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“You can get past the dead end. You can break through the ceiling. I did and so have countless others.”

How Much Should a Physician Collaborator Cost?

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…

39 Responses

  1. I charge $3000/month for my EMS medical direction. NP’s have more liability. I would expect at least $5000/month and even higher if more patients are being seen.

    1. And thank god I live in an independent practice state for this exact reason. It is my opinion that $5,000 a month for “supervision” is robbery and a significant expense for the NP entrepreneur.

    1. If you don’t want to supervise a NP then don’t! There are plenty of MDs out there that are willing to “risk” their license for $1,000 a month.

  2. Do you know how much a Physican education cost? Who will cheapen their heard earned license for a few hundred dollars per month? Who wants to increase their liability for someone who’s had a fraction of a Physican education?

    1. Yes I am fully aware of the cost. I knew plenty of physicians who supervised for $500-$1,000 a month when I lived on the east coast. I do not have to worry about this anymore as I practice in an independent practice state now. Thank god.

    2. Collaboration and supervision or two different things collaboration just means a physician is available if NP has questions or needs to send the patient to someone who has more expertise in a area if they can’t handle. collaborate physician does not oversee every patient and is not responsible for every patient the NP sees. Stop Making comments on stuff you know nothing about. Again if u don’t want to collaborate that’s fine we don’t want u to!

  3. “(Remember, they will be doing very little most of the time other than taking your money)”

    Right. For YOUR LIABILITY they are assuming for the supervision. Why would you think someone who has given away close to or more than a decade of their adult life to learn how to be a physician, with all the risks of being one of these in today’s litigious society, should not be compensated for allowing someone to practice under his or her umbrella? I legitimately do not understand the disconnect, here.

    If you don’t want to pay for the malpractice risk they assume on your behalf, you probably should seek an independent practice state, or go to medical school so you can assume all of the risk for yourself.

    1. Yes, that is why I live in an independent practice state. It is awesome. This article is for those NPs that do not and from experience I had when I lived in a restrictive state. I knew plenty of physicians that supervised for $1,000 a month.

    2. once NPs gain full practice authority nationwide (and its as inevitable as medical marijuana), you physicians will start to become less needed and oversaturated. I suggest you get as much money as you can with these so called “risks” before you lose your opportunity completely.

  4. this is just crazy. you pay a doctor to sign off on your poor medical decisions! if you want to do doctor stuff, go to doctor school….not nursing school. geeze…

        1. friend: hey where did you get your education?
          me: at the doctor school
          friend: ……
          me: with the stethoscopes

  5. You must remember that the physician is assuming liability for the NP. So the NP should be paying for the physician’s malpractice insurance and should be paid a minimum of 30% of the practice’s production. Whomever wrote this article has a parent who is a physician doing them a favor, leaving them a VERY entitled mentality.
    Good Luck getting any PHYSICIAN to risk everything for 500/month.

    1. 30%?!?!?! That is completely taking advantage of a NPs hard work, blood, sweat and tears. This is another reason NPs should move to independent practice states and stop lining the pockets of MDs.

      1. How hard was it to be accepted to NP school ? I think it’s laughable that you would blame physicians for not wanting to risk their license for $500 a month. When a patient died they don’t go after you. They go after the physician the one with the higher malpractice payout policy this is med malpractice 101. I don’t know why you seem to hate physicians? We worked hard in undergrad and spent years dedicating our lives to pursue excellence and to training through grueling hours and blood sweat in residency which you have never done! I wish you would just cone out and admit you weren’t willing to work as hard as a doctor works for as long as a doctor trains for as much liability as a doctor takes. You wanted the easy way to make a decent income. You risked little therefore you should only expect to be able to practice within a very small scope and under a physicians direction. Regardless of your state laws and what’s legal. Legal and morally right are rarely the same.

        1. this is why doctors are on their way out like blockbuster. No monopoly survives the test of time, not even physicians. Your time is nearing an end. Instead of being scared partner with us NPs, we are the future and we can help each other. The goal is to help patients not your egos or pockets.

      2. Do you think physicians also do not put in years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears for their license? NPs now want to take advantage of MY license and the years of hard work. Go get your own.

        1. Then do not supervise them. Stick with your own private practice and do not worry about it. Why are you even commenting on this site?

          1. It is based on principle. It is unethical to allow nurses with suboptimal training to run around playing dress-up as physicians. I say this as an RN who decided to go to MEDICAL SCHOOL because these online NP degree mills do not provide adequate training for independent practice.

            Would you advocate for a nursing aide to be allowed an RN license after 2 months of online training? That would be ludicrous. But it is an exact replication of your training pathway to pretending to be a doctor. We are commenting on this site because you are perpetuating the lie that NPs are equivalent to physicians.

            As a provider, you should have to self-respect to want to pursue the most arduous path of study possible to best take care of your patients.

            NPs are valuable. Very much so. When they function at the top of their license, as a MID-LEVEL provider, then everyone benefits.

          2. I am not saying NPs are equivalent to physicians. I am saying NPs can make as much as a physician with multiple side businesses including practices, real estate, certain investments, etc…

  6. Wow Justin! There are a lot of haters out there that are taking what you write much to personal. I mean if they don’t agree then they don’t have to work with you…. Don’t let your panties get in a bunch guys!

    Personally, since I’m ‘just a midlevel’ ? I really value what you wrote. I’m not sure what sorts of doctors are commenting on your blog but I work with many really solid Docs that want to see me succeed. Not to mention they know me, my work ethic, my knowledge base and most importantly when I know I’m in over my head. I was smart enough to go to medical school but wanted children early, so NP made a lot of sense to me. It still does. I don’t regret it for a minute!!! ??‍?

    I’m not ‘playing doctor’, I’m a Nurse Practitioner and proud to say it. I plan to practice to the full scope of my license!

    I love your blog. Eager for more ?

    -Northern California

    1. Thanks for the kind words Tamara! Yes… lots of haters. Mostly medical students and a handful of physicians who feel threatened.

      1. Some of them are clueless about things. while at the bedside as a nurse, I had a medical student order some Protonix for PEG tube patients. Very well known that Protonix pills are enteric-coated and not to be crashed, I told him to switch to something else that is not extended-release. The physician had no clue what enteric-coated supposed to mean. He was like what does that mean? What should I order?. The second one was a student during my NP rotation, while someone said about their family member awaiting to some biopsy results, she said she was sure the results won’t be cancerous because cancer is painless. It turned out it was cancer. Now please, smart docs give NP some respect.

        1. I have seen some very dumb actions by MDs as well… We are all human, everyone makes mistakes and every one has limited knowledge. My best advice for providers is to just live your life, do as well as you possibly can and mind your own business.

  7. I work in a state that allows me to practice independently from a physician. I also recognize that physicians have far superior training than I do as a Nurse Practitioner. Adding to that, I frequently “collaborate” with physicians of specialty because I recognize the limitations of my training, education, and experience. I have never had a physician consider my collaboration and request for a higher level of care anything but a chance to assist with the health care of a patient. I am appreciative of the response that I receive when I reach out to a physician for expert advise. I don’t have to throw all the research and data out there that indicates Nurse Practitioners are providing excellent service in the Primary Care arena as well as specialties they choose to practice in. We all have a common goal, providing excellent patient centered care to those we have the privilege to serve. No need for all the drama.

  8. In our “restrictive” state, physicians get paid to “collaborate” meaning I will call someone (often not even the collaborator) when there is something out of my scope…usually it’s a specialist. There is no requirement to review charts or supervise my successful practice. So why are they getting paid extra, to do nothing???
    Thankfully NPs in our state will soon be free.

  9. I am curious as to how a NP can independently practice safely in one state but not another? If there was a danger to the public, then WHY are so many states adopting independent policies? Too many physicians are feeling insecure, not our problem. Physicians routinely collaborate with each other, and there is nothing wrong with that. NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING. Guess what? I have helped train several residents in my time as a NP. I follow those very same medical guidelines. Nurse Practitioners are not going to practice outside of their scope, and if they do- they are subject to the legalities of doing so very much like any medical provider. States will no longer be able to uphold this kind of repression because they need healthcare providers. The states that hang on to these antiquated regulations are hurting people. I am lucky to have a collaborator who lets me do anything I want within my scope.
    The collaborative agreements are nothing more than a way to keep NP’s from practicing to their fullest extent. WE WILL PREVAIL I GUARANTEE.
    *Shout out to JustinAllen*

    1. Agree with you 100% Christine. It is absolutely ridiculous that you can literally walk over an imaginary line and be 100% independent and then walk back and be severely restricted. It is all about money.

  10. Please let us look beyond the collaboration dynamics and focus on our main goal as either MDs or NPs. We are not in competition here. Our goal is to provide the best care to our patients. Everyone’s situation is different. The cost for supervision is not set in stone. If an NP is competent enough to care for their patients, then go for it. If an MD agrees to supervise then great, if not, there is always someone out there for that role. We are all respectable healthcare workers and the world hold us in high esteem, therefore we should uphold that and refrain from making derogatory comments. We have lost so many of our colleagues to the covid 19 pandemic and there is no better time than this to be supportive and encourage one another. I believe everybody worked very hard for their licenses regardless of our title. Let us uphold our code of ethics, give the best care to our patients and be happy:)

  11. Look at the statistics of healthcare in the United States among other developed countries. Then look at the healthcare disparities in the United States among not only patients but healthcare providers as well. The US healthcare system is not serving its citizens equally and physicians are primarily to blame. We’ve allowed physicians to have basically a monopoly on the healthcare system and they have made mistake after mistake after mistake and the overall health of Americans is suffering in order for the American physician to make money. Minority populations, poor communities, indigent population have risked their lives for years for you Physicians to prosper and earn what you do. I think it’s time for change and that you physicians “risk” your license to improve healthcare in America and in the meantime we’ll pay you extra cash you weren’t getting previously. Did you become a Dr. for the money or the purpose? Because you all sound like a bunch of bitter, scared, greedy doctors. Just saying

  12. I live in Ohio and looking for a collaborative MD so I can start my Functional Health and wellness practice.
    Id like to be able to start and see how much revenue I get and then work out a payment for the MD.
    At this point I wont even begin marketing until I have a doc so I have NO CLUE what if any number of clients I will get.
    any tips on finding a doc that would work with me then get paid,
    PS I have not needed to even call my current Doc at my J-O-B in 5 years!

    1. Like I mentioned in the other article, post an ad on Indeed.com looking for a collaborator. That is where many NPs will find one!

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