Earlier this week I tweeted a link to a Houston Chronicle article published earlier this month called “Texas Doctors Finding it Tough to Remain Independent”. The article describes some of the reasons more physicians are selling their practices to hospitals these days, citing increased regulation with the Affordable Care Act and a decrease in reimbursement from insurance companies as the primary reasons.
There are some things to think about, though, as you are wined and dined by hospitals promising to ease your financial worry.
You lose your ability to make practice decisions. You may have a dress code, inflexible office hours and restrictions on your vacation time (and when you use it).
Your partners and colleagues are hired by someone else. As an employee of a hospital or multispecialty group, you do not get to decide the other providers in your practice.
Your employees work for someone else now. They will have new rules and regulations and you may have little say in how they are enforced. Similarly, you may lose hiring and firing decisions.
You will experience delays in decision making. Decisions you used to be able to make yourself, such as when to invest in new equipment or adjusting a patient bill will require you to submit a request and wait for approval from several layers of management.
You can’t go back. Once you have made the decision to sell your practice, it will be very difficult to start out on your own again. If you have signed a non-compete, you will have to move far enough away from you established patients and start over.
You can stay independent if you take the right partners. Next week I will write about how to find the right help. If you already feel strapped financially, don’t think you can’t hire help – the right partner will be able to bring in far more money than they charge, leaving the profit for you to take home, not your new employer.