Is there Profit in Professionalism?

Bill Lynch Blog 2 Comments
Path to Success

Path to Success

I’m trying to write myself out of a funk. This winter – “Chiberia” – has been the worst of my 10 years in Chicago. Right about now Dallas looks pretty darn good. But the dark, cold winter is a fraction of the blues I’ve been suffering.

I had high hopes for CLP Consulting as it was conceived on that Chilean hillside several years ago. The book has been well-received by a small group of readers. Even enthusiastically praised by a few. But the reactions of a few close colleagues have discouraged me more so than the general lackluster growth of book sales and consulting gigs. A close friend’s reaction during dinner recently is a good example.

Dr. P. and I were at dinner at The Gage, a local favorite, catching up on things in general but especially about my having covered his practice during his recent vacation. As a part of the wide-ranging conversation I told him of my idea to interview a series of psychiatrists in order to gather information about thinking of our practices as businesses. His comment during this chat was right on: “Of course I want to make money, but I am uncomfortable when I focus on that too much.”

When I wrote Starting and Growing Concierge Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Practices I was clearly focused on building and growing cash generating businesses. It puts my people off. I’ll try to engage as many colleagues in this conversation as possible. One vision is that this project of self-exploration through others will develop into a second book on the topic of making a living as a clinician. But this time including what looks to me like a massive ambivalence in doing so.

Are you ambivalent about maximizing your profit in your practice? Tell me all about it!

2 Responses to Is there Profit in Professionalism?

  1. Jack

    Hi Dr. Lynch,

    I’d like to share with you my observations:

    None of the residents in my class (upper or lower) were interested in the cash model. I think the reasons are complex and poorly articulated.

    1. Perceived financial risk and lack of an entrepreneurial mindset.
    2. Lack of understanding of the profit driven models by insurance companies that pay their executives multimillion dollar salaries and the true costs of providing care.
    3. Lack of confidence/interest in providing psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is not easy and I believe it takes a bit of talent (even with adequate training) and a lot of dedication.
    4. Path of least resistance.

    My reasons for the cash model: 25% financial (higher hourly wage, getting established in the community, and having an alternate source of income).75% is my disagreement with the current practice model. Employers aren’t hiring me for what I am trained to do…which I believe is Psychiatry (I had extensive psychotherapy training in my 3rd and 4th year. I also requested extra supervision).

    Take a look at the recent 2014 Medscape Physician survey. Psychiatry ranked 2nd in job satisfaction! Given that we know most psychiatrists are not providing therapy, it looks like our colleagues are happy dishing out meds, not providing therapy, and not taking any call.

    Anyways, you have inspired me. Your book tells it how it is and your advice clearly works. I am 8 months in and my practice is filled 2 day a week. I also feel I am actually helping people with psychiatric conditions.

    • Bill Lynch

      Hello again, Jack. Thanks for this useful bit of feedback. I will contact you directly to ask permission to use it in an upcoming post. I didn’t realize there were so few of us out there. In my early career the majority of psychiatrists practiced like us. My how things have changed! Thanks again, Jack, and keep it up.


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