I am a consultant to a Medical practice and I run a managed advisory services company in the same building as the Medical Practice. The owner (an MD) is a longtime friend of 45 years. Every aspect of the Medical practice is run by me EXCEPT for the clinical part of medicine. By this I mean the payroll, billing, hiring, terminating, equipment maintenance, building maintenance, legal issues, accounting, credit etc. The Doctor collects the fees and I charge the Doctor every week, a fixed amount, not based on the collected fee (to avoid fee splitting issues). The employees
all work for my company at the Doctor’s location which is also my location. I am NOT a doctor. This model is becoming more and more common and I NEVER get involved in the clinical aspects or in setting time periods etc. to complete a procedure.
I hired an attorney to represent the Doctor in a lawsuit (not medical malpractice) in which the Doctor is the Plaintiff. It is strictly an economic based lawsuit related to overpaying on the original purchase price of the practice. Since I am the money and management person, I have been informing the attorney in the lawsuit as to what has occurred over the last 3 years. He has taken over from the previous attorney that the Doctor had hired and who has since resigned. The new attorney is similar to in-house counsel. He is on a 1099 so he is NOT an employee. The attorney has brought up some very nitpicky points. A few of them:
That he cannot use our supplies.
That he cannot use our address for mail and correspondence related to the case.
That he cannot discuss the case with me because I am not the Doctor (the lawsuit is in the Doctor’s name but I have been given 100% authority to handle it). I am in no way DIRECTING the attorney’s actions, just feeding him the info as I know it. I was also the accountant for the original purchase of the practice and the strategist for the original design of the lawsuit as I am the only one that has a true economic understanding of the situation. I was also the ONLY person deposed so far in the law suit.
I am I no way preventing the attorney from speaking with the Doctor, either with or without my presence. The Doctor always wants me there. While I have a vested interest in this I do not want to make the attorney uncomfortable. However, I am beginning to wonder if his issue is really that I am more knowledgeable then a typical client and if he fears that I might fire and replace him. My background is in Tax and Accounting and Credit with a Management Consulting MBA from a top business school. I am the one who hired him and I feel really pushed out by all this as I discussed the situation at the interview. I have a financial interest and I pay the attorney’s bill from my own funds.
That being said, is there a legal reason why the attorney wants me out of the loop as he has tried to go behind my back and asked the Doctor if the Doctor could eliminate me from the process. The Doctor promptly told me. I have not confronted the attorney yet and I will not confront him if it turns out that there is a basis for him being frightened of losing his license or some genuine ethical code that this violates.