Making the Transition from Practice to Hospitalist

Physician's Money Digest, February 2007, Volume 14, Issue 2

Many doctors, fed up with the blood, sweat, and tears of running their own medical practice, are turning to a new career opportunity as a hospitalist. According to The Hospitalist, these dejected physicians are seeking a better schedule, less paperwork, less aggravation, and increased salary and benefits, while still maintaining a good chunk of their patient base. While this may sound attractive to some physicians, leaving the practice behind can be a tricky proposition, especially for those in a solo practice. Physicians in a group practice, however, usually just sell their interest to their partners. If the practice group has a noncompete covenant (ie, vying for new patients in the same area), then the group will have to waive the clause if the leaving physician plans to pursue a hospitalist position in the same town. Currently, hospitalists are in high demand, so private practice physicians have the edge in negotiations and can often persuade the hiring hospital to give them perks, such as covering malpractice insurance costs and helping with the costs of closing the practice. However, despite the bonuses, many physicians may find that being an obedient employee instead of a boss is not to their liking.