Physicians today are struggling. They are concerned about “Obama Care”, declining reimbursement, and poor payer mix among other things. Actually, I would contend that they are concerned about what they don’t know. Much of the “reform” that has been touted has not really been articulated; in fact the ACO regulations were just recently published. It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown and today, from my perspective that is what physicians really fear the most. Physicians are contemplating selling their practices as never before with the fear of an ACO taking over all that they do. Before you sell consider the following options
1) Do you really “need” to sell your practice? Practices that have contemplated the sale question may not understand what their current compensation is compared to peers. That’s where a benchmark survey comes in. Do you know if your current practice is compensating you above your peers or lower. What does compensation if you are employed by a hospital look like? Did you know that there are benchmark compensation reports that show the variance between physicians employed by a hospital or those employed in private practice?
2) If you sell your practice what will change? Often physicians will be offered a lucrative contract to join the hospital’s medical group, but what happens in two years after being employed. As a consultant I have helped physicians negotiate the sale of their practice to a hospital, but I have also helped them transition back into a independent practice. Physicians are often surprised by the number of staff that they have loyally cared for over the years being adsorbed by the hospital, relocated to a central billing office or even dismissed from employment. Does the hospital have an “outreach program”, it’s likely they do, and it’s likely that they’ll want you to travel for them to help them “grow their market”. Be ready to put some miles on. This does not have to be a bad thing, finding complex, interesting cases can be very rewarding, but the time commitment can be significant, depending upon the market you’re working in and the market the hospital wants to grow.
3) How happy are other physicians that have sold their practices to the same hospital? Make sure that you do your own surveillance to identify what has been positive for other physicians who have made the transition to be employed by the hospital. Make sure that you talk with your colleagues in the same specialty, and get a good sample of physicians who have been employed for a year, two years or three years to get a good idea of the culture of being employed.
At Systems Consulting, we work with physicians to be objective, to evaluate their practice and help them to make decisions with objective data and benchmarks. Our team can help you to unravel to complexity of your practice and provide expert guidance. Call us today to learn more, we offer a free 30 minute telephone call to get you started.