Question: I am a solo practitioner, but I am expanding into a second office and will be hiring a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA). How do I turn over my established patients to the new person? I have seen over 10,000 people over the last 23 years, and they have become accustomed to seeing only me on their visits. I never had even a nurse in the office.
Answer: Here are a couple of ways to introduce your new NP or PA:
Have the new hire accompany you on several office visits so you can formally introduce her to your established patients. Say something like, "Amy here has stellar clinical skills and works under my guidance. She'll also be easier for you to get in to see, and she will have more time than I usually do to chat. So I'd like you to make your next follow-up appointment with her. I'll still see you at regular intervals, of course, to make sure all is well."
Encourage your scheduler to direct patients, as appropriate, to your new employee. Give the scheduler guidelines regarding who should be directed where. You could also give the scheduler a script to help guide her with these patient conversations. You may want her to say, "Dr. Jones doesn't have any openings for three weeks, but he is overseeing a new nurse practitioner who is just great. She is a graduate of XYZ University, has been in practice for X number of years, and all her work is supervised by Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones instructed me to tell all of his established patients that they are welcome to make appointments with her. She has an opening tomorrow. Why don't you see her for this visit?"
You also could invite patients to an open house to meet your new NP or PA. Do so by mailing postcards to your patient base with the new practitioner's photo and credentials. Explain when and where the practitioner will start seeing patients, and invite your patients to meet your new colleague informally at a reception.
Keep in mind that while patients may not be used to an NP or PA in your practice, they likely will have seen them in other offices.
Finally, make sure you've thought through all the related billing and supervisory issues that accompany bringing in a new practitioner.