New Doctors Learn the Business of Operating their Medical Practices on their Own
Sudbury New physicians and recent graduates were recognized by the Sudbury business community recently as they began their journey of choosing a business model for their healthcare practices in their community. The new doctors will decide whether or not to open their own practices, work as employee physicians or offer locum services as they learn more about the business of healthcare.
Dr. David Marsh, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education indicates that, “New doctors have undergone an intensive seven to 14 years of medical theory and practical experience to complete their post graduate training.” When asked if they are taught the business side of operating their medical practice, Marsh answered, “Medical students are taught the skills they need to be the best physicians they can be. With the exception of a few informational workshops, managing the operations of a healthcare practice is left for them to source out,” says Marsh.
New graduates can sometimes be unprepared for the challenges of becoming an entrepreneur while balancing and implementing the processes of a patient-focused medical practice. New graduates are on their own to seek out business advisors who understand the intricacies of financial management specific to healthcare practitioners.
“They don’t teach the business side of healthcare in medical school,” states Dr. Robert Pastre, a new family physician and 2011 NOSM graduate. “It is a lot to take in when you first start out. You need to be focused on building your practice but at the same time, reducing your debt load. It’s challenging to know what the best strategies are and what you should be doing at each stage of your practice,” comments Pastre.
Since 2010, according to the City’s Physician Recruitment Program, 38 new family physicians and 54 new specialists have opened their practices in Sudbury. An average family physician’s medical practice generates approximately $300,000 $500,000 annually in revenue. That is a large volume of business to manage on top of patient care.
DiBrina Sure Group, one of the largest financial planning and wealth management firms in Ontario consults with the majority of doctors in the region. Mike DiBrina, President, was asked what he feels are the three main issues new doctors face when starting their medical practices.
“When new doctors come to our firm, they are looking for guidance in choosing the right risk management and insurance strategies and identifying the best opportunities for debt elimination,” says DiBrina. The majority of new doctors want expert advice and a financial action plan they can implement immediately. Of course, over the span of their careers these new doctors, like other established entrepreneurs, will face numerous challenges with respect to growing their practices and focusing on wealth accumulation, tax minimization and then later on, succession planning.
Mike DiBrina states, “It doesn’t matter where physicians are in their respective careers, there are unique strategies that need to be implemented regardless of whether they choose to open their own practice or work as employee physicians.”