If you’re newly certified IBCLC or a hospital IBCLC looking to transition into private practice, you may be wondering what you must have in place before you can begin seeing clients.
In order to declare business income or revenue on your annual tax return, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID, generated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s like the business equivalent of a social security number.
At the time of writing, there is no fee to apply directly for an EIN. You can register with your social security number as an individual/sole proprietor, or establish a business entity first. Consulting with an attorney is always a good idea.
The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is a unique number assigned to you that you are required to use in all communications related to financial or administrative transactions. You will need this number for your out-of-network superbills and if you go in-network with an insurance company.
A liability insurance policy protects you, your business, and your personal assets in the event that a client files a lawsuit against you for malpractice. While you may have never heard of this happening to another IBCLC, and possibly can’t imagine it happening to you, I urge you to consider liability insurance as a non-negotiable cost of doing business. If you live in a state with IBCLC licensure, you may be required to have liability insurance as a condition of your license. You can purchase it yourself directly or go through a registered agent.
HIPAA Compliant Email
In order to conduct any business electronically, you will need an email address that is HIPAA compliant. Not only will this allow you to keep your business and personal correspondence separately, but you will also have a safe email address to use with any online charting, scheduling, or payment platforms you might be using. Email is also an expedient way to communicate a written care plan to your clients, and it’s convenient for communicating with other healthcare providers.
Set up a Google Workspace account
I’m all set! Now what?
Congratulations on getting your business infrastructure in place! You’re now ready to build your private practice on a firm legal and ethical foundation!
This post is excerpted from Lactation Private Practice: From Start to Strong.