Collaborative Practice Agreements

March 1, 2007

I am an APN in a small town where I have worked side by side with my husband. My husband passed away recently, and now I am in a pickle. I know I must have a collaborating physician, and I am working on obtaining one in my area. I don’t have a “Collaborative Practice Agreement” form, and I don’t know where or how to obtain one; I am currently referring my patients to several area doctors who have agreed to help me “as long as you need it.” However, I am fully aware I must get a full-time MD, and I must have some type of legal “Collaborative Practice Agreement” drawn up before I can open my doors again. I am 73 years old and in excellent health; I only want to work a few more years before I sell this practice outright. Can you help me?

Question: I am an APN in a small town where I have worked side by side with my husband. My husband passed away recently, and now I am in a pickle. I know I must have a collaborating physician, and I am working on obtaining one in my area.

I don’t have a “Collaborative Practice Agreement” form, and I don’t know where or how to obtain one; I am currently referring my patients to several area doctors who have agreed to help me “as long as you need it.” However, I am fully aware I must get a full-time MD, and I must have some type of legal “Collaborative Practice Agreement” drawn up before I can open my doors again.

I am 73 years old and in excellent health; I only want to work a few more years before I sell this practice outright. Can you help me?

Answer: I am sorry to hear of your loss. I’m sad you have to be worrying over such details at this time.

If you do a quick search on Google for “Collaborative Practice Agreements,” you’ll find several versions free to download. You’ll want to customize them, of course, but the samples you will find give you a sense of what you need to cover. It also might be worth it to hand this off to an attorney familiar with the healthcare law in your state to look over your draft of the agreement or offer another. If you don’t know an attorney, your local hospital should be able to tell you the name of a lawyer it has used for legal aid.

Outside the scope of your question, I have to say that, from an outsider’s perspective, it seems that now is a good time to sell the practice. In a rural community, you might have a hard time finding a physician willing to partner with you without asking for an immediate stake in the business.

Talk to some of the doctors who are helping you out now. You can make it part of the terms of your sale that you will draw a salary (and work) for the next three years at least. But, from an emotional standpoint, right now may not be the best time to make such a decision. Please obtain the counsel of local advisers if you decide to go down the latter path.