Manage Your Practice

Pain Physicians and Patients in Pain From Corporate Practice Gone Bad

January 25, 2021

There may be a shortage of foresight. But there’s no shortage of stupidity.

Many physicians, when selling their practices to, or even joining well established, corporate practice of medicine ventures see things through rose-colored glasses even if they’re not ophthalmologists.

Those selling their practice generally focus on the cash, seller’s note, and perhaps stock that they receive along with a lengthy employment agreement, even at haircut compensation levels.

For those joining a practice without a sale, there’s that often repeated promise of “you just practice medicine, we’ll take care of the rest.” 

Ah, the honeymoon period.

But what happens when your metaphorical spouse kicks you to the gutter and leaves town?

Then you’re without a practice, without medical records, and without an ability to contact patients.

Take, for example, the story of the Wisconsin physicians impacted by last year’s failure of Advanced Pain Management, an integrated physician practice and ASC company.

When clinics and surgery centers closed, some of the formerly employed physicians were able to start new practices, but both physicians and patients report that they are having difficulty obtaining medical records. Additionally, physicians complain that it’s hard to reestablish communication with “existing” patients. Existing?

Is anyone surprised?

Apparently, some physicians are. Why, is another story.

Imagine planning a trip to a large, “big box” store that has an entrance only. Would you go in, thinking that you would ever need to exit, or that if you did, that there might not be an exit?

Planning one’s exit is integral to planning one’s entrance into any arrangement through which your practice is dependent upon a corporate practice entity or, for that matter, a hospital. That is, unless you buy the line that the patients were never yours; you were simply a fungible physician “servicing” your employer’s “customers”.

Get help with your career from someone who can see beyond the “enter here” sign.

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