Author: Dana Jacoby
In today’s healthcare operations climate, acquisitions and mergers are more common than ever—and more physician leaders are asking themselves if their practice is ready. In the wake of COVID-19, mergers are becoming a reality for most healthcare operations. It can be easy to focus on the merger itself, but planning for life after a merger is just as important. After the dust settles from merging two medical practices, the operations of your group can be left in a state of chaos, scrambling to adapt current workflows and processes to new organizational structures, while taking into account new departments, technology and patient care capability, and updated budgeting capabilities. It can be difficult to navigate mergers without causing operational disruption, not to mention the loss of employee morale. In worst case scenarios, mishandled mergers can even affect patient care on a structural and individual level.
Read more: Merger & Acquisition Consulting
While Vector Medical Group’s team of healthcare operations consultants and medical practice brokers can certainly help you navigate the ins and outs of merging medical practices, it’s good to know what to expect when considering merging your practice so that you don’t find yourself having to deal with a perfect operational storm. VMG can also help support your organization in the post-merger stage, should you require.
Better, More Varied Options for Patient Care
Among the many reasons healthcare mergers are popular right now is that merging your medical practice with another, larger practice offers immediate access to a wider array of patient care options and treatments. Not only that, but suddenly having a much larger staff of medical providers at your beck and call means, in theory, more access to different healthcare specialties and expertise for your patients, as well as more hands on deck to handle greater patient traffic.
Greater Buying Power and More Budget Options
By the same token, merging with a larger, more established medical practice means greater economies of scale. In a typical healthcare practice merger, you can expect your operational budget to increase dramatically, across the board. Knowing how to handle this sudden influx of capital, and best practices for buying supplies and equipment at scale will be key to keeping your practice’s transition smooth throughout the merger.
Chaos and Uncertainty for Employees
Without a doubt, the greatest drawback—and obstacle—to most medical practice mergers is that they are stressful for your current employees. According to the Harvard Business Review, in a typical merger, around 30% of staff members are deemed redundant and are laid off or have their roles restructured following a merger. There is room for this number to fluctuate in the healthcare landscape based on practice needs and availability of roles, but organizational changes will still need to be made as part of any merger. This sudden uncertainty surrounding employment will likely increase the stress levels of your current workforce significantly.
Not only are there downsizing concerns for your employees to worry about, but new processes, new team members, and new technology will all take time to adapt to. Practices which have a strong leadership team in place are more likely to roll with the punches that come with medical practice mergers, but if your team is not already working as a functional, effective unit with a strong undercurrent of mutual trust and respect, odds are good that fallout from a merger will be tough. Vector Medical Group can help prepare your team with physician leadership training courses, should you need such help. Take this 8-minute survey to let us know how we can help your team get stronger.
Potential Patient Experience Issues
Perhaps the most problematic issue that can arise as a result of merging your medical practice is that patient experience can suffer due to merger-related organizational struggles. If your staff is disorganized, frazzled, and worried, it is likely that they might get short with patients, lose focus, or not have time to properly prepare themselves and their stations for the day’s work. In the best of times, most medical practices require a smooth operational flow to stay afloat. When operations are interrupted, patient experience takes a hit.
If you are considering merging your medical practice, keep these factors in mind for what to expect post-merger. For a further breakdown of what to expect at each step of a medical practice merger, download our merger and acquisition roadmap, or book a consultation with one of our healthcare consultants or medical practice brokers today.