I am considering transitioning my practice to a large group practice. The deal I am being presented seems pretty easy. I am not getting any money for my practice, but I will have a higher salary than I have been able to take for the past 5 years. And, the new salary amount will be guaranteed for 3 years. I have met the "transition team" and the process seems very streamlined. Do you have any words of advice?
Dr. G, this is a pretty typical scenario of late, with the potential offer coming from large groups or possibly a hospital system. First, and I'm aware this is self-serving, but you cannot go through this process without an experienced healthcare attorney, so feel free to call me
directly to discuss your situation in particular. Second, and I'm sorry for being a "downer", but the positives of the arrangement are easy to identify if you are actually considering such a major transition (usually the promise of more money and greater flexibility), its the negatives that have to be examined. Specifically, just because it seems easy to transition in, how do you transition out if the new arrangement isn't working for you? There are ways to secure an "out", and they must be negotiated and integrated prior to the transition, at the time the deal is struck. In most instances, it is your attorney who will have these discussions with opposing counsel, not you with the "deal people", so that the atmosphere can stay friendly, and the appropriate parties can work out legal terms.
There are a million metaphors I could use here to illustrate my point, but suffice it to say, not every "golden ticket" can be cashed, so do not put all of your eggs in one basket without an exit strategy. You did not work ___ (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 -fill in the blank) years to be swayed into a terminable employment agreement and booted from your livelihood - if you sign a bad deal (with or without the advice of counsel), you will have to live with the consequences.
So, advice - Be smart. Be prepared. Perform proper due diligence. Secure an exit strategy (whether that be a buy-out, or way out) before you sign. And, work with your team (healthcare atty and accountant to ensure you are joining a good fit).