Magazine article Medical Economics

Practice Management

Magazine article Medical Economics

Practice Management

Article excerpt

A contract for physicians who share expenses

Q I'm a solo practitioner who's been sharing expenses and call with four other physiclans. We think we ought to formalize our arrangement, and want to draw up a professional agreement. But rather than impose hard and fast rules, we just want it to provide simple guidelines. What should we include in the agreement, and where can we find examples of such a document?

A Sorry, but our consultants aren't keen on "simple guidelines." Absence of the right kind of formal agreement opens the door to violation of referral rules, wrangles with the IRS over payroll taxes, and increased malpractice liability.

Contact an attorney experienced with medical groups. The agreement that's drawn up should indicate which expenses are divided equally, and which are allocated based on consumption. How will you measure consumption-by gross charges, receipts, number of patient visits, or RVUs? Which practice is responsible for withholding and depositing payroll taxes? You also may want to consider incorporating or setting up a limited liability company to shield each of you from malpractice claims filed against the other doctors.

Which records to transfer when a patient switches doctors

Q When a patient switches to another physician, we often receive a request for "all" medical records. Is it appropriate to send every thing in the patients chart-including communications and test results received from other specialists and hospitals?

A Yes, but be sure to get written authorization from the patient to send everything in her file. Get a separate release for records that contain references to treatment for STDs, drug or alcohol abuse, or psychiatric problems. And send copies-not originals.

Why you can't sell your practice to your staff

Q I'm planning to retire in two years and want to make sure my employees are well provided for after I leave. …

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