Doctors, just like everyone else, get older. Along with our parents and older relatives a part of life becomes telling those we care about our wishes for end of life. Check out Conversation Starter Kit, free, . You or those you care about will be guided thought a number of questions important to planning your affairs. Also have found it helpful to review, Center for Practical Bioethics, free materials at on clarifying values, and desires to pass on.
“… it was all great fun and a professional challenge working with you to adapt what I knew about physicians and other providers to the dentists which you represented. We had a ball working together, didn’t we? Thank you, Randy, for (your) kind words. It’s what I always hoped my adjunct teaching position would accomplish, and you should be very proud of how you picked up the ball and ran with it.” L. Edward Bryant, Jr. writing to me recently. Ed is a long-time friend, mentor, colleague and my all-time favorite professor during my LLM in Health Law at Loyola (Master of Laws in Health Law). Recently, at a wonderful breakfast near Evanston, we talked about old times and new, and I thanked him for his comments. I share those comments here in part because they mean a great deal to me and in part to hopefully inspire new LLM’s to follow their interests in developing their health law career and to have fun while doing so. Ed was honored for his early and significant contribution to health law development and transactions when the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy established the L. Edward Bryant, Jr. National Health Law Transactional Competition.
In many practices the bright idea of the moment, week or month rules. By that I mean that the lead doctor interjects some modification or wholesale change and seeks to get all staff on board. It can be exhilarating but also highly disruptive with a jerky feel to the operations of the practice. On the other end of the spectrum is the Doctor CEO that is deliberative. This doctor introduces any significant practice system, administration or marketing change only after investigation and discussion with consultant(s), key staff and other doctors. When approached in this manner the practice has a smooth feel for all involved.
Here is the core of a recent discussion with a Doctor CEO. Rather than staff meetings how about “conversation meetings“? In a conversation meeting the format is to talk about one item that if implemented for practice would impact it significantly. Log jams, more equipment of a certain type, training in a particular area, adding staff or doctors including adding a multi-discipline format, moving the practice and more might bubble up. Whatever it is stay with the topic, digest it together, call a consultant right then and there on a speaker phone or via Skype and get input. To get a start, to see the potential, and get excitement going is the idea behind conversation meetings.
Many Doctor CEOs use practice advisors, some use one person or firm for many years while others switch frequently. One of the most interesting aspects of doctors using advisors is whether the doctor follows the advice provided! Most recently a doctor recounted the number of advisors he had used over many years. He indicated after each name he always ended up doing things his way and so did not value what the advisors suggested. Here at Berning & Affiliates we have hired our share of advisors over the years, for example for web site development, tech issues and marketing. We, of course, are also hired by Doctor CEOs as advisors. Our view on using advisors, based on our dual experience, is if you have an advisor and the suggestions resonate as reasonable and practical follow the advice! To do otherwise or to have serial advisors none of whom you follow is a waste of time and money.
In recent discussions with Doctor CEOs I have seen two responses to current events. First, doctors that continue to search for opportunity to grow the practice, despite current and past local, regional and national economic issues. Second, doctors that are hunkering down, hoping that things change but not working to change anything. As I mentioned in my Facebook note for this week, I am working with a Doctor CEO that is aggressively seeking growth, taking on practice locations that others have left for dead. As a result deals are being explored, new doctors to help with the locations are being sought and deepened connections with all kinds of local organizations and people are helping the doctor advance. Here’s a suggestion for any doctor that thinks the way forward at this time is to do nothing: to improve your circumstance there is power in being on the move and a good planning session might just be the ticket
One of the most enjoyable parts of the dental profession are the relationships we all form. Doctors have very close relationships with their staff and patients. Specialists seek and connect with general practitioners and form working relationships that can last for decades. The same is true for the many support persons and firms that serve dentists. Consultants, accountants, financial services advisors, specialized legal counsel are just a few. But also there are relationships between those firms. This past weekend provides a great example. I was sponsored by Treloar & Heisel, the well known insurance and financial services firm that I have known for many years, to provide a residents presentation at the Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentists in Atlanta. Pictured here are the professionals I was with at the meeting. All of them are dedicated to serving dentists. From left to right, Joel Keirns, Dental Operations Leader, Medical Protective, Joseph Pantoja, MBA, CLTC, Jeffrey Wherry, CFP, ChFC, Managing Director T&H Financial Group and Christian Pearson, Southeast Financial Service Representative, Treloar & Heisel.
As doctors start their careers in practice, many reach the point of considering a purchase of an equity interest in an existing practice, among other options. The question that usually comes up is what in being purchased? Every once in a while I will see a proposed transaction where what is offered is a percentage of the hard assets only. This recently occurred and underscored that it is prudent for young professionals to confirm that intangible assets such as goodwill and patient records are or are not offered as part of the contemplated sale.
As I noted in an earlier post I spoke at the American Orthodontics Booth at the American Association of Orthodontics Meeting at McCormick Place in Chicago. Just received several photos that show the presentation in process. Thank you to AO for sending on the photos! The photo to the right shows one of the early slides for the Three Magical Questions To Guide Your Course presentation and a very enthusiastic presenter! The slide to the left shows Dr. David Musich answering a question related to practice growth and development, and Beth Barrett, both long time friends. I have had the privilege of providing services over the years to Dr. Musich and Beth Barrett, a well known speaker, has provided her slide program on The Fee Master: Orthodontic Fee Calculation Method now available in our web store.
I have had the great pleasure of speaking to the members of this study group on several occasions. On one occasion it was a program in beautiful San Francisco and on another it was held at a truly wonderful location, the Bernardus Lodge and Winery in Carmel Valley. They are committed to advancing their knowledge and their practices and want up to the minute information. The program I provided this time was Have Exactly The Practice Transition You Want Coupled With Smart Doctor CEO Web Tools. This time the program was held at the LaPlaya Hotel and Resort, Carmel By the Sea. Another superb location for continuing education. Over a two day period we had a great time learning, eating at spectacular establishments and applying vision, mission, time line and transition items for each doctor using the Smart Doctor CEO Interactive Coaching Newsletter. Shown in the upper right photo are long time friends Dr. Art Panella, Dr. Randy Rush and Dr. Larry Silva. Shown in the lower left photo are doctors learning about the web tools available in the Newsletter.