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The author, a practice management consultant with Practice Performance Group in La Jolla, CA, is an editorial consultant to <i>Medical Economics</i>.
You don't necessarily need to buy out a retiring partner.
A: Just because someone wants to sell you something doesn't mean you have an obligation to buy it. In a group practice of three or more, it's generally a good idea for the partners to protect each other with buy-sell agreements that cover early death, disability, or retirement. Two-physician practices can't make many promises in this area, however, because in most cases one physician won't need to, or won't be able to pay for the practice of the other. The bottom line is that you shouldn't feel obligated to pay for someone else's failure to plan ahead.