Do You Own Your Practice Or Does It Own You?

Be honest: Do you own your practice or does it own you?

If your practice owns you, what you have is a job. You might as well go work for someone else. Less headache. Isn’t that the whole point of physician management companies and hospital employment?

But if you want to become successful, and there is no need to apologize for that fact — I laud it — then you need an entirely different mindset and an entirely different business structure.

And, if you have partners who don’t agree, they’re simply holding you back and it’s time to reorganize.

Thanks to government intervention in what used to be a marketplace and is now a system, physicians are quickly coming to what I’ve referred to as the Great Junction™ – one route leading to commoditized medicine and the other to personalized, unique care. You could look at this junction another way, and that’s the divergence between employee and virtual employee physicians and true entrepreneurs.

If you own your practice now but find comfort in the employee track, then there are certainly burgeoning opportunities for the sale of your practice.

And, if you want to build something, this is also the time to do it.

The problem is, you have to decide or understand that the default route is the employee track.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

How to Create the Balance Your Group Needs in Order to Thrive – Podcast

Most medical groups are out of balance and easy to tip over.

Beware The Government-Hospital Complex

The first time that I saw a computer there were two in the room. One of them took up most of the south side of a floor of the Computer Science Building and the other took up most of the north side.

To the best of my memory, the first time I saw a hospital it took up much of a city block.

Today, I and millions of you each have have more computing power in our individual smart phones than there was on the entire floor of the Computer Science Building. Computing power, the distribution of new media sources, the ability to put electrical power back onto the grid, and hundreds of other advances all result from the explosion caused by the microchip.

So then why is it that hospitals are getting larger, not smaller? Why is it that hospitals are assuming the functions of physicians, not the other way around?

Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex. Is the government – hospital complex just as dangerous? In my mind, it is even more so. Why do large hospitals continue to exist?

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

The 83% and Concierge Care

Whether it’s the 83% reported in the press or even half of that, many physicians are questioning their career strategies in light of the Supreme Court’s upholding of the individual mandate within Obamacare.

It appears certain that an increasing number of physicians will be disappointed with Obamacare and the burdensome requirements of its bureaucracy.

From my experience working with concierge type family and internal medicine practices – no insurance accepted, high touch high-quality care – it appears as if there will be a growing market among the professional and executive classes as well as the truly rich for something outside of cattle call medical care.

But what about specialists? Can a cardiologist or a hand surgeon adopt the same kind of practice? In some instances and in some locales it is entirely possible. But in others, even they can’t go “no insurance” on their own, they might be able to create a similar business through alignment with primary care doctors in a concierge network.

Yes, I can hear someone saying that medicine is a profession not a business.

But unless you begin thinking like an entrepreneur, you just might find yourself becoming a government employee.

Contact me if you’d like to continue this conversation for your benefit.

Mark F. Weiss



Breaking The Physician Hospital Paradigm – Podcast

The paradigm for physician hospital relations is completely at odds with society’s other trends.

Jurassic Park And PHI – Leaks Are Inevitable

In the book, Jurassic Park, and in the movie of the same name, it quickly becomes obvious that despite absolute belief and assurance that the system is closed, there is always the chance of a leak.

Shift from dinosaurs on an island to your patients’ protected health information, or “PHI,” which you probably believe to be safely ensconced within your practice’s system or that of your outsourced billing and collection service, all nicely guarded by your compliance program. After all, you have a copy of the compliance binder on your bookshelf.

I can almost guarantee you that there’s a leak. It may not be intentional as in the Jurassic Park character who attempts to abscond with dinosaur embryos. It may simply be inadvertent as in the dinosaurs that find their way off the island.

The downside of an inadvertent PHI leak can be fines couched as civil monetary penalties; a wreckless or purposeful leak can lead to criminal prosecution. That plus the damage to the reputation of your group, jeopardy of its relationship with referral sources and facilities, and potential liability under various legal theories to the patients whose information was disclosed.

In this light, compliance auditing is a must. But the auditing process, and the corrective action taken, must not simply be viewed as correcting a problem; rather, the best return on investment for your group is to dual-purpose compliance – yes, it reduces risk, but it can also be a focal point around which to fine tune and improve your group’s systems and performance.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss


You Can’t Blame Me – I Won’t Tell You My Name

I’m on an American Airlines flight.

As I’ve noticed on other flights, the flight attendants are wearing their name tags flipped around so that the back of the tag, not their name, is visible.

What’s their mindset? Is it “excellence” or “I’ll be in trouble?”  The question, of course, is wholly rhetorical.

This should make you wonder which way your group’s physicians’ metaphorical “name tags” are facing.

Are they aiming to please, or are they taking aim?

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss


Who’s Driving Your Practice’s Bus? II – Podcast

There is no question that the healthcare market is changing rapidly. This means that groups must have the ability to make business decisions rapidly.

Why Trying To Protect Your Group’s Position Is Destroying Your Future

Over the past five, ten or twenty years, your group has worked long and hard to develop its business. You’ve become successful.

But now, you see threats everywhere: threats from the hospital that wants to employ you, threats of forced ACO participation, threats of replacement by paraprofessionals, threats of competition from national groups and the staffing services masquerading as groups, threats of competition by breakaway partners, employees and subcontractors who think that they can do it for less (and who fear replacement more than you do), and threats of competition from those of your colleagues who see no need for you to earn a profit in return for your financial contributions and years of management work.

So, as a result, you’re circled the wagons, protecting your group from both internal and external threats.

Not a bad move in and of itself — but bad if that’s where you’ve stopped.

That’s because adopting a purely defensive position can never advance your group’s future, it can only delay something from happening to you.

In order to succeed, you need to cause the “happening,” you need to take charge of creating your own transformative future.

What if your partners won’t agree? That’s why strong leaders are required and why participatory “leadership” is in reality an absence of leadership. Get new partners. Go out on your own.

It won’t work, you say.

You’re right, it won’t work for you. Send me your resume, I may know someone who’s looking to hire, just about when you’ll be looking for a job.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss


Seizing Your Own Future

Almost all physician groups are mired in mediocrity. Only 3 to 4 percent are in the category of top performers, of those who have seized their own futures. Those few are the groups that I call the strategic groups.

There’s a choice, an intersection – the great intersection – and you’ve come to it today. Or better said as to almost all of you, it’s come up on you, come up on you fast. The road most traveled is the one to commodity status. The road less travelled is the one to success.

Don’t bemoan the fact that the future is uncertain and then use that as an excuse. (Don’t worry, most of your colleagues are perfectly happy with a life on emotional and financial crutches.) The only way to escape and to have any degree of certainty as to your own future is to create it yourself.

If you’re interested in coming on the voyage of your life, call me. If not, don’t worry about it.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss