As physicians, we are more than those who are skilled in the art of medicine. We’re also business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders. However, declining reimbursement rates and a complex healthcare industry place insurmountable pressure on private practices.
Negotiating with payers, competing with local hospitals, managing your electronic health record (EHR), maintaining advanced care, and the crushing weight of additional administrative burdens make running a private practice feel like a never-ending marathon.
There is power in owning a practice that makes a profound difference in your patients’ lives. Speaking as a doctor who used to work in a health system and switched to independent practice, employment can be more restricting than it appears. In fact, doctors who transitioned from employment to independence had a satisfaction rate of 71 percent. The opposite? Only 40 percent claimed they were satisfied with their decision.
If you’re evaluating options for selling your private practice or starting your own, here are three compelling reasons to consider remaining or starting in the independent space with a partner.
Reason #1: You Retain Your Autonomy
To me, being an independent physician means the freedom to structure work around my life while providing personalized care to my patients. I’m not limited by a structure, and that freedom gave me the opportunity to raise my two boys and be present for all important events.
Professionally, I’ve been able to achieve:
- Leadership positions. Privia’s physician-led organization has given me a voice in my community and helped me develop my skills as a business owner through their leadership programs.
- Diversity and inclusion in patient care. The doctors at Privia are keen on elevating women and minorities into leadership roles. This way, we can advocate for initiatives we know would best serve our patients and communities.
- Pursuing my passion for clinical research. My partnership enabled me to bring clinical research back to my practice. So far, it has been a massive success. I can refer patients to clinical trials that, in many cases, could improve their health at a reduced cost. It makes me proud to hear my patients say, “This level of care is why I recommend your practice to others.”
With a partner, I have day-to-day support similar to what a health system would provide, except I retain ownership and get to focus on our patients. My staff and I receive the administrative tools and solutions to give our care center the wrap-around support necessary to keep up with these large systems.
Reason #2: Boost Your Bottom Line
We all want a seat at the table when it comes to the viability of our practices, but selling your practice may turn out to be a game of musical chairs.
As an independent physician, you can get paid for your work with few or no limitations. However, hospitals understandably have to compensate their staff and physicians, pay for overhead, procure supplies, and manage their technology platform. Therefore, you lose a lot of control over financial decisions that directly affect you.
Read Dr. Grayson’s reflections on independent practice, health equity, and sharing book recommendations with patients.
By partnering with Privia, I maintained control and received a leg up in a lot of financial opportunities. Privia practices have access to exclusive contracts, strategically negotiated reimbursements, group purchasing arrangements and rates, clinical research, and value-based care programs. Overall, there are many ways practices can boost their bottom line with a partner and alleviate financial burdens without selling their businesses.
Reason #3: You Have Other Options
There are many partners out there that can help you continue running your private practice, but it’s important to choose the right partner. Your partner should understand your immense value as an independent physician: the way you provide care matters. You know your patients and community better than anyone to provide personalized and comprehensive care.
I chose Privia because they provided support similar to that of a health system. They put me at the center of my practice. Their passion for excellent patient care, cost-effective approach to practice operations, robust technology, physician-led governance, and healthcare industry expertise help protect the viability of my practice and, most importantly, enable me to care for my patients the way I see fit.
Finding a partner can be challenging, but these criteria can help you weigh your options.
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