A partner who isn't working

A partner who isn't working

Oct 01, 2004

Roger Cummings, CVPM
After we hired an associate, my partner started cutting back on the number of patients he sees without consulting me. How should I handle this?

"You need to talk to your partner," says board member Roger Cummings, CVPM. "But your approach to this conversation will depend on some things we don't know. For example, are you equal partners or does one of you own a majority? Do you track production by doctor? Has your partner's production declined?"

Did you discuss what benefits an associate might bring to the practice before you hired him or her? "If you didn't, your partner may feel that having an associate should allow for a reduced workload," says Cummings, a consultant with Brakke Consulting in Dallas. "At the same time, you may be thinking that adding an associate will boost total practice production."

To resolve your problem, Cummings suggests asking your partner when the two of you can meet for an hour or two outside the practice—over breakfast or dinner, for example. At the meeting, you'll need to provide specific examples that demonstrate that your partner has reduced the number of patients he has seen since the associate joined the practice. "I'd recommend that you each discuss your reasons for wanting to add an associate to the practice, too," Cummings says.