In The Business of Service: Creating Business Minded Service Providers

This course is designed to help Medicaid service providers develop and learn key skills for becoming a successful business owner. 

Module 1: Creating a Service Minded Business Plan: Step one Executive Summary

We believe there are four main components to writing a service minded business plan. They are an executive summary, a marketing strategy, a budget plan, and a financial plan. We will focus of the Executive Summary for this first module.

Before we begin work on our executive summary, let's go over some basic principles to guide you through the process. First let's understand that writing a business plan is not the same as writing a novel. The document does not need to be long.

Understand that your executive summary is the blue print for starting and growing your business. In every business plan you must know the audience you a re writing it for; in this case it is The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

(DBHDS). The purpose of your business plan is to start and grow a business to your stakeholder; which are the people who have a vested interest in your business. In this case your stakeholders are people who have a Developmental Delay Medicaid Waiver.

From now on we will refer to Developmental Delay as DD. This means that in order for your plan to be service minded you must make the stakeholder the center of the plan. That is to say the plan must be person centered.

Make your summary simple, and understand that it has to change over time with the growth of your business. You must set goals with dates throughout your business plan.

We will begin with writing your summary. This module will go into detail; however, actually writing your summary out should be simple. The detail is necessary for you to decide if you can really start and run a DBHDS private provider business.

The components of your summary should be in order as such: identify the health and safety need in your area- submit and get approved the entire provider application- submit and get approved human rights documents- set up business account and employee

requirements- find a healthy and safe location for your business- become a licensed provider. We feel it is important to work backwards from the end goal of becoming a licensed provider to identifying a need.

Why work backwards? Working backwards allows you to define your end goal, and logically decrease from the hardest to easiest step to ensure you can start and grow a particular business. There is no need to write a business plan if you cannot

work each step. So if we work backwards from being licensed our next step will be ensuring that we can provide a healthy and safe physical residential or physical non residential location for our business. Your location will be inspected by DBHDS

as the final step before being licensed. When its time to start working your plan; you will need to find a location that meets DBHDS standards depending on the type of service you will provide. You can download the provide application packet for free at Every detail you need to have in order before a DBHDS licensing agent comes to inspect your location is on page 41 of the provider application.

Depending on the type of service (residential vs non residential) you can find the review form for the aspects of your business and location that licensing will review to determine if you will be awarded a DBHDS license.

Now that you have determined what it takes to provide a healthy and safe location for your business, you are ready to seek out an establishment for your business. Now to take another step back. Next up is opening a business account and staffing.

You and your initial staff members will all need to submit background checks and child protective services checks to have on file in employee personnel records for licensing to review. You can find details of the checks at Pages 51-52 of the provider application packet will show you all that is needed in your initial personnel files.

Note that you will need a professionally qualified staff member or staff member that has the credentials and/or experience to be certified as a part of your initial staff body. This can be yourself or someone else.

Pages 20-21 of the application packet go into detail about the requirements needed to be a qualified professional of the DD community. The type of qualification needed will depend on the type of business you choose.

For example, if you decide to provide a group home service for adult DD waiver holders you will need someone who is or can at least meet the requirements of being a QDDP: Qualified Developmental Disability Professional.

This is important because each stakeholder that you serve will need a plan for supports. If you do not have a qualified staff member then you will not have anyone on staff that DBHDS will allow to sign off on and submit personal plans for support.

These plans detail how your will offer a stakeholder your service, and is the central document that allows you to bill medicaid for the service you offer your stake holders. In short this is the first step to getting payment to sustain business.

Time to back up another step. In addition to submitting the required DBHDS documents you will need to submit proceedures to policies laid out by the Department of Human Rights. DBHDS will give you the go ahead to submit them to contact Human Rights.

You will contact them and let them know you are submitting their policies and procedures to become listed and classified as a provider in the area. This step is included in your summary because you have to understand these policies and procedures are

are to be separate documents than what is submitted in your provider application document. You will be submitting these policies and procedures to Human Rights, but licensing will check to ensure you comply with these standards before you are licensed.

You can find the information needed for Human Rights compliance at  Now for another step back. You will have to submit policies and procedures that comply with DBHDS standards.

If you review pages 23-40 of your application packet; you will find all the policies that DBHDS mandates you to write procedures for. Note that you can use another agencies policies and procedures and just change their name to your name.

However, whatever is in your policies and procedure document licensing will hold you to it. That means that when they come to license you and any subsequent visit; licensing can check to ensure that you are complying with your own policies and procedures.

So be sure to know exactly whats in them. Now let's not get overwhelmed by this talk of policy and procedure. What you do is you read the policy and write a procedure or multiple procedures that satisfy a policy. Simply put you're given a rule

and then your explain how your company is going to ensure that it follows that rule. We are almost back to the start. If we take another step back we find that we have to submit our initial application and policies and procedures to the

Office of Licensing at DBHDS. Note that this must be submitted as one document that includes the application and the policies and procedures. Be sure to check and recheck everything. Each application is read thoroughly by a DBHDS

Office of Licensing employee. These applications area read in the order they are received. That means if your application and policies and procedures are not approved then your application goes to the bottom of the pile.

You will have to resubmit your application and/or policies and procedures with whatever corrections licensing states you need to make. The licensing process can take up to a year to complete, but do not worry during that time you can

continue to study your chosen service and work through the rest of your business plan, so that when you are licensed you can "hit the ground running.

Now do not become discouraged when you download and open provider application packet. It's 61 pages long, but most of them are tools or resources to help you at various points of the licensing process. Simply put; just worry about what's needed

at each step of the process. The actual written application is on page 11 and pages 15-16 of the packet. The packet can be downloaded at

Do not and we repeat do not rush through the application or policies and procedures portion. Set monthly, weekly, and daily goals, at a pace that works best for you, to complete the application, policies and procedures, and at least 3 reviews before

submission. If at all possible try to get someone who has experience with the process or writing policies and procedures review them as well.

We are at our last step, which has brought us to the begging. That is identifying the health and safety need for people with DD in your area. You will have to do a little research to find out what services are needed or areas that need more choices.

What do we need by services that need more choices. Well the federal government and the State of Virginia believes in the right to chose. That means people with DD waiver should have the right to choose what provider they would like for a services.

The rule of thumb for choice is 3. To truly have a choice there should be 3 options to choose. What does this mean? Well if there are 100 groups homes in your area you may not want to provide the service of a group home. However, there maybe 200

group homes in your area but only one provides skilled nursing services. So you may want to think about opening a group home that provides skilled nursing. Keep in mind the goal is for people to have healthy and safe services to choose from.

That means that if a service is plentiful in your are, but you have an innovative method of increasing health and safety for that service across the board; then still proceed with opening that service. Provider to provider sharing of knowledge is

key in making sure People with DD have healthy and safe services to choose. Now we have made our way from finish to start. You summary does not need to include all of the detail we went over in this module; rather, this info is what you must consider

before getting into the business of service. We have included a resource to help you build a good summary. Do not be discouraged people with developmental delays need you to help them have choices of services that ensure their health and safety.

DBHDS is ready and more than willing to help you every step of the way. We will go into detail about the other components of your business plan in the next modules.

Note: You will be starting a business so you will need to become a business owner first. The type of service you choose will determine if your business will be a non-profit or for profit. Your provider packet will help you understand what type.