Letters: Readers comment on Medical Economics stories

April 25, 2012

Letters address additional tips for maintaining efficiency in your practice, how to get started with selling your practice to an insurance company, and the difference between GPs and FPs.

Two more tips for maintaining efficiency in your practice

I read with interest "The art of office triage" by George G. Ellis Jr., MD, FACP, in the March 10 issue. I am a family physician with many years of experience. I would like to add two suggestions that were very helpful to me in maintaining the efficiency of my office practice.

JOSEPH V. COOK, MD
Salt Lake City, Utah

Simple steps to start selling to an insurance company

I loved the topic of Michael D. Brown, CHBC's article "Sell to an insurance company? Why not?" (March 10 issue). Now I want to know: How do I contact insurance companies?

SUDEEPA GUPTA, MD
Rockville, Maryland

Response from Michael D. Brown:
Getting started selling to an insurance company is a three-step process. The first thing any potential buyer would want to know is the value of your practice. Tax returns, financials, profit-and-loss statements, accounts receivable, and a depreciation list are required to do this. Once the value is determined, the next step is to pursue the potential buyers. These could be junior physicians, hospitals, insurance carriers, or the competition. Each of these three to five buyers will require 3 to 5 hours of negotiation. The third phase of this process is to create a letter of intent and, ultimately, a buy-sell agreement.

We need to be partners

Mark W. Eulberg, MD's belittling letter to the editor does no one in medicine any favors ("No, FPs aren't multispecialists," [Talk Back], March 10 issue). I am a family physician (FP), and I consider myself a "specialist in the common problems." I know my abilities and my restrictions. If a patient's condition is beyond my ability to treat, I am the first to refer. No, I wouldn't treat a patient with hypertension and diabetes who is in labor. However, there are many counties where obstetricians (OBs) are not to be found, and an FP may be the only game in town. You don't always have time to transfer to where there is OB coverage. An FP can treat patients with strokes, Parkinson's, or dementia. There aren't enough neurologists in the entire world to treat all these patients.

While Dr. Eulberg may have witnessed FPs getting into trouble, I have witnessed specialists who can't see past their own specialty to consider the whole patient. I see them through thick and thin. I know the patient, their family, and friends. While I can't do a patient's coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), I am the one who controls their diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, therefore, potentially keeping them from needing a CABG.

Rather than impugning the FPs' value, I would suggest Dr. Eulberg work with them. We should be partners, not adversaries.

LESLIE F. STORK, MD
Canyon Lake, Texas

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