Governance

Medical Group Termites

February 8, 2012

Perhaps you’ve carefully structured your medical group’s relationships with hospitals, referral sources and other influencers. But did you pay attention to what’s going on inside your practice’s own house? Have you built a wonderful structure that’s being eaten up from the inside out by the group member equivalents of termites and wood rot?

It’s my experience, and it’s becoming an increasingly regular experience, that medical groups fail more often from problems within the group as opposed to solely from competition or as a result of attacks from outside of the group itself.

These problems range from group members whose misfeasance or malfeasance bring disrepute, to group members who engage in malicious activity outside of the pure scope of medical practice, to group members who actively consort with the hospital or a competitor to destroy or co-opt your practice.

None of the protections that are normally built into relationships between groups and outside parties are aimed at protecting the group from these internal risks.

To do so requires a different series of approaches starting with screening potential group members, whether employees or owners, on personality and interpersonal attributes as well as on medical expertise. It requires carefully evaluating, and not just on an annual review type basis, the members of your group and disciplining, or if required, terminating the “termites” before they destroy your group. It requires an entirely different set of protections built into your group’s internal documents, your shareholders or partnership agreements, employment agreements and subcontracts, in order to protect against more than what even those groups who are “benchmark to best practices” consider relevant. And it requires a coordination between those internal actions and the group’s relationships with hospitals and other facilities.

One disgruntled or malicious physician can destroy your $50 million a year business. Preventing the problem presents one of the best returns on investment you’ll ever receive.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

www.weisspc.com

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