When running your own medical practice, it is important to develop your business acumen. You are no longer a doctor responsible for your patients. Rather, you’re also a business owner responsible to your vendors, partners, and employees. Here are three key areas that are important for you, the business owner, to understand when running a medical practice.
1. Don’t Forget, It’s a Business! Your medical practice is a business. This means you have the same issues that any business has: disputes with landlords, employment claims, etc. While there are certain aspects that are unique to medicine, such as anti-kickback if you rent space from another doctor or clinic, or HIPAA training for your employees, many potential liabilities will be the same. You need to abide by the terms of your lease or risk eviction, you need to pay your employees properly or risk a wage and hour claim. It is important to consistently take a step back from the practice of medicine and look at your practice through the lens of a business owner.
2. Have the Right Malpractice Coverage. Here in Florida, a doctor can go “bare” – not carry malpractice. To do so, however, a physician must “demonstrate…financial responsibility to pay claims and costs ancillary thereto…”. In other words, a physician has to have the ability to pay her/his malpractice claims. Under the Florida statute, financial responsibility can be achieved a number of ways, including carrying malpractice insurance of $100,00/$300,00; maintaining an escrow account with those amounts; obtaining a letter of credit; or agreeing to pay all proven malpractice claims of under $100,000 (if you do not have hospital privileges) or $250,000 (if you maintain hospital privileges) and posting a notice in your office that you do not carry malpractice. The statute provides you the financial flexibility to determine how to best manage your risk, but compliance with the statute is critical, as failing to do so could jeopardize your license.
3. Avoid Handshake Deals. Forming partnerships with other doctors or other third parties, such as technology solution providers or billing solution providers, can be an excellent way (and sometimes necessary way) to grow your practice. However, it is extremely important to formalize these relationships with well written agreements. Avoid the urge to commence any business relationship after only a conversation, no matter how potentially fruitful the relationship could be. A handshake deal with vague, broad terms exposes you and your practice to very expensive, difficult, and drawn-out litigation. Before proceeding with any long-term business relationships, consult with your legal team to ensure you and your business are protected.
At Ser & Associates, we represent regularly represent, physicians, medical practices, clinics and research sites and assist them with a full spectrum of legal matters, including employment contracts, leases, employment issues, vendor/supplier agreements and compliance. So, give us a call today at 305-222-7282 to discuss what you can do to protect your medical practice. And, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn to learn more about how we can assist you and your business!