United States: Bring It On: Adding An Associate Or Partner To Your Practice

Last Updated: November 28 2016
Article by Greg Koelling, CPA

Is it time to bring on an associate or partner? There are many reasons you might consider it. For example, your practice might have become so busy that you have little time to spend with your family or for yourself. Perhaps your practice volume has grown so much that you need help managing it. Maybe retirement is around the corner and you are thinking about selling. Regardless of your reasons, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before taking this important step.

What are Your Goals?

Bringing on an associate or partner is a significant decision. You are not just hiring an employee, so before beginning the process you must ask yourself:

  • What do you hope to achieve by bringing on another professional?
  • What credentials, expertise and personal characteristics do you expect that partner or associate to have?
  • Have you budgeted for not only the expected increase in patient volume, but also the additional expenses?
  • Have you done a break-even analysis so you understand the patient volume needed to achieve for profitability?
  • Can your office infrastructure, including not only the physical space of the facilities but also the support personnel, handle the projected patient volume?
  • Can your office location and surrounding community support your practice's anticipated growth?
  • Are you prepared to manage another physician?
  • Finally, are you willing and able to give up a portion of control and decision making in your practice?

How will You Find a Good Match?

Once you are comfortable with your decision to add another physician, you now have to figure out where to look for the right person. Quality resources include journals in your specialty, talent recruiting firms that specialize in physician practices and referrals from other physicians.

Of course, you will want to bring on an experienced physician with excellent technical qualifications. But, just as in hiring an employee, personality, soft skills and fit with your existing culture are often more important factors. You want to not only get along with your partners but also share in the same vision for the future of the practice.

If your plan is to improve your work-life balance, the physician you are adding to your practice must understand that goal during the hiring process. If the goal is to increase patient volume and make more money, he or she needs to share that drive and vision with you, as well.

Next to personality, making sure that your new physician understands and fits with your practice's culture might be the most important characteristic that you are looking to find. Culture can manifest itself in many ways, whether your interactions with patients and office staff are formal or informal, how staff customarily handles daily operations and whether staff is willing to extend themselves to assist patients and ensure their satisfaction.

Do you and the candidate approach patient care with the same philosophy? Can the candidate meet the goals you set? Is he or she willing to adjust to meet your standards? Is the candidate comfortable living and working in the community where your practice is located? To get a better sense of this, it is often useful not only to conduct a traditional interview but also to meet the potential associate in a social setting with your staff.

What About Compensation?

The new physician's compensation will be a significant part of any job offer. Some suggested approaches to compensation are as follows:

  1. Pure Salary Strategy. Will the new physician generate enough income to warrant the salary? The risk of a shortfall lies with you; however, you may benefit if he or she is very successful, which will likely lead to future compensation negotiations.
  2. Pure Percentage of Production Strategy. With this approach, the new associate takes on more risk but is also directly rewarded for success. Caution is suggested with this method of compensation as there is potential to run afoul of anti-kickback laws. If this is your and your potential new hire's preferred method of compensation, we suggest you consult with an attorney to make sure that you have a well-written employment contract.
  3. Base Salary Plus an Incentive. This is the most common approach. The associate is paid a base salary and receives a bonus based on a negotiated level of income generated. The risk is shared between you and the new associate. In this method, an incentive is not reached until the associate generates patient revenue of approximately three times his or her base salary. Commonly, the bonus consists of 15% to 25% of each dollar generated above the threshold with the agreement stipulating that the bonus is to be paid out monthly, quarterly or annually.

Other factors to be negotiated include:

  • Vacations;
  • Malpractice insurance;
  • Health and disability insurance;
  • CME allowances;
  • Dues and subscriptions;
  • Vehicle/gas and other allowances; and
  • Fees for licenses and boards, managed care privileges and hospital applications.

These types of employment agreements fall under several state and federal regulations, so we suggest that you consult an attorney familiar with medical practice agreements.

Does it Stop There?

After you make the new associate or partner part of the practice, it does not stop there. It is important to integrate him or her into the life of your practice. Make an effort to introduce him or her to patients as well as local colleagues. Review practice procedures and protocols together and agree upon them. Educate staff on the associate's role and how his or her specialties and relationship with the practice should be presented to patients.

Obviously, any associate you agree to bring on will have a stake in the success of the practice. Stay open-minded, and provide him or her with clear and consistent feedback.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Greg Koelling, CPA
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions