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    Career decisions: Should you start, buy or join a practice?

    The bottom line: Choose what will make you personally and professionally happy.

     

    What to consider when evaluating an employment offer:

    • Compatibility: First and foremost is compatibility between you and the people and environment you will work in—the physicians, the staff, and management. Does it feel like a comfortable environment to you? Visit the workplace for at least a full day.
    • Check references: Interview physicians with your prospective employer. Call another physician who left employment there and ask about his or her experience. 
    • Income, financial and legal issues: The best approach is to have an independent medical consultant (available at NSCHBC.org or MGMA.org ) review the offer and tell you if it is a good opportunity. A consultant can find many hidden problems that an inexperienced person might miss.
    • Security and risk: What’s your “Plan B” if things don’t work out? If you decide after a few months that the job is not for you, can you walk away without major obligations? Always plan your exit strategy going in.
    • Government and management: Who is in charge of the physicians? Is there a senior doctor, or a lay president? If there are disagreements in the way the practice is run, how are they handled? Is there a protocol for arbitration?
    • Staff considerations: Do employees have clear job descriptions? Do the doctors handle the employees professionally, or are they at risk for a lawsuit? Do the physicians treat the staff with respect and professionalism?
    Keith Borglum, CHBC
    The author is a practice management consultant, appraiser, and broker in Santa Rosa, CA.

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