Six Legal Requirements for Starting a Small Clinic

If you are a doctor or a medical expert willing to start your own small clinic in Australia then there are several legal requirements that must be fulfilled. Taking the leap from employment to having your clinic is a major transformation. You need to make sure whether you are ready to take on the challenge that comes with your own practice. Let’s take a look at the various legal requirements you have to undergo before you have your own small private practice.

1. Licensing and Credentials

The first legal requirement that you need to fulfil is to get proper credentials and licencing. Credentialing is a long process, which could take several months. In the meantime, you are required to submit documentation that proves your medical education, your country of birth and country of residency, and evidence of any malpractice insurance. You will need efficient compliance software solutions for licensing and credentials.

2. Medical Provider Number

The second step towards opening a private medical practice is to get a Medicare provider number. General physicians and specialists doctors who wish to have their own clinics should register for a Medicare number where patients can claim rebates against the services they avail through their Medicare program.

3. Inform the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

To begin your private practice in Australia it’s essential to inform AHPRA about your clinic. You will be required to register your practice after fulfilling the application requirements where you will designate the expertise of your profession and the various treatments offered. Your application process will take anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks depending on your application type.

4. Get a Business Number and GST Registration

You will be required to get an Australian Business Number or ABN. Secondly, it’s essential to register the small clinic for General sales tax with the Australian Tax Office. To make the registration process easy and swift, hire an experienced accountant to assist you in effectively structuring your practice and optimise your tax outcomes.

5. Confidentiality and Privacy 

A critical legal requirement that medical practitioners are required to maintain patient confidentiality and privacy. Before you open your small clinic, it’s essential for you as a medical practitioner to ensure the utmost privacy of your patients. By law, medical practitioners or general practitioners in public or private practice must treat all patient-related information as confidential. It’s important to be aware of the legal implications of breaching privacy laws. You will need specific disclosure guidelines pertaining to patient confidentiality.

6. Informed Consent

No private clinic can function smoothly without providing informed consent regarding the patients. Informed consent is a patient’s voluntary decision regarding the medical care they are about to receive. The doctor is required to provide the patient with knowledge and understanding of the treatment process including the risks and benefits of each treatment. As a general practitioner and owner of a small clinic, it’s mandatory to provide information to patients in such a way that they can easily understand their medical treatment and give their consent.

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