Meri Brick|1/5/2022|3 min read

The Telehealth Guide To PC Groups

Your comprehensive guide to PC groups for your digital health company


Whether you’re a telehealth company just getting started or one that’s been in the business for a while, you’ve probably heard the term ‘PC group’ thrown around on many occasions. What you may not be as familiar with is all of the intricacies that go into one that can make or break your organization’s regulatory compliance.

Read on for everything you need to know about PC groups, including what they are, why they are necessary, and how to properly establish them to operate your telehealth services legally in the US.

Defining PC groups

First and foremost, let’s get into the basics of PC Groups. PC Groups, the abbreviation for ‘professional corporation’, is an important step in operating your telehealth business legally. Talking in terms of healthcare, a PC group is a professional entity owned and controlled by one or more physicians.

A common term you will hear in the virtual care space is the “Friendly PC” model. This refers to the relationship between the PC and the Management Services Organization (MSO). The MSO is the administrative entity that works closely with the PC group(s).

That was a lot of abbreviations and terms, we know. But, to make sure you’re operating your services legally, all this information is essential.

How does the Friendly PC model work? Let’s break it down step-by-step:

  • First, a physician or physicians form a professional corporation in the state(s) they are wanting to provide services in

  • The PC then contracts with a MSO to provide administrative and managerial services

  • From there, the MSO and professional corporation will agree and sign a master service agreement (MSA) that lays out the terms of the relationship between the two entities

  • The established PC group(s) will have full control over the clinical aspects of the business including contracting clinicians to deliver care

  • The MSO will provide all the non-clinical operations for the telehealth company including billing, coding, collections, credentialing and employing non-healthcare professionals for business operations

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into why PC groups are important when providing telehealth services to patients.

The importance of PC groups

Making sure you’re operating your telemedicine services legally is obviously very important. PC groups, MSOs and MSAs are a crucial piece of the legal puzzle. If you are missing one, it’s bad news for your business.

There are many tiny details to be aware of when managing and setting up these entities. Although they are small and tedious, they can end up in serious legal action if not executed properly. A few things to keep top of mind when forming your PC groups and MSOs are:

  • Different names and identities

  • Separate bank accounts and financial structures

  • Defined decision-making roles between the two entities

Not following these rules can come with major fines, legal consequences and in some cases, it’s considered a crime. As you can see, understanding the importance of these entities and the small details involved is essential to running a successful, legally compliant telehealth company.

Establishing PC groups

Now that you’re filled with information on what PC groups are and why they are so important, let’s talk about what goes into establishing them.

Like we mentioned earlier, the PC group has to be formed and owned by at least one physician in order to provide care to patients. On top of that, if you are wanting to scale your company nationwide, you will need one PC group per state you are operating in on average. Each state has slightly different rules when it comes to professional entities but one PC group per state is a good estimate to follow.

Now, let’s talk about the resources you’ll need to dedicate to setting one up, the time and the money. The typical cost per state to establish a PC group is about $1,000. Multiply that by 50, if you’re scaling nationwide and that’s a lot of money to front. That’s not all. Each PC group typically takes 1 to 2 months to set up, if done correctly.

It’s a huge task to take on, especially if you are planning to care for patients in all 50 states. Don’t give up yet! There are options other than doing it on your own. So without further ado…

Check off the PC group box

OpenLoop is a telehealth company that powers other telehealth companies across the US. That means you can offload the headaches that come with setting up PC groups to us! We have PC groups established in all 50 states and have gone through all the legal checkpoints to allow our partners to scale and care for patients nationwide.

If you want to operate in all 50 states right off the bat, you can do that. If you’re just getting your foot in the door and want to start with a few states, you can do that too! Partnering with us ensures a seamless and legal transition into caring for patients virtually. We’re here to help you launch and scale to meet your patients’ demands and your business’ goals.

That’s not all! We can check other boxes off your to-do list too, including (but not limited to):

Ready to hand-off those pesky back office challenges to experts in the telehealth space? We’re here and ready to take them on for you! Set up a time to chat with us here.