Some of your patients have been with you from the first day you opened the doors of your medical practice, others you may have “inherited” from a retiring physician. Whether your patients have been coming to you for years or you just met them last week, selling your practice can be an emotional experience for everyone involved– patients, employees and yourself. It’s a daunting proposition and emotions can cause you to overlook a few vital elements.
Once the selling process has started, it’s difficult to backtrack and take care of things left undone. Therefore, following are eight items to do before you sell your practice.
What To Do Before You Sell Your Practice
- Tell your staff.
A solid, dependable staff is at the heart of every successful practice, and if you don’t address any concerns or rumors, they may not be able to give patients their undivided attention. Realize that these employees are concerned about layoffs and the change in dynamics that result from a change in ownership. Give them assurance, but be honest. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, your staff will appreciate it.
- Make sure records will transfer.
Did you know that medical records cannot be part of the sale of the practice? This means that the new physician can only obtain those through written permission from the patients.
- Get your housekeeping in order.
We’re not talking about putting in new carpet or drapes (though that may be a good idea). We’re talking about the human resource manuals and practice policies. Believe it or not, if the buyer sees that you have this already in place, it could result in a better selling price. It’s always best to have a written record of all these policies rather than have them on a hard drive.
- Prepare your patients.
Keep in mind that patients must have the option to choose another doctor if they elect not to remain with the new practice owner. Be sure that their records will be sent to the physician of their choice, and that you’ve gained the required consent.
- Put your best foot forward.
Do you have a profitable practice? The more attractive your practice is to potential buyers, the better your asking price can be. Be sure that your books are well-organized and you have shown a track record of an excellent collection rate. Now is not the time to waive co-pays or allow employees to put in a lot of overtime.
- Know what you’re selling.
If you own both the physical building and the medical practice, you may be actually making two sales. If you’d like to keep the building, you can lease it to the new medical practice. If you’re leasing the building, then the new practice owner may have to start his or her negotiations with your landlord.
- Negotiate employment.
In some cases, the buyer prefers for you to work at the practice as an employee. If that’s the case, be prepared to discuss the length of your employment and your salary.
- Hire a practice advisor.
As the items above indicate, there’s a lot more to selling a practice than merely advertising in industry publications. You need an entire team of experts at your disposal who have extensive experience in everything from real estate to market trends to legal expertise. If you don’t use a practice advisor, you’re at greater risk of wasting time and money.
- Tell your staff.
Selling a practice is a complicated process, and most physicians are inundated with the overwhelming job of a regular workload in addition to informing patients and employees about upcoming changes. More important, a practice advisor can help your practice become more profitable before you decide to sell—which increases its value to potential buyers.
You’ve spent decades building your brand and reputation. Isn’t it worth a little extra time to make sure everything is completed properly?