Dr. Adam Leonard is ready to get out…out of his practice, out of the bills, out of the paper work, and out of the ICD-10 upgrades. Adam is ready to get out of the business of healthcare, and he has been ready for years.
Maybe. He’s not completely sure.
Running his own group practice was supposed to bring him more control over his life and financial future, and to some degree it has. He’s been able to choose the physicians he works with and has more leverage in his dealing with the hospital a few miles down the road.
Still though, Adam is ready to move on. Mind you, he’s not necessarily ready to move on from medicine…he still loves working with (most of) his patients and contributing to the health of his community. But he’s also watched his work and his life transform along with the tides of the healthcare industry.
He’s heard the stats that say that one third of physicians have been selling their practices because of the challenges that have come with the Affordable Care Act, and he’s seen the proof in his colleagues walking away from their life’s work. He knows medicine is a rough field and is willing to walk through some changes, but he wants to be smart, and make sure he stays prepared for his future.
Last week, Adam had lunch with his long-time friend, Jens. Jens works in IT at St. Mary’s, the hospital Adam’s practice has been happily affiliated with for years. Jens gave Adam the heads up that the hospital is planning on completely overhauling its EHR system—their new CIO is laser-focused on hitting Meaningful Use objectives and already has his sights set on Stage 3 compliance.
Adam knows what’s coming next.
St. Mary’s will want him to bring his practice up to their tech standards. He’s seen both the good and bad of upgrades like this one, and he knows it’s going to put a serious burden on his practice, his staff, his patients and of course, himself—and that’s if everything goes as planned. Implementing new EHR systems means weeks of training, months of adjustment, frustration, and general interruption of the already short time they have to care for their patients.
Still, Adam’s been through worse and he’s sure that with the support of his staff and physicians, they’ll get over this bump too…he just knows this will likely be the last storm in his career that he wants to ride out and that he has to do something to get started on an exit strategy.
THE PROBLEMS YOU FACE
You and Adam have a lot in common. Maybe instead of worrying about selling your medical practice, you have an urgent care business you’ve flirted with selling off, or a behavioral health business that you’re just not sure you want to be a part of anymore. Regardless, you face some of the same challenges that are so common in healthcare.
Changes in reimbursement models that mean more risk on your shoulders
Fluctuating Medicare reimbursement rates
Collections from patients with self-pay, high-deductible, and health savings account plans
Understanding what an episode of care really costs you
It’s a lot.
Navigating your future in health care can be a lot less weighty if you begin considering a few of the small steps that Dr. Leonard already has taken:
What he wants: Adam’s been at this long enough to know the kind of lifestyle he wants and what levels of stress and general commitment he can tolerate. He knows that his personal goals of a stable salary, security for his employees, set hours, and more time to treat his patients are attainable. He just needs to quantify those factors into actual business goals around his practice.
What’s out there: Healthcare is a market in the most pure economic sense. Adam knows this, and since he’s aware that figuring out the health care market isn’t his area of expertise, he knows that he needs a bit of help from someone who can show him how to navigate its complexities. He’s gotten the “I’m selling my practice, Adam” news from friends a lot lately, but none of their experiences have seemed particularly pleasant or even just ok.
What to do: This is the biggest blind spot for Adam, but he knows it’s necessary. He creates treatment plans for his patients and knows that work and understanding go into each successful plan. He’s very aware that he needs the same in navigating his own career changes. He also knows he doesn’t want to spend another decade keeping up with industry technology and regulatory changes…but does he want to sell his practice and retire? Should he stay involved? Can he sell just part of his business? What will happen to his staff…his friends…if some huge health system absorbs them?
What he has: Adam’s done all the work of investing smartly on his own, but he can’t help wondering what kind of financial value he has in his practice. He doesn’t necessarily want to step out of it, but if he passed on ownership to someone else and continued to treat patients, how much could he reasonably expect? He’s heard other doctors talk about medical practice valuation, but isn’t sure how it works, or whether the St. Mary’s EHR upgrade will help or hurt him when he’s actually ready to cash out.
Adam’s likely move out of owning his practice doesn’t have to happen tomorrow. It also doesn’t have to leave his employees, patients and friends stranded. The points he’s started considering can be fleshed out into a comfortable and safe plan that will leave Adam, and everyone he cares about in a position they can manage. He just needs some help.
At StratGrow, we’ve been creating plans like this for people like Adam for years, and we can get the same started for you with no obligation.
We talk a lot about situations like Adam’s here, so subscribe to our bulletin below (you’ll learn a lot) to help yourself stay ahead of your plans, or contact us now to kick off your own plans and find out all the options you have in managing your involvement in the healthcare industry.