There are times when you have to take stock of the relationships with Associates in your private practice. They’re in business with you and must be an asset and not a drain. It may be difficult for you to evaluate them negatively because it’s an integral part of the profession to be understanding and empathic about others and their circumstances. But your Associates are not your patients. There may come a time when it’s in your best interests to give them the boot. Avoid this outcome by carefully identifying the possibility of these problems:
- Practice Incompatibility
Take time to be sure that you’re clear about the type of patients potential Associates intend to see and how this does or doesn’t sync with your overall practice brand. It’s much messier to have to try to redirect their referral streams or break your business relationship altogether when you later realize that their evaluation and treatment populations clash with the practice niche you’re trying to occupy.
- Low Marketing Motivation
If you’re not going to provide a steady flow of referrals to your Associates, it’s essential to evaluate their motivation and skills for marketing and bringing in their own patients. Ideally, they already have a base of business. But if they don’t, spend a lot of time discussing their business plan and marketing plan in particular. Some practice owners focus their interview on the Associate’s credentials and professional affiliations―which are important, but these folks are not joining a mental health society―they’re joining your business. Be sure they’ll add to your bottom line and not put you in the hole. This is typically the most common problem that smaller practice owners have with their Associates.
- Personality Conflicts
Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often but negative Associate attitudes and personality styles can derail your business relationship. Some don’t hesitate to tell you how to run your business and can exhibit all kinds of passive-aggressive behavior to undermine you. Others are downright verbally aggressive and are quick to tell you what they are or are not going to do. Though most are independent contractors and not your employees, this is still your business and you should not waste a minute in showing them the door if they don’t like your office policies and procedures.
As you grow your practice, you will consider bringing in Associates. This can be very beneficial to your practice, but carefully evaluate their potential to enhance your practice, not drag it down.
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317