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Pursue Mergers, Affiliations With Both Eyes Open

Tony Hagen @oncobiz
Published: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016
Cary Presant, MD

Cary Presant, MD

When considering a merger with a larger institution or group of practices, the pitfalls are many for oncology practices. However, finding the right partner can lead to a much higher level of practice for physicians, as well as broader responsibilities that add fulfillment to one’s career, physicians and consultants told Oncology Business Management.

Larger institutions tend to have better developed clinical-trials programs that can actually be important revenue generators when they are well managed; for the physicians who join from outlying practices, participation in such activities can supply the feeling that “you’re really keeping up with where oncology is moving in these very tumultuous and exciting years,” Presant said. The alternative may be to continue to practice good, “standard” care in many of the oncologic disciplines in an independent community practice; however, the trade-off is that your program may not have the support necessary to offer the really advanced techniques and opportunities for specialization that, in addition to career advancement, can lead to higher volumes of patients and better overall outcomes, Presant said.

Salary May Be Low, But There Are Other Compensations

Those are some of the benefits that serve to lure physicians who want to improve their oncologic game. On the pay side, as well, it can get complicated, particularly when you throw in all of the compensations that do not strictly amount to salary. These include payments for the acquisition of the independent practice, pay for special duties that are assumed when a physician joins a hospital, and bonuses for meeting targets for attracting and seeing patients. “In some physician practices, their pay goes down, but they’ve been compensated by having an acquisition fee, and in some cases, their pay has gone up because they have received income for running parts of the program. Generally speaking, the benefits from institutional affiliation usually are pretty good with retirement,” Presant said.
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