"Is it a culture that fits with your personality? Who's going to be telling you what to do? You don't want to decide to join an organization and find out a few years later that you're really unhappy," says Dalton. "What sort of management style does this group have and do you really think it fits you? The governance of the group has to be understood clearly from the start and you have to decide if it is a style that you can work with."
The age of the physician or physicians in the practice can be an important factor, Halley says. Doctors who are older and nearing retirement may not be interested in going through the change to an ACO or other organization. Younger physicians, however, may see that employment by a hospital or some type of group is inevitable, and perhaps decide to choose their path early.
Another determining factor can be the status of your practice, Halley notes. Is it financially viable? Can you maintain that viability if reimbursement changes? Are you able to recruit and retain good physicians and staff? Do you have access to capital for improvements such as buying an electronic medical record? Will you be able to maintain referrals?
"If all the physicians who refer to me are going to work for a hospital, I probably should be concerned," Halley says. "Those referrals are probably going to go in a different direction."