Ask the Expert ~ How to Leave a Medical Practice

After 25 years in private group practice, this full-share physician is headed for new pastures and is unsure of how to handle managing his buy-out. The first step: determining how much you're worth.

What should I be aware of when leaving my present practice in which I am a full partner and have been for 25 years to take a position elsewhere? I own a share of our condo space. How do I handle accounts receivable, etc.?

Shirley Mueller, MD - My Money MD

When leaving your long time practice in which you are a full partner, there are a few important considerations.

First, the practice has to be assessed so that the value of your share can be determined to your satisfaction and that of your partners. A national consulting firm like Scroggins can do this, or there may be a local firm that specializes in medical practices that can as well.

You may want to ask them to assess your condominium-office shares too, or seek an appraisal from a real estate firm. In case of a dispute in either situation, you and your partners should agree ahead of time on a second firm that can also provide an examination to resolve any conflict.

After this or these evaluation(s), the sum of your buy-out can be determined. It is unlikely that it is already in your contract because the value of most medical practices is dynamic. You may wish to negotiate whether the buyout occurs over one or more years.

Secondly, determine if your medical malpractice has a tail imbedded within it. If it does not, you will want to buy one.

And, finally, the patients have to be notified. The practice will almost certainly do this, but you will want to say your personal ‘good-bys,’ etc. My assumption is that the patients will be staying with the practice, so their records will too.

And finally, congratulations on your new position!