In the German Medical Journal (Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2020; 117(6): [2]) I deal with the question what to consider when buying a doctor’s practice.

It is not easy for a physician to start his own practice. There are not only numerous formal hurdles to overcome. As future entrepreneurs, doctors should also deal with financial figures and issues such as personnel and rent. Not to mention the question of where the patients come from. You usually don’t learn this in your studies – if you haven’t taken an elective course to become a doctor and entrepreneur.

If you want to care for patients with statutory health insurance, you also need to be licensed as a contract doctor („Kassenarzt“). However, this is not simply available on application. A licence is only granted if there is no oversupply or if another doctor waives his licence as part of a post-registration procedure.

It can therefore make sense to take over an established practice and buy it. Because existing practices usually offer advantages: There is already a patient base, existing rooms and equipment as well as staff and more or less well-established workflows.

But price alone and a handshake is not enough. The practice should be worth its price. Otherwise, the buyer will have a hard time financing the value of the practice. To this end, precautions must be taken before the purchase and thus before reaching an agreement with the surrendering doctor. For example, can the buyer take over the lease? Which employees will the buyer take over? Will the admission committee decide on the replacement in the interest of the parties? What options does the transferor have after the sale of the practice? Will he continue to work for the buyer or does he have the option of a new establishment? If necessary, these questions should be regulated by contract, for example by a non-competition clause.

A model contract is not advisable. Many mistakes are made in ignorance of the law governing the sale of medical practices. Above all, non-competition clauses are often interpreted too widely in terms of time and place. Adjustments are also often made with regard to the transfer of the patient file; this is then handled in a practicable way, but in ignorance of the legal provisions.

You can find the german article here:

Staufer, Was beim Kauf einer eigenen Praxis zu beachten ist, Dtsch Arztebl 2020; 117(6): [2] (Web)