Physicians seeking to relocate their practice face a lot of weighty decisions as they decide where they want to go, so it’s often too easy to overlook important steps that can make the difference between success and failure in a new market.
After scouring the state-by-state rankings, plugging cost of living into the equation and settling on a new place to practice, the work of establishing a new business has barely begun, according to an article in Psychiatric Times. The publication offers guidelines to ensure a smooth transition when relocating a practice:
- Generate a business plan. “Many physicians realize that the grass is not always greener in a new location,” says Neville M. Bilimoria, a partner at Duane Morris’ Health Law Practice Group. He advises clients to develop a marketing strategy and a detailed business plan before relocating.
- Don’t forget about regulatory hurdles. Be sure to research licensure requirements and other bureaucratic necessities to avoid surprises, Bilimoria advises.
- Scout the market thoroughly. Physicians can identify areas of medical need in an area by checking out existing providers in the area as a “mystery shopper,” according to Keith Borglum, a healthcare business consultant from California. Practices that can identify an underserved market or a missing service can find themselves money ahead when launching a new practice, he says.
- On the flip side, if a market is already well covered, it might make sense to buy an existing practice. Borglum warns that such practices can often sell at a premium, and change can be disruptive for patients and staff. Physicians who go this route will need to move deliberately and carefully, and should not be surprised to lose money on the operation over the near term.
- Help your current patients cope with the move. In addition to giving patients plenty of lead time to process the change and find a new provider, Borglum reminds physicians to ensure they deal appropriately with patients’ medical records.