Practice succession planning is needed whenever a physician, whether it’s you, a partner, or a colleague, decides to leave your medical practice. The departing physician may be seeking a lifestyle change, retiring, or switching careers altogether. Whatever the case, succession planning will make the transition smooth and painless. The time to begin succession planning is during the hiring process, or when you first open your practice. Whether you’re partnering with other physicians or hiring other physicians, it is crucial to include an exit strategy in your initial employment agreement. Include terms for dissolution in the original employment contract.
Areas you might want to cover include…
- The amount of notice that needs to be given before departing the practice
- How stocks and other investments will be divided
- Terms of separation, and…
- A non-competition clause to prevent the person leaving from soliciting your practice staff.
Discuss these and other relevant issues at the beginning of the employee/employer relationship, when spirits are high and the channels of communication are open. That way, if a physician leaves your practice because they are unhappy, there will be clearly laid out terms that both parties have already agreed to, helping you avoid confusion, conflict, and lawsuits.
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