This is from an Arizona based acupuncturist. If you know anyone looking to practice in Arizona, please leave a comment and I’ll put you in touch. If you think you’ll ever want to sell your practice, you may want to read her questions. They’re pretty good:
“I am looking to sell my acupuncture and herbal medicine practice, due to my spouse’s relocation to another state for work. Since I have not bought or sold a practice before, I don’t know how to decide what it’s worth. I don’t own a building, so in essence what I am selling is my patient records. Questions I have include the following:
How much do I charge for a patient file? Should I ask a different amount for active and inactive patients?
Do I need to ask my patients if it is ok to sell their files? Do I need them to sign release forms? Or do I just need to notify them that I have transferred their records to the acupuncturist who buys my practice?
Do I need to keep a copy of all files?
What do I need to do, to be HIPAA compliant in transferring patient files?
Are there any other legal issues I need to be aware of?
I have been in practice for 4 years in northern Arizona rural town, close to Sedona, with a good reputation and a growing association with local doctors, chiropractors and nurse practitioners who refer patients to me, mainly for pain relief. I have done much outreach with stress relief clinics and public events, and have generated a fair amount of goodwill in the community through my involvement with the local chamber of commerce and other networking organizations. I am also a member of my state acupuncture association, and several other professional organizations.
I began to explore relocating a few months ago. During this time, I have held back on promotion and focused on readying my patients for my departure. I currently have over 200 patient files, and am currently treating 10-15 of those, with new patients calling me every week. The reason I have so few active patients, is my patients tend to “get better” rather quickly.
Most of the patients who come to see me are seniors, with a smaller percentage ages 40-65. I treat a lot of knee, low back, shoulder and neck pain, fibromyalgia, headaches (migraine, tension and other), trigeminal neuralgia, neuropathies, post-herpetic neuralgia, etc. as chief complaints. Secondary issues that commonly come along for the ride include smoking cessation, menopausal complaints, menstrual disorders, PMS, weight gain, stress, diet, heart health, exercise, and digestive issues.
I have tried to integrate more “artsy” elements into my practice as is more commonly accepted in Sedona, such as acugem therapy and essential oils, but my town is a bit more conservative for that. Local docs are willing to refer for acupuncture, but hard to sell on herbs.
My schedule has been by appointment between 10 am and 6 pm weekdays, except Thursdays. I have a cash-based practice and charge $85 for an initial 90-minute visit, and $65 for 45-minute follow-ups, plus herbs as needed. For the rare patient who has insurance that covers acupuncture, I do provide superbills for their reimbursement. I recently relocated my practice into my home from a chiropractic office, and my patients enjoy the “less clinical” feel of my treatment room. I have not gotten into a website and blogging, but do send quarterly newsletters to my patients and have 3-4 public outreach events annually in my office, plus some kind of promotion most months.
Any feedback from those who have sold or purchased a practice would be very helpful. Thank you.”