Joining a new group practice

October 9, 2009

A few colleagues are proposing merging into a small group practice and have invited me to join. How do I determine if this is a good idea?

Q: A few colleagues are proposing merging into a small group practice and have invited me to join. How do I determine if this is a good idea?

A: There is power in numbers for many reasons. You can share more costs (like electronic health records), afford better management, spread risk, perhaps dominate your market niche, increase hours of availability, attract payer contracts, add shared ancillary services, and perhaps increase income. One of the most efficient types of groups is a five-physician single specialty, with many benefits over smaller and larger sizes. That way, the practice can gain extra clout and revenues by networking with others of the same specialty or multispecialties for shared ancillary services.

There are some risks involved, and an audit of individual practices should be done prior to formation so that liabilities like employment violations, accounting irregularities, and coding and billing problems are not brought in by individuals to infect the group. Complications can occur in many ways. The process is somewhat complex, and you should prepare a business plan in advance so that each practice can objectively evaluate the opportunity. Consultants specializing in this type of work can be found at nschbc.com and mgma.com.