So you’ve set up a thriving solo medical practice, and now you’re ready to hand over the baton.
Or maybe you’re part of a group practice, wanting to ensure your group is prepared to fill any remaining gaps when you leave.
Whatever the scenario, written succession plans, prepared several years in advance will help you achieve a better financial outcome and maintain the loyalty of current patients by providing seamless handover of care.
HBN has created succession plans for many medical practices across virtually every specialty, and the one thing we’ve consistently found is that many doctors are waiting too long to think about it.
“Succession planning is essential risk management best-practice and it is crucial to be aware of succession plans years in advance, not wait until 12 or 18 months before it happens,” says HBN co-founder Hanya Oversby.
“I have seen many physicians neglect the planning of their exit until the last minute which can make all the difference in getting a good sale price and most importantly getting the right health professionals to hand over the reins.”
She says from the practice perspective, early, transparent planning provides clarity and shows leadership. “If the practice is large and well established, it can be uncomfortable at the outset discussing who will replace a senior physician or executive. But putting a plan in place early can essentially prevent infighting which could be quite damaging financially and otherwise down track.”
Here are just a few questions Hanya encourages practice owners to ask when planning their practice exit.
- Do I have an emergency departure plan (if one doctor becomes ill, leaves suddenly or dies)?
Or just a departure-defined plan? Ideally, all practices should have both an interim emergency plan, and a more extensive, departure-defined plan prepared five years before succession.
- If I need to find a replacement for any of my key people, do I have a clear, written job description which outlines the expectations of the replacement/s from the outset?
- Have I organised legal and financial advice for the sale of the practice and organised an external consultant to appraise my practice and assist with winding up?
- How long before succession should I get my first property valuation and practice appraisal? ,
- If I’m a solo practitioner, should I slow down gradually and close the practice for a nominal value or should I recruit a successor early, build the practice up to support two physicians and then sell the remaining half?
- If I’m in a group practice, how is my “tail insurance” impacted by the sale of my business? And how will this impact my successor?
- Do I have a “governance” plan in place? (many long term staff who have been instrumental in the success of the practice may otherwise be left wondering whether they still “fit” after the practice owner has gone).
- Even if I have decided who my successor will be – do I have a “mission statement” that clearly sets out the goals of the practice?
- Am I regularly grooming younger physicians/staff and involving them in committee and decision making early?
Could this better help me/other senior partners see how they would fare in leadership roles?
- Do I have mentors in mind that I can connect with my chosen succession candidates early?
- Could I do a “trial run” of my successor/successors to see who may be most suitable for my patients? Ideally in private meetings each person could be told the position they’re being singled out for, with an understanding there is no guarantee, that there may be other candidates and that the situation can change due to circumstances encountered by either the company or the succession candidates themselves.
- Have I assessed whether my succession candidate/candidates need further training in communication skills, empathy and diplomacy, financial or business management skills?
- How will I communicate the handover with my patients? Do I expect referrals patterns to change as a result of the handover? If so, when should I start mentoring a younger doctor/my team to provide a “seamless transition” of care?
- How long before succession begins should I notify patients, and how many times should I remind them in the lead up?
- Have I got steps in place to transfer and close down my social media and online web presence?
Let HBN develop a strategic exit plan well in advance, find and introduce you to buyers, provide legal assistance on the sale and ensure that your life’s labour is left in good hands!
Email us today for a complimentary 20 minute phone consult.