4 Tips for Maintaining an Independent Physician Practice
This post is by a guest contributor.
Maintaining your independence as a physician practice is beneficial in many ways, however, it does come with some drawbacks, mainly associated with the business side of things. If you are properly prepared and surround yourself with a team of professionals that can help you navigate the business, administrative, and legal needs of your practice, as well as the right tools and resources, then staying independent should offer more benefits than consequences.
Shane Tenny, CFP® and Spaugh Dameron Tenny Managing Partner and Host of the White Coat Wellness Podcast, has outlined the basic fundamentals of maintaining an independent physician practice. Keep in mind that the end goal should be to make a decision for yourself and your practice that is the most beneficial, whether that is maintaining autonomy or joining a larger network.
Staying independent as a physician simply means that you opt to run your own practice rather than merging or selling to a larger hospital system.
4 Tips for Maintaining an Independent Physician Practice
For those of you set on maintaining your independence, take a look at these four tips that will help you with the legalities, financials, and overall mindset you need in order to maintain your independent physician practice. Conversely, many of these will provide you with more clarity should you decide to sell your practice and become part of a bigger hospital network.
1.) Hire a Healthcare Attorney
You should make the decision to maintain your autonomy as a practice if it adds more value to your life and your career than joining a healthcare system. A healthcare attorney can answer questions about the value of your specialty on the market and can negotiate on your behalf for better insurance rates.
Healthcare attorneys can ask the right questions to ensure you are properly paid, represented in court, and maintaining compliant policies. Having a professional on your team who can handle all the murky legal waters is crucial for protecting yourself and staying up to code. Understanding your rights and obtaining fair rates for yourself is much more easily done if you have a legal professional advocating for you.
Questions Your Healthcare Attorney Can Answer Should You Merge Your Practice
- What’s the non-compete clause in your employment contract (radius, etc)?
- Who’s going to pay for support staff?
- What’s the rent for your space going to be?
- What is the Relative Value Unit (RVU) rate for your specialty?
- Who’s going to pay for Tail Coverage (form of malpractice insurance)?
- What’s going to be the value of the current accounts receivable?
2.) Hire a Financial Planner
Before you make any big decisions, you need to have a thorough understanding of your current financial situation. Knowing where you stand relative to your own goals can give you the clarity on whether you can meet those goals with your current financial structure.
A Financial Planner Can Help You
- Build your practice wealth
- Manage your Financials and investments
- Help you obtain your financial goals by keeping you on track
On the other hand, if a big hospital system wants to buy you out, you will have a better understanding of your position and worth which will keep you from settling or underselling yourself. It is the best way to ensure the most rewarding possible outcome for your practice. At the end of the day, a financial planner will keep you on track for hitting your goals. They will also be able to spot deficiencies and areas of improvement, and ultimately help you make an informed decision concerning the reality of staying independent.
3.) Hire a Practice Consultant
Owning an independent physician practice comes with a lot of paperwork and administrative processes to keep it running properly. Many doctors perceive this mandatory business side of practicing to be a major drawback. This is where the role of a practice consultant comes into play. Essentially, they will take care of the administrative side so you can focus on working with patients.
An experienced practice consultant can help you review your current practice for efficiencies and make suggestions that will help you streamline your practice processes. When selecting the best practice consultant, you will want to find one that is up to speed on current policies and best practices and stay on top of the ever-developing industry. This will allow them to keep your practice current and running as efficiently as possible.
4.) Adopt the Mindset of an Entrepreneur
Owning your practice is, essentially, running a business. Therefore, if you do decide to stay independent, you must adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur. Consider attending leadership, management, and business trainings to better prepare yourself to operate an independent physician practice with an entrepreneurial mindset. Additionally, exercise the muscle of leadership and motivation, so that you can continue to compete effectively in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.
These 4 tips from Shane Tenny, CFP® should help you run your independent physician practice smoothly. At the end of the day, no matter what you choose, you need to have a thorough understanding of where your practice stands financially, and where you stand with meeting your career goals. Though hiring professionals and leadership training can add to your business expenses, delegating these important responsibilities for your practice can help you elevate your business in the long run.
Note from guest contributor: Securities, investment advisory and financial planning services offered through qualified Registered Representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Supervisory office: 4350 Congress Street, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28209, (704) 557-9600. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC or its affiliated companies. CRN202202-259273