Ophthalmology Business

DEC 2012

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

Issue link: http://digital.ophthalmologybusiness.org/i/98302

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Determining when—or if— selling a practice makes more sense than adding partners is an individual decision. Just don't wait too long to decide O phthalmologists in private practice will eventually have to face the question of what they want to do with their practice once they're ready to retire—but there are realistically only two viable options to keep a practice open. One, sell the practice outright, or two, bring other partners on board by selling the retiring partner's share. The third option, of course, is to close the practice and sell the equipment, but that also means putting a staff out of work and potentially leaving the community without vision care. If the decision is to bring on partners so that the practice can continue to serve its community, when becomes the operative question. For Richard L. Lindstrom, M.D., founding partner, Minnesota Eye Consultants, the day he went into private practice on his own was the day he started planning for retirement. "The first thing anyone has to do is decide on solo practice, a small practice, or being a part of a large group," Dr. Lindstrom said. "In my golden years, I wanted to have the freedom to do what I wanted to do, and without partners I knew that was going to be difficult." So he decided to build a group practice where each partner-owner has an equal equity share. The practice currently has seven partners, but will soon grow to eight. "Everyone is an equal partner; I started off owning 100% of the practice, now I own 1/7," he said. At Price Vision Group in Indianapolis, founder Francis W. Price Jr., M.D., is planning to hire two or three surgeons to take over "when I leave in 10-12 years," he said. Because his practice employs more than 40 people, he has no plans to shut the doors, but doesn't yet have a formal succession plan in place. D. Brian Kim, M.D., is at the opposite end of the spectrum, having recently bought into a practice in Dalton, Ga., when the senior partner wanted to retire. The practice had three M.D.s and three O.D.s, and when the initial founder retired, "that's when they started to look for someone. We learned a lot of lessons from that," Dr. Kim said, including bringing someone on board before a partner retires better serves the community. Now the succession plans allow for the senior-most partner to cut back on hours while bringing the junior partner up to speed. Carol Boerner, M.D., knows all about retirement—she sold her practice outside of Boston to retire to Vermont, but soon found herself continued on page 18 December 2012 • Ophthalmology Business 17

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