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Here's a basic list of New Year resolutions doctors must address to ensure your assets are being protected in 2017 – both financial and otherwise.
Happy New Year and thanks for being with us again this year. It's been a pleasure to share ideas and information with you over many years and through several hundred articles. We start the year with a list of the resolutions every physician and medical practice owner should make in 2017.
1. Resolve to take care of yourself and your personal finances. This means making sure you and your family are covered by vital tools such as an estate plan and life, liability and disability insurance and that you have both a great financial advisor and proactive tax planning. It also means taking care of yourself financially. We routinely see physicians running on an infinite treadmill trying to keep up with the demands and lifestyle expectations of their immediate and extended families, often at the expense of their solvency or health (we used to call this living within your means). You need to set and enforce reasonable limits and you the earner need to decide what those are as supposed to simply trying fill an endless order of "wants" and expectations.
2. Resolve to manage all the risks you can proactively. There's a predictable list of recurring professional risks that go far beyond just malpractice, which you can proactively manage in multiple ways. We are going to help you identify those risks every month and provide actionable steps to take against them.
3. Resolve to have a plan (or several plans). A business plan is a vital tool that many physicians lack, we see too many doctors working as hard as they can for as long as they can without having a specific goal and point where they "win". I'd also encourage you to have a crisis management plan, risk management plan, retirement plan, etc.
4. Resolve to treat your practice like a business. Some issues are unique to medical practices, but many more are common to every successful business in America. Many physicians fail to treat their medical practice like a business and don't realize that issues like a business plan including both an exit plan and a continuation plan, and a marketing and patient retention program are increasingly making or breaking practices. Your business also needs to maximize profit and retain earnings - these are specific business skillsets that can also be outsourced. The most successful practices in America invest in these services heavily. Delivering the best care without paying attention to the details of the entire patient experience is no longer a viable business model and details count more than ever.
5. Resolve to consciously think about your team. Very few successful people operate in a vacuum. The most successful people I work with across the country have great teams both inside and outside their businesses that help them achieve and maintain their goals. This means paying attention to how you pay them, treat them, and protect them in many ways. It also being an effective leader, setting expectations and enforcing rules. Your staff and extended team are among your most valuable assets, protect the best of them from those that aren't, including by eliminating toxic influences from your workplace by correcting their behavior or terminating them if they refuse to make the changes you need. Keeping bad people will cost you the good employees every time. By the same token, if you don't have top notch outside team members like bankers, advisors, various vendors, and personal and business lawyers, you should. Invest some time in making a change and doing some due diligence on them, we will share ideas on this in the near future.
This list could be endless, so use it as a starting point to start your own and set some specific , short-term, actionable goals. As always, please continue to ask questions or suggest issues we can address for you.
My own resolutions as one of your guides are simple; to share timely information about new threats and solutions as they emerge, to help you solve the recurring predictable problems common to most medical practices and physicians, and finally, to help you protect yourself against the unexpected and predictably keep more of what you make.