Why You Should Consider Opening a Medical Weight Loss Clinic

weight loss clinic patient

The medical weight loss market has grown exponentially within the past two decades. Americans are more motivated to lose weight than ever before, and the buzz around revolutionary weight loss drugs like Ozempic® and Wegovy® drives staggering amounts of revenue to the industry. This cultural shift opens up a plethora of business opportunities for entrepreneurial nurse practitioners, including a weight loss clinic. Learn the ins and outs of operating a medical weight loss practice, plus quick tips for boosting your business’s revenue.

What services does a medical weight loss clinic offer?

Most medical weight loss clinics provide diet planning, exercise instruction, motivational coaching, and emotional support in addition to weight loss medication. There are a wide variety of prescription drugs now approved by the FDA to support weight loss. When developing your treatment menu and deciding which drugs your practice will prescribe, it may be helpful to review MedLine Plus’ list of the most efficacious weight loss drugs currently on the market.

Many patients are also interested in exploring wellness and cosmetic-focused treatments to look and feel better. To maximize profits and increase the scope of your practice, consider offering the following add-ons:

What are the perks of practicing weight loss medicine?

Medical weight loss clinics can be a great option for those interested in operating a niche side practice. The demand and profit potential for weight loss clinics are high, coupled with relatively low expenses and liability. Weight loss clinics can also flourish under a telemedicine model. Practicing weight loss medicine does not require extensive training for nurse practitioners. Treatments offered by these clinics often fall under the scope of general medicine.

This specialty can be rewarding for nurse practitioners interested in helping people lose weight, improve their diet, and get fit. Weight loss services may also be a great addition to existing practices, expanding your reach and bolstering your skill-set.

How can I build a good reputation for my practice?

Nurse practitioners must have a deep understanding of effective weight loss services and provide innovative treatment methods in order to stand out from competition. Some weight loss clinics are described as “pill mills”, meaning they push weight loss medication on patients without providing other services to address full-body wellness. While this model is advantageous from a business perspective, this type of medical practice is both unethical and dangerous. We recommend sticking to a holistic treatment philosophy in your weight loss clinic. Each patient should be provided with individualized care during their personal weight loss journey.

Should I accept insurance at my medical weight loss clinic?

According to industry data, the typical medical weight loss patient is willing to pay out of pocket for their care. You can choose to accept insurance, but many insurance carriers do not cover the expenses associated with medical weight loss. Most weight loss medications are used off-label, which may lead to a denial of the claim by the insurance carrier. Because of these roadblocks between insurer, patient, and provider, it may be simpler to operate as a cash-only business.

Collaborating with a compounding pharmacy can give your business a cash boost. The process can be set up as follows:

  1. You prescribe medication to the patient and send it to the compound pharmacy
  2. The compound pharmacy bills your practice for the medication
  3. You bill the patient for the prescription directly at a markup
  4. The prescription is filled and delivered to the patient’s door by the compound pharmacy

Additional profits are accrued by billing patients for initial evaluation and routine follow-up visits.

What is the best business model for my practice?

A busy weight loss clinic could generate $30,000+ per month. If you are a follower of the The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model and start this as a part time practice, it’s possible to generate $10,000-$20,000 each month working 2 days per week. Each patient will generate approximately $120/month. Multiply $120 by 100 patients, and you can earn $12,000 per month in revenue. Remember, you don’t need thousands of patients, you only need 100! 

Opening a medical weight loss practice requires very little in terms supplies and equipment. At startup time, you will need general office supplies, a vital sign machine, a scale, and an ECG machine if prescribing phentermine. A well-equipped and visually appealing medical weight loss practice could be started with around $5,000-$7,500.

The biggest expense for an emerging medical weight loss clinic will likely be marketing and outreach. But because this specialty area is so popular, patients will likely already be looking for you. Plan your brand roll-out strategy before your doors open for the first time. Your main focus should be establishing a robust, punchy web presence for your practice. By carving out your niche within the industry, operating a medical weight loss clinic can be easy and profitable.

48 Responses

  1. Good Monday Justin,

    I am in Mississippi (collaborator required) and therefore considering providing telemedicine in a full-authority state. Your article states that medical weight loss can be done via telemedicine, but my question is what would I do about vital signs and obtaining patient’s weight? I thank you in advance for your time.

    1. Sam,

      You would just have the patients obtain a set of vital signs from an urgent care or walk in clinic and have them take their own weight with a scale at home. It is not complicated 🙂

    1. Hi Adam,

      Simply click the “courses and books” tab at the top of the page and scroll down. You will see all the courses including the weight loss one 🙂

  2. Hi, Justin! Loving your courses so far. I have a question regarding labs drawn in clinic for weight loss program. We are considering drawing thyroid and hormone panels, as well as the labs listed as “essential” in the course, but do not currently provide HRT or thyroid medication management. Is this something where referral to PCP is warranted with abnormal results or how would you advise to handle such a situation when we do not currently desire to enter the realm of primary care? Thanks in advance!

    1. I would advise treating the hormone deficienies as it will increase the revenue of your practice. Why refer business out? I think a robust and well rounded weight loss clinic should also have the capabilities of treating general hormone deficiences (thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, etc…) Follow the steps in the HRT courses. It is very simple AND profitable. If you don’t want to though, then yes just refer out to PCP.

  3. I am a pharmacist in TX, can I implement this in my pharmacy? Does your course touch on non np and md professionals? Or would you suggest probably hiring one first

    1. You can impliment this, but you just need to have a provider on board to prescribe and do the evaluations. The course is still applicable, but your hurdle will just be finding that provider.

      1. I am an RN in texas. I am about to start a small lab that offers drug testing, dna testing and others. I wonder if I can incorporate medical weight loss mgnt to my current lab? If yes, should I partner with an MD or NP? I havent enrolled the course yet. Just finished the IV therapy course. I liked it a lot.

        1. Yes you can do this and you would need to partner with either one. You can use an NP if they are independent in your state.

  4. I currently have a MSN in informatics and have a full time job. But I am considering going back to school for several reasons, one being to potentially open a weight loss clinic. Which NP would you pursue? FNP is the most obvious choice but in your opinion are there other options?

    1. JUly 4th sale right around the corner! Be sure to subscribe to our email list and stay tuned for the sale which will start at the end of the month.

  5. I’m an MA in Texas and got started in California. Can I take your courses to open a center if I have an NP or MD that will prescribe for me?

  6. Do you go over in the course how to start a telehealth weight loss clinic? Looking to get started with the lowest overhead possible. Thank you.

    1. Yes, we cover the telemed aspects of it. Really not that much different outside of a brick and mortar.

  7. I am a Phyiscian Assistant in Nevada. Would I qualify for this course?
    I believe I would still need a supervising physician. I recently moved from California to Nevada so I am unsure of the exact regulations.

  8. Do you know of any medical wt loss clinics owned by a Registered Dietitian? Is it possible for an RD to start a clinic and employ an NP? Is a medical director required? Thank you.

  9. I am a GP working in UK and would l.ike to open a weight management clinic
    can I get more information about your courses please
    thanks

    1. The clinical components and basic setup of the practice should be applicable for you in the UK as well. Just click the courses page up top and explore our offerings.

  10. Hello,

    I am a psych NP in California, would I need to obtain my FNP to open a weight loss clinic? If not, what other things could a psych NP offer at a wellness clinic? IV infusions, hormone replacement….??

  11. Hello, does this course specify what business licenses will be needed? I live in Ohio and am having a hard time determining what licenses are required other than the LLC creation. Thanks!

    1. Yes it covers what you need but is not state specific. Most states just require an LLC and local business license

  12. I am a PMHNP in Maryland with an insurance-based private practice. As a PMHNP-BC, can I add the medical weight loss to my insurance-based practice or do I have to open a separate cash-based LLC for that? Is it in my scope of practice as PMHNP in the state of Maryland to practice medical weight loss?

    1. You can do this through insurance if you want. If you go cash though, you need to do it through a different LLC

  13. I am a PMHMN in Maryland and own an insurance-based private practice.
    1. Can I practice as a provider for the weight loss program in MD?
    2. Could I add it to my insurance-based practice, or do I have to open a new practice for the weight loss program? I want to do a cash-only for the weight loss program

    1. 1. Yes, if prescribed for a mental health need 2. You can do cash only. Just do it as a separate entity to avoid comingling it with the insurance entity.

  14. Can a weight loss clinic be successful without using phentermine, just injectables and non controlled options? I’m going to start one with also IV therapy but my potential collaborator does not want to do any controls. I’m wondering if I should find a new provider or if it even matters that phentermine and other appetite suppressants won’t be available.

  15. 1. I don’t have a practice and want to start a med weight loss telehealth only business. Will this course be sufficient to learn how to do this as telehealth only, or I will need the telehealth course as well?

    2. Does this course provide all legal documents I need, like policies and procedures and all forms? Thanks!

    1. 1. This course should be fine 2. Yes, it provides you what you need to get start. Policies and procedures are something you build on your own as you operate the practice over 1-2 years

  16. I don’t have any type of medical license, but am really interested in starting some type of weight loss clinic in California. Do you know if that is possible and will your course help guide the way?

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