Doctors May Save Some Money with These 2011 IRS Tax Changes

A Brief IRS Tax Code Update

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

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In an information letter, the IRS outlined seven specific changes in the 2011 law that will be useful to doctors and all taxpayers filing their tax returns this year. And, some of these 2011 tax law changes may reduce your taxes:

1. Energy Credits – The energy credit was reduced from the $1,500 limit for 2010 to a maximum of $500 for 2011. Up to 10% of qualified expenditures for high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters, biomass stoves, energy-efficient windows and doors and other energy improvements will qualify. The 2011 limit is $500. This credit is reduced by previously-taken energy credits and will generally be available for taxpayers who made their first energy improvements in 2011.

2. 2008 Homebuyer Credits – Some purchasers of new homes in 2008 qualified for a first-time homebuyer credit. The credit was essentially an interest-free loan to be paid back over 15 years. For these taxpayers, the second repayment of the credit amount will apply for 2011.

3. Capital Gains and Losses – Previously, capital gains and losses were recorded on Schedule D. There is a new Form 8949 to report gains and losses. Schedule D will still be used for a summary of capital gains and losses.

4. Roth Conversions – Those individuals who converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2011 must report their taxable income. In previous years, only half of the income was reported each year for two years. However, for 2011 conversions the full amount is reportable.

5. Standard Mileage Rates – The standard mileage rates changed on July 1 for business use, medical travel, moving or charitable services. For the first half of 2011, the rates are business travel at 51 cents, medical and moving travel at 19 cents, and charitable travel at 14 cents per mile. For July 1 through the end of the year, business travel is 55.5 cents, medical and moving travel at 23.5 cents and charitable travel remains 14 cents per mile.

6. Alternative Minimum Tax Exemption – The AMT exemption for 2011 will be $74,450 for a married couple, $37,225 for married persons filing separately and $48,450 for single person or heads of household.

7. Health Insurance – Generally, self employed persons who operate a small business will qualify for deduction of health insurance premiums.

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How Technology Changed Medicine

A Historic Timeline Review of Advances

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Today we address how technology has changed the medical industry.

Definition

This infographic starts off by stating “medical technology is the application of devices, procedures, and knowledge for diagnosing and treating disease for the purpose of maintaining, promoting, and restoring wellness while improving the quality of life.” On the left of the infographic is a timeline of technological advances in the medical industry, starting with the invention of the stethoscope in 1816 and ending with the production of the first commercial hybrid PET/MRI scanner in 2008.

US Medical Technology Companies by Segment

A pie chart shows us that a great many medical technology companies are focused on therapeutic devices, while the next biggest segment belongs to non-imaging diagnostics. The next largest segment is dedicated to research and other equipment, and the next segment (second to the smallest) is dedicated to imaging. The smallest segment is designated as “other.”

In the therapeutic devices category, the largest piece of that piece of the pie goes to cardiovascular and vascular developments, and the smallest to urology/pelvic with many other therapeutic devices in between.

Three Ways Medical Technology Has Improved Treatment Processes

1. Faster Diagnosis

2. Less Invasive Treatments

3. Shorter Hospital Stays

Survival Rate

It is noted that the survival curve has flattened because of lower mortality and has become increasingly vertical with older people because of the technological advances. A graph shows the percentage of people who lived until a certain age between 1900 and 1902, when only about 10% of people lived past the age of 85, and 2002, when almost 30% of people lived past the age of 85. Based on this graph, most people live to age 55 or older; and around 50% of people live to at least age 80.

Advances in Medical Technology

Some of the advances mentioned are wireless heart monitors, skin cell guns, the STEM microscope, Nexagon healing gel, Berkeley Bionics’ eLEGS, and the iPhone Blood Pressure Monitor. A description of each of these advances is included on the infographic.

Advancements in Health Record Technology and More

Sprint has something called M2M healthcare initiative that provides GPS tracking for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and offers faster access to more unified personal data like heath records and test results.

Now, there is also a “know before you go” option for hospital emergency rooms. Some hospitals place their wait times on billboards, make them available on their website, and even offer the wait time via text. Other hospitals participate in a service called InQuick ER where a patient can pay a $9.99 fee and hold a place in the ER online [noted elsewhere on this ME-P].

Helpful Healthcare Apps

Some of the apps listed are My Medical, which allows one to store medical histories, BP Buddy that helps track blood pressure levels, Glucose Buddy, which helps manage diabetes, and iTriage, that is a diagnostic tool.

Also listed is the Ovulation Calendar – guess what that does? While – the Mediquations Medical Calculator brings 231 medical calculations and scoring tools right to your mobile device.

Source: SmallCellLungCancer.net

Conclusion

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