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Practice Management


When a senior physician siphons patients from a new doctor, How to seek payment for unassigned patients, Whether to allow employees to "borrow" your office address


Practice Management

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Choose article section...When a senior physician siphons patients from a new doctor How to seek payment for unassigned patients Whether to allow employees to "borrow" your office address Don't let semantics thwart your buy-in agreement

When a senior physician siphons patients from a new doctor

Q My multispecialty group's only other ob/gyn—who's been with the practice for 25 years—is hogging new and urgent care patients instead of funneling them to me.

His actions violate two of our group's fundamental policies: (1) new patients should be directed to new doctors, and (2) established patients who can't see their regular doctor within seven days should be given the option of seeing the new doctor.

Nonetheless, the senior doctor insists his seniority allows him to overbook—even if this inconveniences—or possibly, harms—patients. How should I address the problem?

A Talk to senior management. They should understand that the established ob/gyn is undermining not only your success, but also the group's. Ask them to help you hammer out an agreement with the other ob/gyn. Then document the terms of the agreement, sign it (along with the other doctor), and distribute copies to your front-desk staff.

If no one is willing to approach the "patient hog," consider moving on to a practice that will provide you true support.


How to seek payment for unassigned patients

QSeveral patients in one managed care plan joined my practice five weeks after their open enrollment ended. The HMO explained that these patients had originally requested a physician whose panel was full.

Since the plan began paying me for the rest of its members five weeks before, shouldn't it pay me retroactively for these latecomers?

A In theory, Yes. But don't hold your breath.

Try to find out if the carrier paid the physician your patients originally chose. If it did, you could argue that the money should be transferred to you.

Whether to allow employees to "borrow" your office address

QSome staffers in our four-doctor group receive personal mail at the office. Do your consultants see any problem with this?

A For the most part, No. Nonetheless, be aware of these potential problems:

Employees who receive personal mail at work may attend to personal business on your clock. And staffers who receive mail at the office may be trying to hide something from a spouse—a situation you shouldn't get involved with.

Don't let semantics thwart your buy-in agreement

QWhat is the difference between an "assets purchase agreement" and a typical buy-sell contract?

A Buy-sell contracts are most often used in group practices. Such a contract specifies the method for determining the value of a group's assets and liabilities, as well as what circumstances can trigger the buy-sell clause—retirement, disability, resignation, addition of a new partner, and the like. Intangible assets such as goodwill and accounts receivable may also be addressed.

An assets purchase agreement, on the other hand, is more likely to be used when a physician buys a practice outright from its current owner. In many states, this type of agreement allows the purchaser to pay for assets only without taking on liability for things like unpaid bills, potential malpractice claims, or fines resulting from an insurance audit.


Edited by Kristie Perry,
Contributing Writer


Do you have a practice management question that may be stumping other doctors, too? Write: PMQA Editor, Medical Economics magazine, 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742, or send an e-mail to mepractice@medec.com (please include your regular postal address). Sorry, but we're not able to answer readers individually.


Kristie Perry. Practice Management.

Medical Economics


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