contractors to ensure you create a team of professionals who have your business’s best interest in mind while being best suited for your long term vision.
    • Conduct market research while speaking with business consultants to decide the ideal office location and whether its best to rent or buy the space.
    • Determine a legal structure and obtain all appropriate licensing, such as business and medical licenses. Don’t forget about insurance!
    • Ensure that the candidates you hire to join the staff will be worth the investment you make in training them for the long term.
    • Setup your office and make sure you are up to speed on local business codes, Tax ID , NPI, DEA, etc.
    • Work on a fee schedule and setup an accounting system.
    • Work with designers on the layout of the space to ensure efficient traffic flow for both patients and the staff.
    • Establish furnishing, equipment placement, and clinical supplies needs prior to placing orders.
    • Establish information technology needs like appointment booking systems.
    • Plan for IT installation and training, such as internet, phone system, and electronic health record-keeping.
    • Choose vendors for maintenance, supplies, payment processing, and other office needs.

Having an experienced partner when opening your practice is vital to its success. Liberty Group Construction has been working with medical practices for the past years and would love to help you get started. Contact us today at (888) 308-6869 and we will ensure your vision of opening your own practice becomes a reality.

How 3D models can assist in perfecting ergonomic design

Rhinoceros, Blender3D, SketchUp or ZBrush are the four big program names when considering 3D modeling.  3D modeling consists of design, geometry, and, in particular, math. Designers, architects, and even construction firms are able to, using special software, give a mathematical description of the object and its surface.

 

Today, architects, engineers, and construction model coordinators face more and more daunting challenges. Structures continue becoming more complex and the field simply demands that as much detail of a building system be shown as possible. 3D modeling, as opposed to 2D design, brings several benefits to overcome those challenges.

 

Efficiency – 3D modeling leaves more time to focus on the design of constructions, as it is easier to ensure that the plan, section and elevation express the original conceptual intent. Using 3D modeling saves the designers time, and the clients money.

 

Precision – 3D modeling allows more precision and control of single design elements than ever before. Every small detail of a building can be separately analyzed and measured.

 

Pricing – 3D modeling allows architects and construction firms to put their building to test before they are built, to avoid costly mistakes for clients. Clients can see the end result before the construction process has even begun, and it allows architects and designers to see the building’s reaction to stress factors and tolerances.

 

In the long run, not only does the construction firm and architect benefit from 3D modeling, but mainly it is the client who comes out on top with receiving a complex yet tested final product. 3D modeling helps the client envision the how their new space will look like, but also save them time and money during the construction and design project.

 

Liberty Group, LLC has been using 3D modeling for their clients for years to stay up to date with current trends. If you want to learn more about how 3D modeling can benefit your, contact us today toll free at (888) 308-6869.

Making your waiting room a pleasant experience for your patients

The average waiting time at a medical office is 21 minutes. This is often more time than the patient actually spends with the doctor, therefore making a large impact on how the patient perceives the quality of care.

Below are tips for designing your waiting room to make a positive impact on your patients:

    • Patients love to use their waiting time actively. A flat screen displaying the news and a stack of magazines can only take you so far. Free WiFi is often the minimum a client expects in a waiting room. If you are looking to go a step further than that, think about setting up small desks or workstations so your patients can use the waiting time actively. If a patient can feel productive and amused while waiting for their appointment they may feel as if there was no wait at all!
    • Patients want to take control. Most patients dislike being seated in a hard chair next to strangers waiting for their appointment. Giving patients some control back will help improve their overall experience. Consider giving your patients space to sit in the children’s corner, have coffee on a communal table, or setup a muted tv. Additionally, alert patients on a screen, or via text alerts when their appointment is coming up. This has been one of the most requested features by patients in the last several of years.
    • Patients love being pampered. Setting up a coffee bar and tea bar is a great bonus to shorten and ease the waiting time for clients. Think about going further and leaving a real impression, like some dentists who offered massage chair for waiting parents. A dentist that posted their waiting room massage chairs garnished over 1000 likes on Instagram which doubled as free advertising for the practice.

No matter if you want to improve your waiting room, or entire practice, Liberty Group, LLC is here to assist you.

Healthcare Flooring

Flooring for Healthcare Environments.

An increasing volume of research shows that the physical environment in which patients are cared for and in which caregivers work has a measurable impact on them. It is estimated that more than 1,000 research studies illustrate how healthcare design can improve patient care, enhance medical outcomes, and reduce medical errors and waste. As a result, the use of this research in the design of healthcare environments is sweeping the field. The process, referred to as evidence-based design (EBD), calls for design decisions about the built environment to be based on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes, according to the Center for Health Design.

Today’s hospital executives are embracing EBD principles as a guide to help them do more with less. They have a financial responsibility to ensure that the decisions being made about their capital investments achieve a number of important objectives:

  • Improve patient and staff safety

  • Reduce medical errors

  • Reduce patient and staff stress

  • Speed patient healing and improve patient outcomes

  • Improve the patient and family experience

  • Improve staff effectiveness and satisfaction

  • Positively impact the bottom line

Flooring is an especially important design element within the healthcare environment. Not only is it necessarily found in all spaces, but the type of flooring specified greatly influences the outcome of each space. We advice our clients to evaluate this decision very carefully when designing their new office space. The investment on properly designed flooring materials can save the business much more in the long run.  

For even more information visit:

Source: interiors+sources

Are you EPA Compliant?

EPA has promulgated pretreatment standards to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. Mercury pollution is widespread and a global concern that originates from many diverse sources such as air deposition from municipal and industrial incinerators and combustion of fossil fuels.

Key facts about dental clinics and mercury:

  • Dental clinics are the main source of mercury discharges to POTWs.

  • EPA estimates about 103,000 dental offices use or remove amalgam in the United States; almost all of these send their wastewater to POTWs.

  • Dentists discharge approximately 5.1 tons of mercury each year to POTWs; most of this mercury is subsequently released to the environment.

Every time an amalgam filling is placed or removed, tiny particles can bypass chair side traps and make their way into the waterways. Dentists can virtually eliminate this problem by installing an amalgam separator, which captures 99% of mercury waste before it enters our wastewaters.

Compliance

The effective date of the rule is July 14, 2017.

Dental offices that place or remove amalgam must operate and maintain an amalgam separator and must not discharge scrap amalgam or use certain kinds of line cleaners.

 Existing Dental Offices

Existing dental offices must comply by July 14, 2020. Existing amalgam separators may be operated for their lifetime or ten years, whichever comes first.When a separator needs replacement, or the ten-year period has ended and the separator does not meet the standard of the final rule, a dental office must replace it with one that meets the requirements of the final rule.

New Dental Offices

The compliance date for new dental offices (“new sources”) is the effective date of the rule.

Reporting Requirements

Existing and new sources must submit a one-time compliance report. See the Federal Register notice for details. EPA has not prepared an example compliance report at this time.

For even more information visit:

Source: EPA.gov   

Hiring and Retaining Employees

Most dental practices must understand that the single most important task that contributes to their success is employing successful employment processes.

The development of accurate job titles and descriptions is essential to properly communicate the needs of the practice. Candidates must be clear of the expectations, job responsibilities and the knowledge skill set and abilities required to fulfill the work for which they are applying. Most practices use job descriptions as a prequel to hiring. But developing a job description is where most practices stop. To hire and retain emotionally intelligent employees who expect more from their employers, another step is necessary. Job enrichment motivates employees by giving them a career track that includes higher pay, increased responsibility, and variety.

Jobs are meant to evolve overtime, specially within the dental industry. For this reason it is important to strive for positive impact on attitude and productivity by allowing employees to have more control over the planning of their daily tasks. Start by allowing them to decide how to accomplish their tasks as you evaluate their efforts and provide feedback.

Points to Consider

Appropriate items for a job application include a work history, salary history, reason for leaving previous employment, and at least four professional references. A more personal interview approach could be implemented for those candidates who move on to the next round of the hiring process. It is always a good idea to have your candidates interviewed by several people, allowing them to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses you may have missed. Preselect questions for the interview and ask the same questions of all applicants to avoid bias.

Here are some samples of questions you could include: Why are you applying for this position? What made you choose this field of employment? How might you calm a nervous or angry patient? Why are you leaving your current position? Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position?

How To Hire Good Employees

  • Take an inventory of your current team members.
  • Develop accurate job descriptions.
  • Develop a job application form.
  • Employ effective advertising techniques.
  • Conduct personal interviews using preselected questions.
  • Conduct second interviews with the finalists.
  • Check references and perform criminal record checks and substance abuse screening.
  • Use a well-designed orientation program.
  • Establish a system to measure performance periodically.
  • Deal with poor performance issues immediately and follow up on areas that need improvement.

For even more information visit:
Source: DENTAL ECONOMICS

10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Location for Your Business

 

Be Systematic and Realistic
Before you start shopping for business space, you need to have a clear picture of what you must have, what you’d like to have, what you absolutely won’t tolerate and how much you’re able to pay. Developing that picture can be a time-consuming process that’s both exciting and tedious, but it’s essential you give it the attention it deserves. While many startup mistakes can be corrected later on, a poor choice of location is sometimes impossible to repair.

Points to Consider

1. Style of operation.
Your location should be consistent with your particular style and image. Do you want a traditional store/office, or would you like to try operating from a mobile location? Is your operation going to be formal and elegant? Or kicked-back and casual?

2. Demographics.
There are two important angles to the issue of demographics. First, consider who your customers are and how important their proximity to your location is. For a retailer and some service providers, this is critical; for other types of businesses, it might not be as important. The demographic profile you have of your target market will help you make this decision.

Then take a look at the community. If your customer base is local, does a sufficient percentage of that population match your customer profile to support your business? Does the community have a stable economic base that will provide a healthy environment for your business? Be cautious when considering communities that are largely dependent on a particular industry for their economy; a downturn could be bad for business.

Now think about your work force. What skills do you need, and are people with those talents available? Does the community have the resources to serve their needs? Is there sufficient housing in the appropriate price range? Will your employees find the schools, recreational opportunities, culture, and other aspects of the community satisfactory?

3. Foot traffic.
For most retail businesses, foot traffic is extremely important. You don’t want to be tucked away in a corner where shoppers are likely to bypass you, and even the best retail areas have dead spots. By contrast, if your business requires confidentiality, you may not want to be located in a high-traffic area. Monitor the traffic outside a potential location at different times of the day and on different days of the week to make sure the volume of pedestrian traffic meets your needs.

4. Accessibility and parking.
Consider how accessible the facility will be for everyone who’ll be using it—customers, employees, and suppliers. If you’re on a busy street, how easy is it for cars to get in and out of your parking lot? Is the facility accessible to people with disabilities? What sort of deliveries are you likely to receive, and will your suppliers be able to easily and efficiently get materials to your business? Small-package couriers need to get in and out quickly; trucking companies need adequate roads and loading docks if you’re going to be receiving freight on pallets.

Find out about the days and hours of service and access to locations you’re considering. Are the heating and cooling systems left on or turned off at night and on weekends? If you’re inside an office building, are there periods when exterior doors are locked and, if so, can you have keys? A beautiful office building at a great price is a lousy deal if you plan to work weekends but the building is closed on weekends—or they allow you access, but the air conditioning and heat are turned off so you roast in the summer and freeze in the winter.

Be sure there’s ample convenient parking for both customers and employees. As with foot traffic, take the time to monitor the facility at various times and days to see how the demand for parking fluctuates. Also make sure the parking lot is well-maintained and adequately lighted.

5. Competition.
Are competing companies located nearby? Sometimes that’s good, such as in industries where comparison shopping is popular. You may also catch the overflow from existing businesses, particularly if you’re located in a restaurant and entertainment area. But if a nearby competitor is only going to make your marketing job tougher, look elsewhere.

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Source: ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.