Is a trial merger a smart step?

Medical practice insiders often compare a group merger to a marriage--meaning it takes compatibility, trust, communication and work to succeed. Two practices in the Louisville, Kentucky area are pretty sure they have what it takes, but will take the unusual step of actually "living together" before making their union official, according to an article from Louisville Business First.

The two practices, Louisville Lifestyle Medicine and Occupational Kinetics, offer complementary services, according to their respective owners, Bob Hobbs and Alan Bee, M.D. "We're trying to create a facility that you can come into for anything short of surgery," said Bee.

The potential managing partners hired a consultant to advise them on the merger process, which includes not just cultural and logistical concerns, but legal considerations as well. Meanwhile, as both practices' previous leases have expired, the duo is renting a new space that is about 6,000 square feet in total, with 2,000 devoted to Bee's primary care practice and 4,000 to Hobbs' chiropractic services, rehabilitation and massage services.

In this era of rapid physician practice consolidation driven by pressure to better coordinate care and achieve economies of scale, not all practice marriages last. For instance, a well-known practice alliance in Massachusetts, Atrius Health, recently lost two of its largest members as a result of unclear governance structure and physician roles, FiercePracticeManagement reported. A trial merger may be one strategy for groups to navigate around these and other potential pitfalls of merging.

To learn more:
- read the article