New practice issues

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    I’ve just bought into an OB/GYN practice with a wonderful doctor hoping to retire in the next few years. He has been in solo practice since the 1970s. He has significantly more patients than I, but we will be splitting duties (he just had back surgery) so I will gain more of his patients. I just came from a multi physician clinic where I have been for 5 years (after residency). I have bought many of my patients with me. We remodelled the office and the transition has been much smoother than I could of imagined. I also bought a medical assistant from my previous practice with me.

    NOW HERE’S THE DEAL!!! He has three office staff, one of which has been around for 15 years. She is the receptionist and she is AWFUL. She is rude to patients, curt and unsympathetic. She’s heard it all over the years and seems miserable at her job, she is though on a good number (good vacation, well paid) and more importantly trusted and valued by my partner. She used to do billing but now we use and outside company.

    What can I do? I’d like to get in all new office staff to be frank. I sense that he is not as happy with her as she thinks, he is a soft-mannered man and I wonder if he is simply to ‘attached’ to let her go, I wonder if he wants me to suggest it (what an awkard position). We didn’t discuss office staff as much as we should of I guess. Should I just leave well alone and learn to live with her?

    ObGyn and mom of 2 boys


    Congrats… Take things a little slow with the staff. They may have more influence on him than you realize and also on the patients. Try to slowly change things and set priorities and expectations for them. Remember they affect your schedule and how your patients are treated. Sometimes they will quit if the schedule is changed or they don’t get the same vacation or raises they once expected. good luck


    I am a solo OB-GYN for 12 years now and wouldn’t do anything else. I’ve had my share of partners who do less than you expect and take more than their share. I initially joined a practice where the wife of the principal physician ran the office, billing, etc. She too, was rude to patients and staff. It was a no win situation, so I had to get out. If you are buying this practice and he is retiring, I suggest you talk candidly with him about this employee, and tell him she has to go. Have him write her a good reference letter (this will keep him from having to face her when she wants to know if he agrees with her termination.) Then give her her walking papers and move forward. You can’t let your employees intimidate you. I recently fired my office manager who had been with me since my solo practice opened. Patients and employees told me for years that she was bad news, and I made the excuse that “it’s just her forceful personality”. She was a hard worker. So efficient that she stole over $40,000 from me (probably more)! By the way, did you get it in your contract when your partner will retire? He may change his mind and decide to hang around for a long time, making your integration difficult.

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