Partner in private practice vs. hospital owned employee

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    There are no docs in my family, and as I look for jobs at the end of my residency, I’m finding that I don’t understand much of what people are referring to.

    What exactly does it mean to buy into a practice and become a partner?

    How is that different from joining a hospital owned practice?

    Are there any resources to explain these terms to me?

    How can I find out more about these business terms that I’ve never been exposed to before?


    I haven’t had to deal with these issues yet but I think the AMA has some books about all this stuff. Look at their website.

    Also, Physicians Online is a good place to get feedback from other physicians who have already been through contract issues. I would go to the discussion board section of your specialty and post your question. I am sure you will get LOTS of feedback. Maybe between MomMD and POL, you will find your answer.


    Just came across something else:
    I get a magazine called Physicians Practice courtesy of one of the local hospitals. I just noticed that they have a website that might be helpful to you. They have “ask an expert” where you can submit a question and get an email answer. They also have a lot of articles about the business and legal side of medicine.


    Usually “buying into partnership” means you go to work for a group of doctors in private practice in the community, with part of your contract stipualating that within a certain amount of time (ie 2 yr, 3 yrs, 5 yrs) you will be offered partnership. When you become a partner, instead of a portion of your income going to the practice, you get a portion of the income of the practice in addition to your own earnings. In return, you have more deciison making power and responsibility, but also bear more risk ie if the practice goes bankrupt or something bad like that. You have a few years as an employee for you to figure out if you want to be a partner of these people or if you don’t.

    A hospital-based practice is usually owned by the hospital, which lessens your risk but may leave you at the mercy of the hospital in terms of decisions like which insurance plans you participate with, your locations, and even your staffing or hours. You will likely get benefits from the hospital, one of the biggest of which may be malpractice coverage.

    A lot depends on your specialty and where you will practice geographically. Can you talk to your program director and get the names of a few local docs in practice to talk to about this? You really need clear advice from someone who can walk you through the process. Also, if you reply with your specialty, maybe someone here can be more specific.

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