Partnership in Medicine
PARTNERSHIP TRACK: If you are moving to a physician job opportunity where you may want to stay permanently then partnership track is recommended. You would want to be part-owner of the medical practice after a period of time. It is not only for your job security but also for professional and financial growth . Prior to becoming a partner you will be offered a guaranteed salary, as an employee, for a fixed period of time. Once you become a partner in the medical practice, ideally you will take home what you make minus the overheads, which is your share of costs for maintaining the practice.
How soon a partnership is offered has always been a Achilles heel of business of medicine. In the first year as employee the medical practice may lose money as you may not be busy enough to make a salary. But they have to give you a guaranteed amount to lure you to stay. However eventually all physicians become profitable and generate revenue for the practice. Until the physician employee becomes a partner, this profit is shared by other partners. Obviously when you become partner they lose some of the extra money. This explains the reluctance in offering partnership nowadays has become a norm rather than exception.
Be aware! many physician employment contracts are terminated when employees push to get partnership or are near a deadline to be offered a partnership. It is more common in smaller groups. Before joining a practice, try to find out after how much time did the previous employee physician leave. If several physicians have left just before they were due for partnership, that means most likely they were not allowed to become partners.
But becoming a partner too soon is also not advisable. You may not be as busy and you will not have a salary guarantee either. You may end up not making money at all and get stuck with paying for your share of overheads. I will write about analyzing a partnership opportunity at a later date.
Make sure you consult a competent attorney and an accountant before going through the process of partnering. They can help you with conservative estimate of projected income as a partner.