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    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

    Professor David Marcinko was a board certified surgical fellow, hospital medical staff President, public and population health advocate, and Chief Executive & Education Officer with more than 425 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 135+ domestic / international presentations to his credit; including the top ten [10] biggest drug, DME and pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published academic text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

    Later, Dr. Marcinko was a vital recruited BOD member of several innovative companies like Physicians Nexus, First Global Financial Advisors and the Physician Services Group Inc; as well as mentor and coach for Deloitte-Touche and other start-up firms in Silicon Valley, CA.

    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA, FPA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

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Government-Enabled Patient “Bounty Hunters”

Spider Webbing Technology May Trip-Up Miscreant Doctors

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA CMP™

HO-JFMS-CD-ROMUnder the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA), the U. S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) have operated an “Incentive Program for Fraud and Abuse Information.”

In this program, HHS pays $100 – $1,000 to Medicare recipients who report abuse in the program.

To assist patients in spotting fraud, HHS has published examples of potential fraud, which include:

  • medical services not provided;
  • duplicated services or procedures;
  • more expenses, services, or procedures claimed for than provided (upcoding/billing);
  • misused Medicare cards and numbers;
  • medical telemarketing scams; and
  • no-medical necessity.

Real Health Fraud Exists

There is no question that real fraud exists. The Office of Inspector General of HHS saved American taxpayers a record $32 billion in 2006, according to Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.  Savings were achieved through an intensive and continuing crackdown on waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and over 300 other HHS programs. To discourage flagrant allegations, regulations require that reported information directly contribute to monetary recovery for activities not already under investigation.  For the DRA in 2009, this includes the following:

  • promoting state False Claims Acts (section 6032);
  • enhancing the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, with “red flags” (PL 108-159); see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-108publ159/content-detail.html
  • employee education about false claims recovery (section 6033);
  • augmenting the Medicaid Integrity Program (section 6034);
  • enhancing third party recovery (section 6035); and
  • “mining” medical claims for potential fraud with the help of sophisticated computer technology algorithms – called “spider-webbing” – which locate a common insurance claim denominator and then follow the thread throughout claims review. Indicators of  possible fraud include doctors charging more than peers; providers who administer more tests or procedures per patient; providers who conduct medically “unlikely” procedures; providers who bill for more expensive procedures and equipment when there are cheaper options; and patients who travel long distances for treatment.

Assessment

CMS and private companies are able to save far more money by detecting fraud before claims are paid than recovering the money after the factAnd so, a further erosion of patient confidence can be expected as CMS, and private insurers, assume the “bounty hunter” view of healthcare providers.

Conclusion

Of course, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Do you feel like the hunter; or the hunted? Tell us what you think? Do you ever – or never –  fear the spider? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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The Need to Protect Accounts Receivable [ARs]

Understanding Liability and Stewardship Issues

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

By Dr. Gary L. Bode; MSA, CPA, CMP™

HOFMSAll hospitals, clinics, healthcare entities and doctors are aware that accounts receivable (ARs) represent money that is owed to them, usually by a patient, insurance company, health maintenance organization (HMO), Medicare, Medicaid, or other third party payer. In the reimbursement climate that exists today, it is not unusual for ARs to represent 75% of a hospital’s investments in current assets. ARs are a major source of cash flow, and cash flow is the life-blood of any healthcare entity. It pays bills, meets office payroll, and satisfies operational obligations.

Medical ARS are Different

A feature of ARs in healthcare organizations that differentiates them from ARs in other types of business is that they are often settled for less than the billed amounts. These allowances include four categories that are used to restate ARs to realizable expected values:

  • professional or courtesy allowances;
  • charity (pro bono care) allowances;
  • doubtful account allowances; and
  • HMO and managed care organization (MCO) contractual and prospective payment allowances.

AR Stewardship Issues

Good stewardship of assets requires that one must be concerned not only with significant economic losses due to professional conduct (professional malpractice liability concerns, and issues raised by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and so on); but that of physician partner(s) and even the financial failure of contracted private insurers, payers, MCOs, HMOs, etc. ARs are often the biggest asset to protect against creditors or adverse legal judgments. It is not unusual to have ARs in the range of a hundred thousand dollars for a group practice or medical clinic; and in the millions of dollars for a hospital. Yet, since they can easily be attached, ARs are known as exposed assets to creditors.

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Assessment

A judgment creditor pursuing a doctor for a claim may pursue the assets of the clinic, and ARs and cash are the most vulnerable assets. ARs are as good as cash to a creditor, who usually has to do no more than seize them and wait a few months to collect them. If a creditor seizes ARs, the clinic or health entity may be hard pressed to pay its bills as they become due. One must therefore be vigilant to protect AR assets from lawsuit creditors.

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IRS Warning on Hospital Charity Care

On Hospital Community Benefit Laws 

By Staff ReportersOslo Port

According to an Internal Revenue Service survey of nearly 500 not-for-profit hospitals in May 2006, only nine percent of total revenues were dedicated to community charity care. The report warned charity [Samaritan] and not-for-profit healthcare entities that attempts to set a percentage threshold for determining tax-exempt compliance may have a:

disproportionate impact on hospitals, depending upon their size, where they are located their community benefit mix, and other hospital and community demographics.”

In a follow-up, February 12, 2009, the IRS reported on executive compensation of the same tax-exempt hospitals”.

Link: http://greisguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/eo_interim_hospital_report_072007.pdf

Existence Justification

HO-JFMS-CD-ROMWhile the question whether  tax-exempt hospitals are providing enough charity care to justify their tax exemption remains, the report failed to reach specific conclusions on whether existing community benefit standards are appropriate and if tax-exempt hospital executives are being compensated too richly. The findings also serve as a caution to long term acute care hospital [LTACH] governance and compensation committees.  The CEOs and CFOs of these entities should note that a similar survey may be performed on for-profit hospitals in the near future.

Defining “Community Benefits”

According to Jason Greis, of the Gries Guide on LTACHs, on February 12, 2009:

“The current ‘community benefit’ standard was established by the IRS in 1969 in Revenue Ruling 69-545.  The standard sets out factors to be considered in measuring community benefit, including: (i) a board made up of a broad base of community members; (ii) an open medical staff; (iii) participation in Medicare and Medicaid; (iv) application of surplus funds toward improving facilities, equipment, patient care, medical training, research, and education; and (v) a full-time emergency room open to all regardless of ability to pay (the emergency room standard applies differently to tax-exempt Long Term and Acute Care Hospitals [LTACH] that do not maintain a full array of emergency department services).  Under the current community benefit standard, individual hospitals are given flexibility to determine what services will-best serve their communities.”

Today, some pundits suggest that if Congress doesn’t establish new charity care requirements imminently, the IRS should revert to its community benefit standard above, and revise down or eliminate the tax exemption.

Link: http://greisguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/eo_interim_hospital_report_072007.pdf

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Should non-profit hospitals be evaluated more carefully by the IRS for their community benefit? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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On Healthcare Intranets and Extranets

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A Primer for Physicians and Medical Executives

Dr. Mata

By Richard J. Mata; MD, MS, CMP™ [Hon]

According to the “Dictionary of Heath Information and Technology”,

“An intranet is a private network that uses Internet Protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organization’s information or operations with its employees”.

Sometimes the term refers only to the most visible service, the internal website.  The same concepts and technologies of the Internet, such as clients and servers running on the Internet protocol suite, are used to build an intranet.

Uses in Healthcare

An intranet is commonly used to provide communication and application services.  The advantages of using an intranet in the healthcare setting include the following:

  • Medical Workforce productivity: Intranets can help employees quickly find and view information and applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities.  Via a simple-to-use web browser interface, users can access data held in any database the organization wants to make available, anytime and  subject to security provisions — from anywhere, increasing employees’ ability to perform their jobs faster, more accurately, and with confidence that they have the right information.
  • Time: With intranets, healthcare organizations can make more information available to employees on a “pull” basis (i.e., employees can link to relevant information at a time that suits them) rather than being deluged indiscriminately by e-mails.
  • Communication: Intranets can serve as powerful tools for communication within a healthcare organization; vertically and horizontally.

Vulnerability and Security Protection

Intranets, like other IT systems, need to be protected by security systems. Any intranet is vulnerable to attack by people intent on destruction or on stealing corporate data. The open nature of the Internet and TCP/IP protocols expose a corporation to attack.  Intranets require a variety of security measures, including hardware and software combinations that provide control of traffic; encryption and passwords to validate users; and software tools to prevent and cure viruses, block objectionable sites, and monitor traffic.

Multiple Lines of Defense

The first line of defense is a firewall and these are commonly set up using proxy servers, which allow system administrators to track all traffic coming in and out of an intranet. Another layer of sophistication is added by using a bastion server firewall, configured to withstand and prevent unauthorized access or services. It is typically segmented from the rest of the intranet in its own subnet or perimeter network. In this way, if the server is broken into, the rest of the intranet won’t be compromised.

Authentication Systems

Authentication systems are an important part of any intranet security scheme. They are used to ensure that anyone trying to log into the intranet or any of its resources is the person they claim to be. Authentication systems typically use user names, passwords, fingerprints and iris scans, and various encryption systems.

Protection and Monitoring

Server-based software is used to protect an intranet and its data. Virus-checking software can check every file coming into the intranet to make sure that it is virus-free, and site-blocking software can bar people on the intranet from getting objectionable material. Monitoring software tracks where people have gone and what services they have used, such as HTTP for Web access.

Filtering Systems and Routers

One way of ensuring that the wrong people or erroneous data can’t get into the intranet is to use a filtering router. This is a special kind of router that examines the IP address and header information in every packet coming into the network, and allows in only those packets that have addresses or other data, like e-mail, that the system administrator has decided should be allowed into the intranet. Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools and applications, e.g., collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and for teleconferences) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, project management, etc, to advance productivity. Intranets are also being used as Health 2.0 culture change platforms

Metrics

Intranet traffic, like public-facing website traffic, is better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity, as well as through surveys of users. Intranet User experience, editorial, and technology teams work together to produce in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are owned by the communications, HR or IT areas of large healthcare organizations, or some combination of the three.

Assessment

When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers, partners, suppliers, patients, or others outside the healthcare organization – that part becomes part of an extranet.

Conclusion

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Understanding the Need for Onsite Practice Management Visits

Interview Information also Important

By Dr. David E. Marcinko and Staff Reporters

www.healthcareFinancials.comHO-JFMS-CD-ROM

According to Robert James Cimasi MHA, ASA, AVA, CMP™ of Health Capital Consultants, LLC, in St. Louis, MO, the following types of information specific to medical practices should be gathered by the financial executive, financial advisor or healthcare consultant when performing a practice enhancement engagement, or especially, an economic valuation and appraisal. This information may be obtained through an interview, questionnaire, or preferably a site visit:

  • Background Information: Include such information as the number of years the entity has operated at its current location and in the community, as well as the office hours.
  • Building Description: Include the location (urban/suburban), proximity to hospitals and other medical facilities, and its size, construction, electrical and computer wiring, age, access to parking, and so on.
  • Office Description: Approximate acquisition details and price, as well as ownership or lease details should be included.  The square footage and number of rooms, and a description of different office areas should be outlined, including, where applicable: medical equipment, including all diagnostic imaging and major medical equipment; pharmacy, laboratory, examination rooms, waiting rooms, and other areas.
  • Management Information Systems: Document types of hardware and software and the cost, age, and suitability of all components, including their management functions, reporting capabilities, and integration between programs.
  • History of the Entity: Give the date founded and by whom, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) physicians in practice by year, the physicians who have joined and left the entity, the dates they practiced at the entity, and their relationship and practice arrangement with the entity.
  • Staff Description: Include the number and types of non-physician positions as well as the tenure and salary of all current employees.
  • Competitive Analysis: Include details of hospital programs impacting practice, growth or decline in the volume of business and the reasons, association with other physicians, competitive strengths and threats, the number and volume of procedures performed, any change in the number and volume, and the corresponding fees.
  • Patient Base Information: Encompass income distribution and percentages from different payors, the number of new patients and total patients seen per week, the age mix of patients, the number of hours spent in patient care per week, and the number of surgeries performed.
  • Managed Care Environment: Details the terms and conditions of all managed care contracts including discounts and withholds, the impact on referral patterns and revenues, willingness to participate in risk sharing contracts and capitation, and the entity’s managed care reporting capabilities.
  • Hospital Privileges and Facilities: List all hospital privileges held by physician members of the medical practice and the requirements for acquiring privileges at the different local hospitals.
  • Credit Policy and Collections: Include practice policies for billing and payment, use of collection agencies, acceptance of assignments, other sources of revenues, and an aged breakdown of accounts receivable.
  • Financial Management: Include cash management procedures and protections, credit lines and interest, controls to improve payment of accounts payable, late payment frequency, formal or informal financial planning methods, and budgeting processes.
  • Operational Assessment: Include governance structure for the entity, detailing responsibilities and procedures for performance, conflicts, recruitment, outcomes measures, case management, reimbursement; income, continuing medical education (CME), credentialing, and utilization review.

Assessment

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The financial advisor must also allow for discussion of overall relationships with physicians in the community, practice concerns, and needs.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Have you ever had such an onsite visit? Was it by a fiduciary financial advisor or medical management consultant; or other? What was the outcome? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Medical Malpractice Trial Types

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Understanding the Litigation Process

By Dr. Jay S. Grife; Esq, MAinsurance-book

There are two types of trials, trial by jury and trial by judge. It is the task of the judge to determine the law, while the jury determines the facts.  In a trial by judge—called a “bench” trial—the judge determines both the law and the facts.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees a trial by jury.  If a party does not request a jury trial, however, the right to a jury trial can be waived.

The Statistics

Most civil cases in the United States are tried by jury.  Of the 3 percent of all cases that go to trial, the Department of Justice reports about two-thirds are jury trials, and one-third are bench trials. Whether to try a case to the judge or to a jury is strictly a matter of choice by the litigants.  If either party timely requests a jury trial, however, the case must be tried to a jury.  Because of the constitutional implications, in most cases both parties must waive their right to a jury trial in order for the case to be tried to a judge.  In a few instances, such as trials for injunctions and family law matters, a jury trial is not an option and a judge must hear the case.  However, the majority of civil issues offer the litigants a choice between bench or jury trials.

Notions and Perceptions

So why would anyone choose to have a case heard by a judge as opposed to a jury, or vice versa?  The reasons are mainly based on preconceived notions about judge and juror biases.  Generally, most litigants favor a jury over a judge because the decision is put into the hands of many rather than in the hands of one.  Plaintiffs usually like juries because lay individuals are believed to be more sympathetic, and a plaintiff can appeal to the emotions of a jury.  Conversely, defendants usually prefer bench trials because a judge is thought to be more objective in deciding a case.  Requesting a bench trial can also result in a much quicker trial date.  Since court dockets in most large cities are becoming increasingly congested, the time difference between a jury trial date and a bench trial date can be literally years.

Assessment

None of the perceptions about the benefits of a jury trial or a bench trial apply to all situations—every case is different.  There is at least some empirical evidence that some of the commonly held conceptions about bench and jury trials are actually misconceptions.  For example, while it is almost universally believed that juries tend to favor plaintiffs and award much higher monetary amounts, a recent study by the Department of Justice suggests that judges favor plaintiffs and return higher verdicts.  Still, jury trials outnumber bench trials by about two to one [1].

Conclusion

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[1] See Civil Jury Cases and Verdicts in Large Counties, Civil Justice Survey of State Courts at: http://www.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cjcavilc.htm.

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