By "opting out" of managed care, psychiatrist William Callahan, M.D., of Irvine, Calif., turned down the ready patient supply that contracting through managed care with large private and public employers provides.
So how does he make independent practice work?
"I have to know how to market myself through several channels," he told Psychiatric News. "I pursue a long-term strategy that involves working on multiple nonprofit boards, serving the community, and getting a lot of name recognition."
Callahan is active in the Orange County Medical Society, acquainting himself with more than a few primary care physicians. And he takes a keen interest in California’s legislative affairs: he makes a point of knowing every legislator from Orange County who serves in the state Assembly in Sacramento. In these ways, he has made his name known to people who can refer patients to his practice.
Additionally, Callahan said he has been a frequent face on local cable television talk shows and speaks often to local print media reporters.
Finally, for several years Callahan has led a free group discussion for individuals who have a family member with a severe and persistent mental illness. "Often these individuals have trouble handling the emotions that come up with having to deal with a loved one who has a serious mental illness," he said. "They need to convince loved ones that they have to take their medication or they will never get well, so I need the families to act as an extension of me."
The work has the merit of providing a free and valuable service to individuals and families, while making his name known to hundreds throughout Orange County.
"I work with people who are short on money to spread out the sessions or shorten the sessions," Callahan said. "I have a lot of flexibility to match the treatment with the patient’s finances and goals."
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