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AVOID COLLATERAL ECONOMIC DAMAGE OF HEALTH CARE REFORM – AS A CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER PROFESSIONAL

By Eugene Schnmuckler PhD MBA MEd CTS

[Academic Provost and Dean]

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http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

ME-P Doctors, Advisors and Consultants

The healthcare industrial complex represents a large and diverse collateral support industry, and the livelihood of synergistic professionals who advise doctors depend on it. So, if you want to be an outstanding financial advisor in the healthcare space, you better read this book and learn something about physician specific financial planning.

Better yet! Combine financial planning and practice management and become a Certified Medical Planner ™. Then, integrate this knowledge, and CMPmark of distinction, into your current financial advisory or healthcare consulting practice.

Or, as some of the following financial services professionals are learning, you might just become more collateral economic damage in the current managed healthcare debacle, if you don’t.

Certified Public Accountants

The nation’s 330,000 or so CPAs know little about the new healthcare dynamics and financial planning. Many often feel as though they are laboring away in obscurity and that their doctor clients do not appreciate what they do or how hard they work.

If you are a CPA, your workweek is ridiculously long, especially January through April; and you often deliver bad news to your doctor clients. You do not earn a generous salary, but you do receive their ire for your efforts. Even ex-SEC chief Arthur Levitt said, “Accounting is clearly a profession in crisis”, after reviewing Arthur Andersen, LLP’s role in Enron Corporation’s collapse, in 2002; not to mention the Global Crossing Ltd, Vivendi Universal, Warnaco, Martha Stewart and WorldCom fiascos.

So, you begin to scratch your head and ponder, quietly at first, and then out loud. Perhaps advising and managing the medical practice of a physician, or providing consulting services to other medical professionals is an opportunity that won’t require a new client base? You can keep your accounting practice during the first four months of the year, and supplement your income with something that may actually earn more than you are making now.

A light then goes off in your head. Epiphany! Enter iMBA’s Certified Medical Planner(CMP) professional certification program, exhorting accountants to “integrate personal financial planning with medical practice management”, through an additional 500 hours of online managerial and planning experience.

However, terms such as capitated medicine; per member-per month fixed fees; payment withholds’; activity based costing with CPT codes; utilization and acuity rates; and more investment and financial nomenclature is likely quite unfamiliar to you.

Furthermore, you may not have the temperament to be responsible for the financial affairs of others. Then you realize that CMPs along with MBAs and CFPs may actually be the new denizens of the healthcare bean counting and practice management scene. Rather than present numbers of the historic past, they make logical and mathematical inferences about the future.

Slowly, you realize that this has occurred because these professionals are proactive, not reactive, as the accounting profession is loosing its premier advisory position within the medical profession. Since doctors are paid a fixed fee amount, regardless of the number of services performed, these futuristic projections are the most important accounting numbers in healthcare today.

In fact, your research suggests that as a result, nearly every major accounting firm has created a financial advisory unit, or acquired one. Moss-Adams acquired Financial Securities in Seattle. Plante and Moran’s advisory unit is one of the largest and most successful in Michigan. And, 1st Global now offers a turnkey program that allows nearly every accounting firm to create its own advisory unit overnight.Even, the AICPA is providing encouragement to CPAs who wish to provide more professional client services by uniting with Fidelity to serve as a professional vendor. And, the PFS designation is about to be abandoned by the AICPA.

Doctor Advisor Teamwork

Tax Attorneys and Lawyers 

As a tax planning, health-law or estate attorney, you already know that almost every legal magazine around has articles or advertisements proposing that you become a financial planning professional or business consultant to your physician clients. Moreover, lawyers of all stripes are being pushed toward interdisciplinary alliances by encroachment on their turf by the Big Four consulting firms. With audits of publicly held companies now a commodity, the giant law firms are getting more of their revenues from consulting fees; and that puts them into direct competition with you and other legal professionals.

Of all careers, you know how absolutely onerous it is to practice medicine today, and are finally thankful that you did not take that career route many years ago. So, like your neighbor the accountant, you begin to explore that potential of developing a service line extension to your legal practice, in order to assist your medical colleagues who have been hit on hard economic times.

In fact, you soon realize that more than 90,000 trust, probate and estate planning attorneys like yourself are interested in pursuing financial planning in the next decade. Sure, you know its difficult to get a CLU or variable annuity license, or become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), but earning your law degree was no cinch either. And, you reckon, advising physicians has got to be easier than law, or less stressful than the corporate lifestyle of your CMP trained brother-in-law, right?

So, you set out to stretch your legal horizons with an online Certified Medical Plannercertification program and explore the basic legal nuances of those topics not available in law school when you were a student. Things like medical fraud and abuse; managed care compliance audits and Medicare recoupments; PP-ACA, RACS, OSHA, DEA, HIPAA and EPA standards; anti-trust issues; and managed care contract dilemmas or de-selection appeals.

What a brave new world the legal profession has become! Even the American Bar Association’s commission on multi-disciplinary practice has recommended that lawyers be permitted to share fees and become partners with financial planners, money managers and other similar professionals.

As a real life example, the venerated Baltimore brokerage firm of Legg Mason, Inc, has recently teamed up with the Boston law firm of Bingham Danna, LLC, to create one of the first marriages between a law and securities firm. If you want in on the challenge, and bucks, you’d better acquire at least a working knowledge of health care administration, or perhaps help craft some new case law, or assist your doctor-clients in some other fashion; otherwise, you will remain a legal document producer.

Financial Planners and Investment Advisors

As a CFP, CFA, investment advisor or general securities representative, you realize that the financial service sector is going to become the next great growth opportunity of the 21st Century, despite the fact that the stagnant stock market in 2003-2004 set profits for the securities industry back by seven years.

Even H & R Block, and the Charles Schwab Corporation are trying to build medical professional interest in their respective firms and compete with your independent practice. They are fervently wooing away one group or another to interface with their embryonic financial advisory programs. Meanwhile, more than 260,000 of the nation’s brokers are moving into the investment advisory and financial planning business, as transactions have become commoditized.

A recent survey conducted for the Financial Planning Association clearly demonstrated the dominance of registered investment advisors, over stockbrokers, among clients 35-49 years old. With the average Merrill Lynch private client well over 60, it’s easy to spot the future vulnerability of this business model.

When asked to determine the added value of key industry players, baby boomers in a recent Dalbar study ranked financial planners first, followed by stockbrokers, CPAs, mutual fund companies, insurance agents, and commercial bankers, respectively. Even if you are a CFP, and despite the proliferation of investment advisors, evidence suggests that your individual impact is still narrow.

Furthermore, another Prince & Associates study of 778 affluent individuals including physicians, each with more than 5 million dollars to invest, examined the relationship between clients and their providers of five key financial services; retirement planning, estate planning, investment management, executive benefits and health-disability insurance. Prince found that 59 percent of the clients had been serviced in only one area by a particular advisor. Despite the significant assets of each client, the advisers have been unsuccessful at broadening these relationships– a key indicator that many affluent clients do not have a primary financial adviser.

Among the challenges you face to broaden your influence is to offer your clients value added services, perhaps by establishing your expertise in the medical niche and capitalize on being different (your unique knowledge-based value proposition). You must not remain just another of the more than 250,000, or so individuals who claim to be financial planners, with a collective universe of an additional 700,000, who purport to be financial advisors, in some fashion or another. You must begin to develop the strategic competitive advantage of practice management knowledge to synergize with your existing financial services product line.

Like the physicians you advise, you must consider becoming a specialist. In the highly coveted healthcare space, this specialist to high net worth doctors, is known as a Certified Medical Plannerpractitioner.

Integrated practice management and financial planning will also become much more competitive among physicians because they are aware of the above fusion. No one is suggesting therefore, that you abandon your core financial advisory business for medical practice management. It is merely a fact that healthcare has drastically changed during the past decade, and the knowledge you used yesterday will no longer be enough for you to get by on in the future.

Medical practice management is the natural outgrowth of traditional financial planning services, and investment advice in turn, is central to the implementation of a unified medical office and personal financial plan. The most successful financial planners therefore, may be CMPs and CFPs who incorporate medical management services into their practices.

cmp-program1

Insurance Agents and Counselors

As a traditional life insurance agent, it seems that almost all your colleagues are acquiring a general securities license, or CFP designation in addition to the CLU or ChFC after their name. Currently, there are more than 3 million insurance agents, half of which are independent. They are being pressured to move toward financial planning, as distribution of insurance products over the Internet spreads like wildfire.

Meanwhile, the same insurance and investment companies that are knocking on your door are also courting the medical professionals with their practice enhancement programs. Even if you are not interested in going into the financial planning business, you have seen the status of the American College erode of late, even as your own insurance business has declined because of the World Wide Web and various discounted insurance companies.

And, in the eyes of your former golden goose doctor-clients, you may have become a charlatan and everyone is clamoring for a piece of your insurance business and cloaking it in the guise of the contemporary topic of the day; medical practice management and financial planning. Think this is an exaggerated statement? An October 1997 survey conducted by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group of New York, found insurance agents ranked last in having the trust of a wide selection of the public! Erosion has continued, ever since.

So, how do you regain this lost trust, and what about this new entity known as managed care? How do you learn about it at this stage in your career? What ever happened to the traditional indemnity health insurance, with its deductible and 80/20payment scheme? It was so easy to sell, provided good coverage, and the agent made a nice profit.

As an insurance agent, all you want to know is, can I still sell insurance and make a living? Like the struggling doctors you seek to advise, and the collateral advisors above, you find yourself asking, how do I talk the talk, and walk the walk, in this new era of medical insurance turmoil?

Slowly, as you read, study and learn about the Certified Medical Plannercertification program, you become empowered with the knowledge and ideas for new insurance product derivatives, that actually provide value to your physician clients. You are no longer just an insurance salesman, but a trusted medical risk management advisor.

Congratulations!

You can avoid the managed care economic ripple effect. Act now!

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Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Financial Planning MDs 2015

Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants

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