How to Ensure a Successful Transition with a New Partner

June 13, 2019 Blog

Adding a partner to your practice is a big decision that not only impacts your work as a doctor, but the experiences of your patients and staff as well. The best way to transition to a partnership is to plan for it well ahead of time, putting systems in place that maximize communication, efficiency, and growth.

Is Your Practice Ready?

Before even making plans for a partner, make sure the decision is the best move for your practice. As it stands, the practice may not have the resources to support a second doctor. On the other hand, going solo may be just what’s holding you back. Keep the following questions in mind as you weigh the costs and benefits of a partnership.

  • Is there potential to expand your patient base, hours, and services? Are you having to turn patients away because you can’t meet the demands on your own?
  • Are you struggling with work-life balance? Is the inflexibility of your schedule, lack of vacation days, and time away from family and friends causing you to burn out?
  • Would you benefit not only from the financial support, but the emotional support and camaraderie of a partner who understands your work?
  • Would you like to extract some equity from your practice without retiring just yet? And, perhaps, prepare for an eventual buyout?

Legal Agreements

Before you and your partner get too far into the process, you will need to draw up agreements that will clarify expectations and ensure the legal protection of both parties. Two of these documents include the buy-sell agreement and partnership agreement. Along with agreeing on a purchase price, you and your partner must understand the details of any outside financing, including how that will impact the practice and taxes. The partnership agreement defines and governs both doctors’ rights, responsibilities, and obligations, including how to handle spending, assets, and transitions to selling or retirement.

Compensation Structures

Agreeing on a compensation structure is crucial to a smooth transition to partnership. You and your future partner, along with a trusted accountant, should take your time exploring the pros and cons of options, including tiered compensation, production-based compensation, and a percentage of net collections reduced by allocated expenses.  

Administrative Structure

Adding a partner changes the structure of your practice, which will likely necessitate putting new systems in place to help staff acclimate to two owners. Factors to consider include scheduling (of both patients and staff), billing, charting, treatment plans, and patient records. You and your partner may bring a number of systems to the table to modify and customize to the new partnership. Alternatively, you may decide together on a dental or medical office management software to streamline these processes and tasks.

Looking to bring a partner to your private practice? Collier & Associates can help you navigate the details. Contact us—we have expertise in every type of practice transition.

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