Choosing wisely today for your practice tomorrow
by Michael Jerkins, MD, M.Ed.
Featured in the February-March-April 2023 Colorado Medicine Colorado Medicine.
We all know it. These are tough economic conditions for both patients and physicians. Nevertheless, I encounter many in our profession that want to enter or grow in private practice but don’t know where to start.
A big part of growing or entering into private practice is finding a banking partner that can support you in your practice needs. Finding a lender that has the best program AND will provide you the best support will allow you to focus on what you do best—patient care—rather than worrying about banking for your practice.
Practice ownership can affect all areas of your life, so before choosing a lender, you should consider your wants and needs in every aspect of your life—personal and professional—to map out your priorities.
Think about your future plans for the practice, how you want to lead your team as an owner, how much you want to work clinically, and how you would bring in other clinicians. Then, use these priorities to help you find a lender that aligns with your long-term plans.
It can be tempting to choose a lender based solely on a low rate, but this can be a dangerous strategy for several reasons. For instance, lenders may lock you into their program for years with a prepayment penalty or charge you exorbitant fees on merchant services for your practice.
They also may not be prepared to support any future growth you have planned for your practice. All of these variables can be more important than simply looking at the interest rate of a loan.
Here are some other things to consider when choosing your banking partner:
Specialty knowledge: Does the lender have specialized knowledge in health care lending to practices? Lending to a medical practice or surgery center is very different from businesses in other industries and requires experience.
Structure and servicing: Understand if there are fees or limits on deposits and services like checking accounts, ACHs and wire transfers, costs for banking equipment, and remote deposit capabilities. Those costs can add up very quickly.
Merchant services (credit card processing): The ability to accept payment from your patients is obviously vital to your practice. This includes credit cards. Some lenders require borrowers to use their merchant services but attach high fees that can counteract any savings you may have gotten from a low rate.
Future support: Ask any potential lending partner if they can support any future lending needs for your practice such as real estate purchases, construction or expansion, equipment purchases and more.
Private practice can be rewarding and I believe Colorado would benefit from more private practices, but I know, ownership can be tough. That is why it is important to work with a true lending and banking partner that can not just support you today but also be able to better support you tomorrow. You and your patients deserve it.
Panacea Financial is a nationwide digital bank built for doctors, by doctors. They can help with personal lending, student loan refinance, or any finance need for your practice. As a participant in CMS's Partner in Medicine program, they have exclusive offerings for CMS members. Visit https://panaceafinancial.com/ref/cms/ to learn more. Panacea Financial is a division of Primis, Member FDIC.
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