Thinking twice about that group practice

I’ve been watching Casey Truffo’s video series about how to open your own group practice.  She’s selling it as a good idea for therapists that have a full practice.  This way you get to keep taking on new clients without getting burned out, simply have another therapist take over your case load.  I had been putting some serious thought into doing this.  At first I was excited and thinking I would definitely be doing it.  Then as I got more serious about it and started crunching the numbers, I had some concerns.  For those of you thinking about opening a group practice, you might want to think about this:

There are added expenses:  There are expenses for a group practice that simply don’t exist for a solo practice.  At present, I operate out of my home like most private practice therapists in Boston do.  For a group practice I would need to pay for a large building.  I would have other expenses that I don’t currently have, like paying for an intake specialist, receptionist, and billing support.  I may even need to hire an office manager.  Don’t forget start up costs like furnishing the therapist’s offices and getting computers so they can type up their notes.  I’d probably have to stop seeing my own clients because I’d need to be available to provide ongoing leadership and supervision.

You couldn’t pay your employees well:  I would want to pay my employees well.  I remember how miserable I was making pennies at the agency.  No therapist should be scraping by at $35,000.  Some of my coworkers were on food stamps!  But, the more I crunch the numbers I realize why they paid us so poorly.  The insurance companies simply don’t pay enough that you can pay all these added expenses, pay your employees well, and still make a profit.  There simply isn’t enough money coming in to do that.  And I’ve decided I don’t want a group practice if I can’t pay my employees well.

Your reputation is on the line:  Although these other therapists aren’t “you”, they are being endorsed by you and work at your group practice.  If they are bad therapists, your reputation is going to suffer.  And let’s face facts, great therapists are not going to work for the low pay you are offering.  Or even if they used to be great, they’ll eventually grow resentful and take that out on the clients.  I really don’t want my reputation tied to any other therapist.

Your liability just exploded:  Not only is your reputation tied to an underpaid, inexperienced therapist, but your liability is too.  Keep in mind that the lawyers aren’t going to go after that poor therapist, they’re going to go after you.  Why? Because lawyers go where the money is.  Your responsible for what your employees do whether that’s fair or not.

After considering all of these things, I realized that I could be more profitable and have a lot less stress just working on my own.  The group practice would keep me too tied up for too little benefits.  I feel like there are much more worthwhile activities I could be focusing on.

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