Last night my remaining partner and I were approached informally by the CMO of the small critical access hospital in our area. A close personal friend of ours, he heard about our third partner leaving and was concerned about the health of our practice during such a time of change. He floated the idea of the hospital purchasing the practice and employing us as physicians. We're considering it.
A buy out would have several advantages starting with a convenient way to buy out our third partner who announced her intention to leave a week ago. They would help us hire an additional provider, which we would have approval of and likely be a mid-level, and then they would go through extensive process it takes to make us a Rural Health Clinic to receive the financial benefits which come with that designation. They currently have an electronic medical record which happens to be the one we've been eyeing for ourselves. If we sell, we get it without having to come up with the $50,000 capital. The little but additive headaches of running a small business like making payroll, deciding whether or not to call an exterminator, and fixing a computer if it crashes would all go away.
Financially the set up would personally benefit me as well. I would likely make significantly more as an employed physician both from a salary perspective, but also from a tax perspective which gives a nasty ding to those of us who are self-employed. My malpractice would be covered and the medical plan is better than what we can afford to give ourselves with our small purchasing power.
The downside is an inevitable loss of some autonomy. We can build in contractual agreements in which certain areas of the management of the practice remains ours, but ultimately we are answering to someone else. We've grown accustomed to being our own bosses and have taken great pride in our fierce independence.
To sell or not to sell. We'll see how serious they are about it. It might be time for this move. I've long been concerned about my own crashing and burning as my partner has just experienced. A move like this may be more sustainable for my career. Perhaps I'll have more time for other interests. Who knows, maybe I'll become a writer too. I've always wanted to be a writer.