A fascinating and disturbing Los Angeles Times story titled "Needs of patients outpace doctors," discussed a looming health care crisis stemming from acute physician shortages in many areas of the United States. As a spokesman for a national physician-search firm commented in the article, "Doctors are working longer than they want. They are having a hard time taking vacations." Meanwhile, they are also coping with declining insurance reimbursements, rising malpractice insurance rates, and shrinking net income. For instance, a study released by the Center for Studying Health System Change found that physician net incomes fell 7%, adjusted for inflation, between 1995 and 2003, while other professionals and technical and specialty workers enjoyed 7% salary growth.
Against this backdrop of worrisome news, any development that makes a doctor's lifestyle more appealing is a breakthrough. Investing in a physicianbased, franchised aesthetic skin-care clinic provides a medically related revenue source that allows physicians to focus on their core interest and competencies: practicing medicine, but without the insurance reimbursement hassles a traditional practice entails. And unlike traditional practices that are typically sold at their "meltdown price" for equipment and furnishings when a doctor retires or relocates, the franchise can change hands for a profit.
However, it's important to understand that not all aesthetic skin-care businesses offer the same advantages or necessarily create a viable, long-term asset. In fact, many "medspa" franchises have failed, and most are not medically based. To protect their financial investment and, equally important, their reputation, a physician considering a franchise must research the following:
Just a few other things to keep in mind: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 8.4 million minimally invasive procedures were performed in 2005â€”a 13% increase from the previous year. This is truly an exciting time to participate in an industry that benefits from an ultra-high media profile and affluent customers who deal with doctors on a cash basis.
But there's no guarantee of success. Look for guidance and support from a well-established franchising corporation led by experienced professionals who understand the practice of medicine. Without this safety net, physicians stand little chance of creating and protecting a fiscally sound enterprise. Conscientious research during the investigative phase will pay off big dividends down the road.
Carl Mudd is the founder and CEO of Dermacare Laser & Skin Care Clinics. He welcomes questions or comments at 877-700- 0788 or Carl@dermacareusa.com. For more information, visit www.dermacareusa.com.