Space Sharing / Group Solo
When it comes to establishing your dental practice, choosing to share a space with another professional may be something you consider. The practice space sharing, also known as establishing a facilities sharing relationship, provides dental professionals with an increased level of efficiency within the dental practitioner’s office. It also benefits dentists by reducing the overhead expenses associated with the operation and management of the facility.
The space sharing relationship is not only used in situations where two dentists practice in the same facility, but it is a widely-implemented agreement among dental professionals within the same specialty. It is extremely common to see many of these professionals establish these reliable and valuable arrangements when moving forward with their practices. These arrangements are particularly beneficial for professionals who want to reduce the number of days they work and for those who are semi-retired. Although there are an array of benefits provided to dental professionals who establish space sharing relationships, it is crucial that they fully understand the drawbacks associated with these relationships as well. Working with a knowledgeable dental law attorney in Los Angeles can help to ensure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities moving forward.
The attorneys at Leiva Law Firm have extensive experience helping clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California protect their legal rights when entering into space sharing agreements with other professionals. Our team is available to help you establish an agreement, review the terms of your agreement, or potentially end your facilities sharing relationship should things not go as planned. Contact our law firm today to see how we can help you.
The Challenges of Space Sharing In California
Maintaining a space sharing arrangement comes with an array of challenges and difficulties. Many professionals find it hard to protect and maintain their relationships and their own personal responsibilities for their practice due to the state and federal regulations established to protect patients. Furthermore, the logical issues surrounding dental practices can be challenging to overcome.
It is all too common for issues surrounding supply expenses, shared employees, computer access, patient lists and charts, trade secrets, landlord and tenant issues, HIPAA regulations, and the protection of referral sources. For this reason, people who enter into space sharing agreements benefit immensely from retaining the legal assistance of a knowledgeable dental law attorney in California. At Leiva Law Firm, we provide an array of documents to our clients that help tackle the difficulties of establishing and maintaining a space sharing agreement.
Although there are an array of inherit issues associated with the sharing of an office space, it is crucial that you understand these issues and work toward overcoming them. Doing so will ensure you have the flexibility and freedom to operate your practice with another professional without having overwhelming problems. Space sharing relationships are becoming more common in high-rent areas as well as among professionals who seek to create officers that provide an array of dental services with many specialties in one location. Establishing an effective space sharing agreement is key for ensuring your location is able to function without endless issues.
What is Covered in a Space Sharing Agreement
When it comes to sharing a space with another professional, it is imperative that you draft and maintain a space sharing agreement. These agreements are designed to cover various details in your shared office space. These documents are also designed to prevent future problems and ensure that you and those sharing the office with you are able to navigate the arrangement without issues on a daily basis. It is imperative that you incorporate various topics and details into your agreement to ensure smooth operations. Some of the most common topics to cover in your space sharing agreement include:
When will each dentist work? You will need to establish what days each dentist will work. After determining the location, you should determine whether the office is large enough to occupy both dentists practicing at the same time or if you should take turns working on alternate days. In some cases, each dentist works half-shifts daily to ensure full coverage throughout each day.
How much should I charge for renting my space? It is crucial that you establish in the space sharing agreement how the dental space will be rented. Do you prefer a fixed monthly fee that is paid regularly to you? Are you considerate of a “pay per day” arrangement based on the number of days the other dentist works?
Are you going to be sharing staff as well? There are situations where you may benefit from sharing the same staff members with the other dentist. This is especially beneficial for dentists who are both practicing at the same time. It is true that some dentists prefer to keep their staff separate from the staff of other professionals. Determining this arrangement ahead of time can help to avoid problems in the future. However, sharing staff requires further agreements surrounding the responsibility of paying them, as well as the hiring and firing of employees.
Is the insurance policy going to be shared? If you have insurance coverage for your equipment, property, and patients – which you should – then you both should be paying the premiums for it. It is imperative to determine the percentage of responsibility each dentist has for the costs of insurance moving forward.
How will conflicts be handled? Without a doubt, there will be a time when you and the other dentist will disagree on something. When this time comes, it is essential to know how you are going to handle the issues. Should one party be vested complete power over making important decisions? Should you consider a third-party to help negotiate? Having a conflict resolution clause in your contract can help make it easier to sort out conflicts and disagreements should they occur.
How to terminate the space sharing agreement? Having the ability to protect yourself is one of the primary benefits of having a space sharing agreement. This is especially true in cases where one partner decides that they no longer want to be involved in the space sharing arrangement at your practice. Your space sharing agreement should maintain a clause that will prevent competition. This clause ensures that the dentist sharing your space cannot simply move into another space nearby should they be dissatisfied with your arrangement. Furthermore, you will need to establish the handling of the termination of the agreement in cases where the primary owner or leaseholder does not want to practice at the location anymore. Ensuring requirements for notifying each dentist of their intent to leave is also important. Requiring a 30 to 90 day notice of the desire to terminate can help you find a new dentist to share space with or determine your next move forward.
Working with a skilled dental lawyer will ensure your legal rights and best interests are protected.
The Consequences of Not Having a Space Sharing Agreement
Although you would like to think that a handshake agreement will suffice in providing you adequate protection should things go wrong in the future, this is far from true. Not establishing a space sharing agreement comes with an array of negative consequences that can impact your financial wellbeing as well as your ability to practice. The majority of problems arise when no agreement exists and one party decides they want to part ways and take clients with them. This can cause serious concerns for the dental professional who is left without any patients.
Without a space sharing agreement, one dentist can choose to leave at any time and go to any location. The dentist could move right into the office next door and create severe competition to drive you out of business. Conversely, dentists who practice together on a daily basis may fail to establish who ends up with the patients. As a result, one dentist may end up treating all the patients and leaving none for the second dentist to treat.
Without legal recourse, parties can take advantage of the situation and cause damage to the other. It is crucial that you work with an attorney to establish an agreement that best represents your needs and best interests.
Leiva Law Firm Can Help You
It is crucial that you are aware of the possible benefits and setbacks associated with establishing a facilities sharing relationship with another professional. Although these relationships provide flexibility to active and semi-retired professionals, they do take away some of the control that is seen in the offices of solo dentists. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable Los Angeles dental lawyer can help you better understand your rights and responsibilities so you can make better informed business decisions for your practice.
The attorneys at Leiva Law Firm have decades of experience assisting clients throughout Southern California with protecting their legal rights when entering and into and maintaining space sharing agreements with other professionals. Our team is available to help you establish an agreement, review the terms of your agreement, or potentially end your facilities sharing relationship should things not go as planned. Contact our law firm today to see how we can help you. Contact the attorneys at Leiva Law Firm today by calling (818) 703-1777. Schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience to see how we can help you.