The journey into independent practice: A conversation with Russell horning

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Presented by NP Advantage in collaboration with iHealthSpot, our exclusive interview features Russell Horning, PMHNP-BC, as he shares invaluable insights and proven strategies for promoting your medical business. If your objective is to increase patient traffic and enhance revenue streams for your practice, you have come to the right place!  

During this webinar, we will discuss how NP Advantage consultants collaborated with Russell to establish a roadmap to success. The comprehensive business and marketing plan for My Buoyant Health consisted of credentialing, development of an SEO optimized website, and EHR implementation and training program.   

Additionally, we will discuss common challenges for NPs starting their own business and provide effective solutions to overcome them. Furthermore, we will share tips and tricks on how to establish a professional online presence that will attract new patients. 

Join the Conversation 

My Buoyant Health: Russell Horning, PMHNP-BC, is a highly experienced and board-certified Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and mental health counselor who offers Medication Management, Psychiatric Evaluations, Health Coaching, Life Transitions, and LBGTQIA+ Services. As a board-certified Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Mr.Horning has demonstrated mastery in delivering comprehensive psychiatric care to individuals of all ages.  

NP Advantage: Dyana Gebauer has 16 years of experience in healthcare consulting, focusing on areas like value-based care, risk contracting, and quality improvement. She successfully transitioned to digital marketing, helping clients get the most from their marketing efforts. Collaborating with various NP independent practices, Dyana continuously updates her digital marketing strategies to ensure NP Advantage meets the current market demands.  

Get to Know NP Advantage: Your NP Consulting and Digital Marketing Experts  

At NP Advantage, we specialize in healthcare technology and practice growth strategies tailored to propel NP practice success. Our dedicated team of experts ensures your focus remains on providing exceptional patient care, while we expertly streamline operations and drive appointment volumes. With our support, you can achieve a better work-life balance.  

Our suite of services operates on a transparent revenue share model, eliminating any upfront fees. We not only contribute to the initial start-up costs, but also provide unwavering support from our experienced healthcare consultants and data analysts – because true partnership means going the extra mile. 


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Full Episode Transcript

Dyana Gebauer: Welcome, everybody, to today’s webinar. We’re really excited to have a very special guest with us today. Russell Horning from My Buoyant Health is joining us. He’s an innovative mental health provider and wellness clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Before we get started, I just wanted to start with some introductions. I’m Dyana Gebauer, and I’m our client services manager at iHealthSpot, which is our marketing and website division dedicated to NP Advantage and Medical Advantage. 

Russell Horning: Absolutely. So my name is Russell Horning. I’m a psychiatric nurse practitioner. This is my 20th year in practice here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I’ve worked in a variety of different settings and most recently very excited to talk today about my own practice, this My Buoyant  Health Adventure. I don’t know what else to say about myself. I mean, we could talk about sort of like casual things, like I like to run. I’ve got a Grandson and daughter who I’m actually working with in the office. That is really exciting. So you may hear the baby in the background because it is a baby-friendly, family-friendly office that we have here. 

Dyana Gebauer: That’s all of us who work from home these days. So I totally get it and embrace it. Well, that’s great, Russell. So we’ll dive right in. We, you know, I understand you’ve made a major career change lately in opening your own practice. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is? What motivated you to go into an independent practice and some of the goals you had for your practice? 

Russell Horning: Absolutely. So when I was thinking about our conversation today, I could go on quite a while complaining about sort of the greed in healthcare and how venture capital is sort of ruining it, turning healthcare into a business. And really, I think my sort of vision of healthcare has always been wellness. So I’m not really focusing on just prescribing or treating people’s illnesses, but really trying to help people prevent illness and feel better and more functional. My sort of change in path recently was nudged very strongly by that, this idea that, you know, I’m seeing too many patients, I’m getting bogged down, can’t really do things the way that I think they should be done, and I’ve always been sort of afraid to take this leap into private practice. But it has been beyond my expectations with this process. 

Dyana Gebauer: Great. Yeah, I can understand that, you know, the idea of opening your own business seems like a really big risk in a lot of ways. But excited to hear that we have providers like you joining our healthcare system, Russell, with the quality of care it sounds like you dedicate to your patients. So it’s really exciting to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about what led you to your decision to work with NP Advantage? 

Russell Horning: Yeah, so I’ve always been an employee, like as a nurse working in a hospital and then provider groups, I’ve always been very comfortable being an employee, you know, collecting hourly wage, getting a percentage of salary and working with NP Advantage, like my hesitation or fear was always like, I don’t want to deal with insurance. I don’t want to do have to do the administrative stuff. I just want to treat patients. So NP Advantage provided this sort of, you know, collection of services that really supports me and has allowed me to pursue this now, like they handled credentialing, really sort of interpreted for me this different language, almost having to follow up with the paperwork and deal with all the different plans.  It’s taken that load off me. So. 

I can really focus on the development of the practice and treating people and NP Advantage has been extremely responsive from the first conversation as far as, you know, they’re getting back to me when they say they’re going to get back to me, you know, meeting milestones along the way. I’ve been very pleased with that. 

Dyana Gebauer: That’s great to hear Russell. As an organization, we’ve lived in this space between health plans and providers for a long time. It’s exciting to talk to folks like you and hear all of the good work that reducing some of that administrative burden provides to you and being able to see patients and do what you got into business and practice to do. So that’s really exciting to hear. I know that credentialing piece is incredibly tedious, and I know you’ve been pleased with your website as well and some of the marketing services. But what I’m curious about is with NP Advantage, if you have any feedback on how that process went as well for you? 

Russell Horning: Absolutely I mean the support from that area, like I know very little, as far as  how to set up a website, I know sort of what I like. but having to track down, you know, and hire different contract people. It’s just, yeah, this seems like sort of a nightmare to me.  So being able to have it all in one place. But that and mother root is providing everything for you to do that languageless thing. One of the things that I like about NP Advantage is the Wherever I Choose is, for me, it’s still the basic slogan. Then also, the product, the website that came out with all the information and the resources and everything really smoothly flows and it’s very patient, friendly. When I send comments, suggestions, they get back to me right away and I’m extremely pleased. Not just the website, but also the social media management and the Google optimization, all of that sort of taken care of, and again, a foreign language for me. I didn’t even know what optimization of the search engine was before starting this, so now I know a lot more. 

Dyana Gebauer: Great. I love that. Another important branch of the services NP Advantage provides is the EHR optimization and implementation. How is that branch of the NP Advantage wheel for you? 

Russell Horning: Over the years, I’ve used a number of different EMRs. I have been in that position where I’ve helped to build out and roll out the systems to groups, but having somebody work with me to make it just the way that I want has been fantastic. The ECW or eClinicalWorks program that we’re using is very user-friendly. I’m happy that it has sort of the video built in, it’s got all the sort of resources that I would want out of an EMR. Then the support team that we have that isn’t just like the worldwide support team, but actually that sort of NP Advantage specific ECW support team, they get back to me the same day most of the time and they’re addressing my issues, updating things. It’s been fantastic. 

Dyana Gebauer: Great. Very happy to hear that. Were there any surprises in working with NP Advantage for you? Initial reactions, overall impressions, anything we didn’t cover in those last couple of points for us? 

Russell Horning:  I mean, for me, there was a lot of learning. Like I’ve been in healthcare for 20 years, so I felt like I knew quite a bit. But really helpful just having the person, Brandy was amazing. She was sort of, she’s still been my sort of lead. She’s on along with this and she provides me with updates and I can reach out to her with questions. But then each team along the way has worked really well together. So having the EHR team and the marketing team, everyone just sort of step by step communicating. I haven’t really had any surprises. I think, you know, I think it’s normal that I would have liked it to happen sooner, but that wasn’t in NP advantage. That’s just sort of insurance and the healthcare system in general. 

Dyana Gebauer: Of course. We understand that world all too well. So tell me how My Buoyant Health is doing today for you and what the future looks like for your practice now that everything is live for you. 

Russell Horning: Absolutely. So we opened in the beginning of December. I’ve been working a couple of different jobs just to make sure that, you know, I can pay my bills. Yep. So started with two days a week. Within two weeks, I have a full schedule for my two days a week, and I’m actually scheduling out almost two weeks. So I’ve decided to increase a day a week. So I’ll be here three days a week. I was able to justify hiring an office manager, which has been fantastic. She’s helping a lot with sort of the front end insurance and then the back end, like prior authorizations. My daughter, as we mentioned. I think we mentioned, is here in the office with me, so family-friendly office. She’s doing a lot of intakes, and she’s a certified health coach. So she’s been able to sort of start seeing some people and helping people. It’s just very exciting. I’ve even talked to the landlord already about what if I need a little bit more space because it’s going so well and I want to expand and bring on a therapist or another provider and add some room.  So,  it’s happening as fast as I could have imagined.  

Dyana Gebauer: That’s really exciting to hear.  I understand in the grand scheme of healthcare, too, there’s providers who are leaving the profession faster than we’re getting providers in. So to have,  folks like you who are starting your own independent business and then finding success in that so patients have a home and have a trusted advisor in their care is really exciting to hear in so many ways for you and the patients who find their way to you.  

Russell Horning: I agree. I probably would have if I hadn’t had NP Advantage and tried to do this myself, opened up months and months earlier before I really had all the insurance plans in mind and really that sort of marketing piece.  I can picture sort of trickling in and really being frustrated with how things are. And I did complain a little bit along the way about why isn’t this happening faster. But I really do appreciate now the fact that everything was in place and now I’m open and I can just hit the ground running. 

Dyana Gebauer: Yeah. So, like, I really appreciate that. That’s exciting and great to hear. I feel like it’s exciting a lot because it is. You know, and when you mentioned frustrations, that’s something we understand in so many ways because ultimately it’s your practice and your livelihood. And your goal is to see and treat patients. And whenever there’s a delay in that, you know, it impacts so many things. So we’re happy to be in a space where we can help try and move that needle and move things in the right direction for providers like you. So we get that. 

Dyana Gebauer: So before we wrap up, Russell, do you have anything else you’d like to share with our audience today on any topic that we may not have covered? 

Russell Horning: Absolutely. I mean, when it comes to mental health in general, I think that, you know, really this idea that mental health can’t be separated from physical health. So, yes, I work in the mental health space, but really working towards getting rid of that separation and that stigma of we’re talking about depression when really we’re just talking about wellness. So working all together. I imagine that a lot of people who are watching this. Yeah. So, you know, we’ve talked about mental health in general in our podcast webinar, our mental health or medical professionals. And so as much as we can work together to treat the whole patient, I think really that is sort of my message going out there. 

Dyana Gebauer: Great. Well, if anyone watching is a provider in the Phoenix, Arizona area, we hope they’ll refer patients to Russell. It’s a fantastic practice and for any patients who may have found thei way here, likewise its in Arizona, My Buoyant Health is a practice we love and appreciate.  

Dyana Gebauer: So any last-minute advice, Russell, for any nurse practitioners seeking independent practice, finally?  

Russell Horning: Yeah, so Arizona has always been a wonderful place to work as a nurse practitioner. Across the country, of course, different states have different rules as far as what you’re allowed to do. And in Arizona, being a full-practice state, it’s always been very good to me. And so getting a little bit of experience, having a network of people that you can reach out to, building that sort of professional, personal network of, you know, if you have a difficult patient or someone who’s not in your specialty to refer to, I think is very important. And then as a nurse practitioner, I really think that we need to understand our worth in the health system. Being independent, starting your own place is a little bit scary and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but I don’t think it has to be as scary as I thought it was originally.  Having companies like NP Advantage to sort of assist with that sort of administrative part, guide a little bit with the marketing, it really takes the business part out so that we can focus on the healthcare part and be successful. 

Dyana Gebauer: Great. Well, thank you so much, Russell. With that, we’ll conclude the discussion today. Thank you to our audience for joining us. We sincerely hope you found the content helpful, meaningful, inspiring to your independent practice journey. Thank you again, Russell, for joining us and sharing your knowledge and insights, both in your venture to become an independent practice and in the mental health field. If you’d like to learn any more about Russell’s practice, please visit mybuoyanthealth.com. And if you’re interested in learning more about NP Advantage, visit our website for a lot of free resources, blogs, guidance, and reach out if you’d like to have a conversation about NP Advantage and how we can support your independent journey. Thank you. 

Ready To Accelerate Practice Success Today?

A Psychiatric NP’s Journey into Independent Practice Psychiatric  

Venturing into independent practice can be an intimidating career shift, but for Russell Horning, a seasoned psychiatric nurse practitioner, it became a pursuit fueled by his innovative approach to healthcare – prioritizing wellness over illness. With two decades of experience, primarily in Phoenix, Arizona, Russell recently embarked on his own path, establishing ‘My Buoyant Health’, a practice dedicated to enhancing overall well-being. 

What prompted Russell to tread the path of independent practice was a yearning for control over his patient treatments and to shed the administrative chains that are part and parcel of large healthcare firms. However, laying the foundations for an independent practice was a smoother journey for Russell, thanks to the services of NP Advantage. 

NP Advantage provided a diverse range of services to Russell, encompassing everything from credentialing to marketing, website development, SEO, and social media management. The committed and responsive team at NP Advantage played a vital role in guiding Russell through unfamiliar territories, leveraging their expertise and experience. 

It wasn’t just their wide spectrum of service offerings that impressed Russell, but also their essential aid with electronic health record (EHR) optimization and implementation. The user-friendly EHR system, eClinicalWorks, backed by a supportive team, was an added bonus. 

Russell’s independent practice venture, My Buoyant Health, has been incredibly successful since its launch in December. Within a short span of two weeks, Russell’s calendar was fully booked for two days a week, prompting the need to accommodate three-day schedules. The practice is now looking towards expansion, with the addition of a new office manager and plans to further grow the business in the pipeline. 

With a firm belief in the integration of mental and physical well-being, Russell passionately advocates for holistic care and fosters collaboration among healthcare practitioners. While the idea of establishing an independent practice may seem overwhelming, Russell offers valuable advice to fellow nurse practitioners, urging them to recognize their invaluable contributions within the healthcare ecosystem.  

Moreover, he highlights the importance of cultivating a supportive network of colleagues and leveraging the expertise of companies like NP Advantage to handle the administrative aspects of running a practice. This allows healthcare providers to dedicate their focus to delivering exceptional patient care. 

Russell’s path towards independent practice exemplifies the potential for triumph and personal fulfillment that arises from assuming control of one’s own healthcare profession. By prioritizing wellness and providing comprehensive care, he has cultivated a thriving practice that benefits both himself and his patients. 

To learn more about Russell’s practice, please visit www.mybuoyanthealth.com. For healthcare providers considering a transition to independent practice, NP Advantage offers a wealth of resources and support to assist you on your journey. 

NP Advantage Can Help

NP Advantage is your partner in launching a successful independent nurse practitioner practice. With our extensive healthcare experience we’re here to equip you with the tools and support needed to enhance healthcare access and quality. Our comprehensive suite ensures you deliver top-notch patient care while also achieving work-life balance and boosting your practice’s profitability.