These are general guidelines on some of the important considerations that should be addressed before you establish a working relationship with a consultant or consulting firm. It is important to note that the level of experience of consultants varies widely.
1) Ask your colleagues for referrals of consultants that they have used.
2) Contact your state medical and state professional societies for recommendations.
3) Carefully review the consultant's credentials. Pay particular attention to how long the consultant or firm has been in business. Verify their experience with the specific type of project that you want them to address.
4) When appropriate, find out their familiarity with regionally specific issues. This is particularly important with managed care or reimbursement problems.
5) Review the firm's client base over the past two or three years.
6) Find out the consultant's experience with obstetricians and gynecologists.
7) Check references, especially other specialty practices or those with projects similar to yours.
8) Read articles and attend programs that the consultant presents.
9) Ask for samples of work.
10) During the initial consultation, try to gauge the degree of rapport between you and the consultant. You must feel comfortable with this person or group. They must understand your goals.
11) Put everything in writing. An oral agreement is not worth the paper it is written on. The contract should include services, projects, due dates and compensation.
12) Start small, especially if this is your first experience working with a consultant.
13) Make certain that the consultant has sufficient time and resources to devote to the project.
ACOG does not endorse any consultants or consulting organizations. However, the organizations listed below may be able to assist if other sources of consultants are not fruitful:
- American Association of Healthcare Consultants (AAHC). This is a professional society for persons who specialize in medical care consulting. AAHC offers an online referral service. (888) 350-2242. www.aahc.net
- National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants (NSCHBC). This is a professional society for persons who specialize in medical care consulting. NSCHB offers an online referral service. (703) 234-4099. www.ichbc.org
- Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Organization of medical group practice managers and physician leaders, primarily in groups of 10 or fewer physicians. Has its own network of consultants throughout the country. (877) 275-6462 ext 877. www.mgma.com
- National CPA Health Care Advisors Association (HCAA). A national association of CPA firms experienced in dealing with the health care industry. (800) 231-2524. www.hcaa.com
- State or County Bar Associations usually have a lawyer referral service.