Category Archives: Group Practice

Key Provisions In Associate Dentist Agreements

Many dentists, particularly doctors who have recently graduated from dental school, choose to become associates at larger practices, rather than open their own clinic or partner with another dentist.  Structured correctly, this can be a mutually beneficial relationship, under which the owner-doctor can increase his or her practice’s client base, revenue, and profitability, while the associate doctor can gain more experience, both in providing direct patient care and in the practical operation and administration of a dental practice, which he or she can then use as a future practice owner.

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Navigating the Regulatory Environment for Doctors Part 2 – Prescription Drugs

In our previous post, we looked at the disciplinary framework for dentists as a whole.  This post will look specifically at one topic that has increasingly resulted in discipline for both dentists and physicians alike over the last few years: narcotic pain medication prescriptions.

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After Graduation – Legal Tips for New Doctors

June is graduation season for new doctors in Arizona.  While graduating from medical or dental school is an enormous achievement, it may also be a time of uncertainty as you transition from the academic setting into your new career in the professional world.  The following are some legal and practical tips that might help you as you embark on your career.

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Practice Tips – Hiring an Associate

There are many reasons doctors bring on associates to help in the practice.  You may be so busy you can’t see straight and need some part-time or full-time help.  You may be looking to wind down your clinical practice, but want to keep your ownership over the business you built, or you might be an entrepreneur, and looking to move on to build another practice.

Whatever the reason, you want to ensure that the associate will increase your practice’s profitability, not destroy the business you have built.  Therefore, there are a few things to keep in mind when bringing on an associate doctor.

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Management Services Organizations: What Are They And Why Are They Good (Or Bad) For Me?

In this era of increasing consolidation, declining reimbursements and at least hypothetical universal health care, the business of medicine is becoming increasingly competitive.  One strategy doctors employ in order to create economies of scale and cost savings, while at the same time maintaining their practice’s independence, is to form Management Services Organizations (MSOs).  Here are a few general points to help you understand what an MSO is and whether it might be worth pursuing in your practice.

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How Doctors Can Handle Negative On-Line Feedback

Whether you have recently opened or purchased your practice, or whether you have an established practice, very few things can be as damaging to your ability to attract new patients than negative on-line reviews.  The proliferation of social media websites such as Facebook, Yelp and Twitter, as well as doctor-specific rating sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com, have allowed unhappy patients the means to seriously damage your on-line reputation, regardless of the quality of services you provide or the merits of the complaint.

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Exceptions to the Stark Law on Doctor Self-Referral

We previously looked at the origins of the Stark law, as well as the scope of its coverage.  With this post, we will examine the exceptions to the Stark law prohibitions and how they apply in practice.

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The Stark Law Against Physician Self Referrals

The last twenty years have seen the federal government becoming increasingly involved in the relationship between doctors and their patients. Most recently, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has contributed to the uncertainty and concern among medical professionals about the increasing role government will take in the management of individuals’ health care. Doctors, particularly those who accept Medicare and Medicaid patients, must be aware of the landscape of regulations in order to avoid violating the law and suffering potentially catastrophic consequences.

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Forming A Practice Group Part 3: Planning For The Unexpected

In an ideal world, partners in a medical or dental practice would work until they are ready to retire, then sell their interest in the practice to their other partners or to a new doctor in a seamless transition.  Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.  Although it can be a difficult topic to discuss, one of the most important issues to consider when forming a practice is to plan what to do if you or one of your partners suddenly dies or becomes unable to continue practicing.

If you do not plan ahead, and one of your partners unexpectedly becomes unable to practice, you could face considerable disruption and uncertainty in your practice.  Even more important, you or your family could lose your investment in the practice if you die or become disabled.  Although the havoc caused by a sudden death or disability cannot be entirely avoided, it can be minimized by careful planning and drafting of the practice’s formation documents.

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Forming A Group Practice Part 2: Allocating Income and Expenses

Often, the biggest sources of tension in forming and operating a practice revolve around money.  Even when you go into business with good friends, resentment can build when one of your partners is perceived to not be pulling his weight, or taking too much out of the practice.  Left unchecked, these resentments can become toxic and can destroy a practice.  The best remedy for this is to have a frank discussion before the practice is formed, to determine what each partner intends to bring to the table, how expenses can be controlled, and how disputes can be resolved before they become distractions or worse.

Arizona law allows for considerable flexibility in how partners, shareholders and members create their practice entities.  The following are some options to consider when preparing the shareholder agreement to divide the revenue and expenses.

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