Essential Succession Planning for Practice Owners

Would your healthcare practice survive without your guidance? It’s your life’s work, and you don’t want it to fall apart if you need to step away. How can you guarantee that it will thrive without you?

Five plants sprouting in a row in order by height.

If you own an independent practice, you’ve invested in its long-term success. You’ve put considerable time and effort into building your practice into a stable entity. But what will happen to your practice when you leave? 

It’s easy to avoid thinking too far ahead. Your to-do list is already overwhelming; you don’t feel the need to add more to your plate. But failing to plan for the distant future creates a weakness that will impact the longevity of your organization. Here’s why you should create a succession plan that works for your practice.

What is a succession plan?

After years of running a successful practice, you become an ingrained part of the machine, and you’re crucial to how it is run. You may be far from retirement age, but what if a situation arises that forces you to leave with little to no notice? Who would take over? How would you transfer responsibilities, assets, or operational knowledge? How would you ensure that everyone acts in the best interest of the practice? 

Proper succession planning answers these questions and provides a smooth transition period, leaving no unanswered questions or lingering concerns. A succession plan prepares your practice for any departures, planned or unplanned, and makes sure no crucial role is left vacant.

Overcoming the “I’ll never leave” mindset

This topic can make some practice owners uncomfortable – that’s understandable! It’s not fun talking about retirement or other reasons why you might have to leave your practice, especially if you’re still in your professional prime. But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Succession is a natural part of any healthcare practice. Continuity is crucial, not only for your practice but for your patients. Preparing for your exit, planned or planned, assures that your patients will continue to receive quality care.

What if I already have a plan in my head? 

As you read this, you’re probably thinking, “Sure, I have a broad idea of what’s going to happen. I’m good!” And you may have a general outline for the future. But ask yourself, does anyone else at your practice know? Does everyone agree on the changes? Are all the necessary stakeholders aware as well? Confusion and conflict cause delays in the transition period. The point of a succession plan is to reduce confusion and create a sense of ease in your practice. 

When should I start making a succession plan?

While you might wish to wait until you decide to retire, you should get a head start on succession planning now. There are no guarantees that life will go according to plan, and your practice should prepare for any eventuality. 

What if I already have a written succession plan? What do I do next?

While it is crucial for you to have a succession plan, you should also make sure other key players in your practice know your plan. Everyone in your practice plays a vital role in how the practice operates, and you do not want any missteps. 

How do I create a healthcare succession plan?

If you need help creating a succession plan, consider contacting one of our healthcare attorneys. We’ve worked with practices of various sizes, specialties, life stages, and structures. Thanks to our experience, we’ve seen a variety of scenarios unfold and can prepare for issues that often take independent practice owners by surprise during a transition. 

This blog is made for educational purposes and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any particular person. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between our firm and the reader and should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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