Securing Your Own Medical Practice

securing your own practice

Entering the medical field after years of school and training can be just as tough as the process it took to get there. Moving up through the field and eventually owning and operating your own medical practice can be tough, but there are several ways you can make things much easier on yourself. There are also pitfalls you may encounter along the way, which others before you have seen and successfully navigated.

Dr. MaDan’s Story

On an episode of the MedShark Insider podcast, Bill Fukui asks Dr. Olivia MaDan of Plastic Surgery Affiliates about what it was like securing her own medical practice as an associate looking to move up. In her case, Dr. MaDan took over her current practice from a different surgeon who was looking to sell. She met him from an online job board listing, and he was upfront about the fact that he was ready to move on from this practice soon. It is unique to find someone so ready to transfer ownership, as usually you’d be an associate for longer before taking over. Every situation can look totally different.

Since Dr. MaDan began moving into an ownership role for this practice from 2020-2022, there were a slew of unique pandemic-related challenges she had to overcome, and the already-murky process was further clouded. However, Dr. MaDan was able to move past these roadblocks by keeping her head held high and her determination sharp.

Growing Your Network

As any business professional will tell you, the #1 most lucrative and important thing to do for your career is working on expanding your network. Networking is one of the most valuable skills to develop, especially as a medical professional looking to enter the business world by attempting to secure their own practice. It’s rarely the case that you’ll know someone who will hold a spot for you despite more qualified candidates being available, as some believe it to be. Most commonly, people are looking to surround themselves with (or sell to) people they can trust to carry out their needs the way they like it. Establishing yourself as someone who is trustworthy and passionate about your work is best done through gaining new connections and strengthening existing ones.

Send emails, schedule coffee-chats, call the office and just generally get to know the people at whatever established practice you have your eye on. You never know if there is a golden opportunity waiting for you, so the least you can do is ask about the situation. This will also give you opportunities to get to know your future coworkers and show off your personality. The more time you spend speaking with someone, the better.

Timelines

Depending on your situation, acquiring a medical practice can take different spans of time. If you are in a position where the owner of the practice intends to keep running the show for the foreseeable future, your career goal of owning the practice can be put on the backburner, or you can look elsewhere. If you are in the position where the current owner is ready to sell you the practice, the process can begin, but may take years with all the paperwork and processes.

In some cases, as it was with Dr. MaDan, you can be transferred ownership and hire the previous owner for a 1-year contract or something similar to ensure they are still around for the transition period.

The Transition of Ownership

If you are gearing up to take ownership of a practice you are currently a part of, sometimes the current owner will keep their old clients, but all new clients will be directed to you, so the transition can slowly work as time passes and clients come and go. It is a long process, so transitioning clients can’t all happen at once, especially in a medical field where unique attention is required for each patient, and the doctor involved initially should see everything through. This stipulation can often be re-negotiated, depending on who is selling the practice.

In some cases, people will leave the practice when ownership changes, which is why a slow transition of power is recommended. It is important to build-in time for yourself to hire new employees in the event this happens without sacrificing the flow of income from new/existing patients or their safety from a medical standpoint.

Your Unique Situation

Most practices are at different phases of growth, so coming into a new practice fresh out of school and being given the reins isn’t always what will happen. Sometimes, you will be selected to take over when the current owner wants to leave or retire, and sometimes, you’ll need to start from scratch, getting your own location and hiring your own employees. No matter the situation, there will still be some challenging parts. It is important in any case to leave yourself time to make decisions and to be clear and upfront about your intentions with anyone you talk to. Your new practice is out there somewhere, so be intentional about every step of the process of molding it to be what you believe is best for you and your patients.

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