I am always being asked “how much should a physician collaborator cost?” I always answer, “it depends.” There are four factors you need to consider:
It depends on how busy your practice will be.
It depends on your location.
It depends on the liability and risk of your service.
It depends on the relationship you have with the physician.
If you live in a restrictive state and want to start your own practice, you need to have a collaborator. There is no way around it. Implementing the Elite Nurse Practitioner Model in a restrictive state is more difficult, but it is still doable. So do not let this barrier to your practice get you down. You just need to be prepared for it.
Having a physician collaborator is just one more step, of many, when starting a practice in a restrictive practice state. So how much should you budget for when paying this “collaborator?” (Remember, they will be doing very little most of the time other than taking your money.)
It depends on how busy your practice will be: If you are first starting off and this practice will be a part time endeavor as I advocate for, then you should not pay this person very much. They will be doing nothing other than having their name associated with your practice. If you are only seeing 15-20 patients a month, then you need to make this fact apparent to the physician and let them know this is very part time, thus they should be paid on a part time basis. I believe $500 a month is fair for doing nothing. If your practice is more of a full-time gig, you will need to pay at least $1,000 or more a month typically.
It depends on your location: Do you live in a saturated market or more of a rural area? If you live in a saturated market, the demand for a physician collaborator will likely be higher. If you live in a rural area, not so much. You could get away with paying $500 a month in a rural area, but a saturated market will increase the price to $1,000 simply because of supply and demand.
It depends on the liability and risk of your service: Are you giving out medical cannabis cards or managing peoples congestive heart failure? The lower the risk, the lower the price. The higher the risk, the higher the price. If your practice is low liability, I would not pay a physician more than $500 a month. They are taking very little risk and making free money. On the other hand, if you are undergoing a riskier endeavor, then the physician will require anything between $1,000-$2,000 a month.
It depends on the relationship with the physician: This is the most important factor to consider when looking for a physician collaborator. Is this person a friend? Professional colleague? Or a stranger? If the person is a friend or a long-term colleague, I would simply ask if they would be willing to do it for free or for $250-$500 a month. If the person is a stranger from some “collaborator” service or a physician a friend is using, then the cost will be closer to $1,000.
Overall, you need to budget $500-$1,500 a month for a collaborator. I would not pay more than $500 a month with a part time low risk practice. If I had a riskier service line and a higher volume practice, then I would consider $1,000. Personally though, I would not pay more than $1,000 a month for a collaborator in any situation.
Best of luck! I feel for my colleagues in restrictive states…