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    As a former Dean and appointed University Professor and Endowed Department Chair, Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA was a NYSE broker and investment banker for a decade who was respected for his unique perspectives, balanced contrarian thinking and measured judgment to influence key decision makers in strategic education, health economics, finance, investing and public policy management.

    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 and 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”.

    Marcinko is “ex-officio” and R&D Scholar-on-Sabbatical for iMBA, Inc. who was recently appointed to the MedBlob® [military encrypted medical data warehouse and health information exchange] Advisory Board.



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Understanding the Art of Selling Your Medical Practice

Part Two of Medical Practice Valuation

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko, MBA, CMP

By Prof. Hope Rachel Hetico, RN, MHA, CMP


In Part 1, we discussed how to establish fair market value (FMV) for a medical practice in the article, “Establish Your Practice’s Fair Market Value.” This time, we’ll review important terms and conditions for the sale transaction.

Valuation Types

Unfortunately, as a general rule, medical practice worth is presently deteriorating. A good medical practice is no longer a good business necessarily, and selling doctors can no longer automatically expect to extract a premium sale price. Nevertheless, appraising your medical practice on a periodic basis can play a key role in obtaining maximum value for it.

Competent practice valuation specialists typically charge a retainer to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Fees should not be based on a percentage of practice value, and may take 30-45 days to complete. Flat fees should be the norm because a sliding scale or percentage fee may be biased toward over-valuation in a declining marketplace. Fees range from $7,500-$50,000 for the small to large medical practice or clinic.

Expect to pay a retainer and sign a formal, professional engagement letter. Seek an unbiased and independent viewpoint. Buyer and sellers should each have their own independent appraisal done, using similar statistics, accounting measures, and economic assumptions.

At the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com we use three engagement levels that vary in intensity, purpose, and cost:

1. A comprehensive valuation provides an unambiguous value range. It is supported by most all procedures that valuators deem relevant, with mandatory onsite review. This gold standard is suitable for contentious situations. A written “opinion of value” is applicable for litigation support activities like depositions and trial. It is also useful for external reporting to bankers, investors, the public, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), etc.

2. A limited valuation lacks additional suggested Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) procedures. It is considered to be an “agreed upon engagement,” when the client is the only user. For example, it may be used when updating a buy/sell agreement, or when putting together a practice buy-in for a valued associate. This limited valuation would not be for external purposes, so no onsite visit is necessary and a formal opinion of value is not rendered.

3. An ad-hoc valuation is a low level engagement that provides a gross non-specific approximation of value based on limited parameters or concerns involved parties. Neither a written report nor an opinion of value is rendered. It is often used periodically as an internal organic growth/decline gauge.

Structure Sales Transactions

When the practice price has been determined and agreed on, the actual sales deal can be structured in a couple of ways:

(1) Stock Purchase v. Asset Purchase

In an asset transaction, the buyer will receive a tax amortization benefit associated with the intangible value of the business. This tax amortization represents a non-cash expense benefiting the buyer. In this case, the present value of those future tax benefits is added to the business enterprise value.

(2) Corporate Transactions

Typical private deals in the past involved some multiple (ratio) of earning before income taxes (EBIT)—usually a combination of cash, restricted stock, notes receivable, and possibly assumption of liabilities. For some physician hospital organizations, and public deals, the receipt of common stock can increase the practice price by as much as 40-50 percent (to accept the corresponding business risk, in lieu of cash).

Complete the Deal

The deal structure will vary depending on whether the likely buyer is a private practitioner, health system or a corporate partner. Some key issues to consider in the “art of the deal” include:

  • Working capital (in or out?): Including working capital in the transaction will increase the sale price.
  • Stock vs. asset transaction: Structuring the deal as an asset purchase will increase practice value due to the tax amortization benefits received by the buyer for intangible assets of the practice.
  • Common stock premium: The total sale price can be significantly higher than a cash equivalent price for accepting the risk and relative illiquidity of common stock as part of the payment.
  • Physician compensation: If your goal is to maximize practice value, take home a lower salary to increase practice sale price. The reverse is also true.

Understand Private Deal Structure

Assuming a practice sale is a private transaction, deal negotiations are based on the following pricing methodologies:

Seller financing: Many transactions involve an earn-out arrangement where the buyer puts money down and pays the balance under a formula based on future revenues, or gives the seller a promissory note under similar terms. Seller financing decreases a buyer’s risks (the longer the terms, the lower the risk). Longer terms demand premiums, while shorter terms demand discounts. Premiums that buyers pay for a typical seller-financed practice are usually more than what you would expect from a simple time value of money calculation, as a result of buyer risk reduction from paying over time, rather than up front with a bank loan or all cash. Remember to obtain a life insurance policy on the buyer.

Down payment: The greater the down payment for acquisition of a medical practice, the greater the risk is to the buyer. Consequently, sellers who will take less money up front can command a higher than average price for their practice, while sellers who want more down usually receive less in the end.

Taxation: Tax consequences can have a major impact on the price of a medical practice. For instance, a seller who obtains the majority of the sales price as capital gains can often afford to sell for a much lower price and still pocket as much or more than if the sales price were paid as ordinary income. Value attributed to the seller’s patient list, medical records, name brand, good will, and files qualifies for capital gains treatment. Value paid for the selling doctor’s continuing assistance after the sale and value attributed to a non-compete agreement are taxed at ordinary income. A buyer willing to allocate more for items with capital gains treatment, or a seller willing to take more in ordinary income, can frequently negotiate a better price. This is the essence of economically prudent practice transition planning.

Sidestep Common Buyer Blunders

Here are 10 blunders to avoid, as a buyer:

1. Believing the selling doctor’s attestations. Always verify data through an independent appraisal.

2. Wanting to change the culture of the practice. Be careful: Patients may not adjust quickly to change.

3. Using all available cash without keeping a reserve for potential contingencies.

4. Creating a conflict with the seller by recognizing a weakness and continually focusing on it for a bargain price.

5. Failing to realize that managed care plan contracts can be lost quickly or may not be always transferable.

6. Suffering from analysis paralysis. Money cannot be made by continually checking out a medical practice, only by actually running one.

7. Not appreciating the uniqueness of each practice, and using inaccurate “rules of thumb” from the golden age of medicine.

8. Not realizing that practice worth and goodwill value have plummeted lately and continue to decline in most parts of the country.

9. Not understanding that practice brokers may play both sides of the buy/sell equation for profit. Brokers usually are not obligated to disclose conflicts of interest, are not fiduciaries, and do not provide testimony as a court-approved expert witness.

10. Not hiring an appraisal professional who will testify in court, if need be, using the IRS-approved USPAP methods of valuation. Always assume that the appraisal will be contested (many times, it is).

After pricing and contracting due diligence has been performed, the next step in the medical practice sale process—as Donald Trump might say—is just good, old-fashioned negotiation.

Electronic Downloads

Part I: Part I

Part II: Part II

Additional Reading:

Cimasi, R.J., A.P. Sharamitaro, T.A. Zigrang, L.A.Haynes. Valuation of Hospitals in a Changing Reimbursement and Regulatory Environment. Edited by David E. Marcinko. Healthcare Organizations: Financial Management Strategies. Specialty Technical Publishers, 2008.

Marcinko, D.E. “Getting it Right: How much is a plastic surgery practice really worth?” Plastic Surgery Practice, August 2006.

Marcinko, D.E., H.R. Hetico. The Business of Medical Practice (3rd ed). Springer Publishing,New York,N.Y., 2011.

Marcinko, D.E. and H.R. Hetico. Risk Management and Insurance Planning for Physicians and Advisors. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Mass., 2007.

Marcinko, D.E. and H.R. Hetico. Financial Planning for Physicians and Advisors. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Mass., 2007.

Marcinko, D.E. and H.R. Hetico. Dictionary of Health Insurance and Managed Care. Springer Publishers, New York, N.Y., 2007.

Marcinko, D.E. and H.R. Hetico. Dictionary of Health Economics and Finance. Springer Publishers,New York,N.Y., 2007.

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How to Compare Cost-of-Living Benefits?

On Career Advancements and New Jobs

By Rick Kahler MSFS CFP®

As a doctor, nurse or allied healthcare professional; suppose you’re ready to take your career up a step, and you’re exploring opportunities in various parts of the country. You may easily be misled by the money script that a higher salary equates to a higher standard of living; however this is not necessarily always true.

What can you do to expand and reframe this money script?

Here are a few things to consider:

1. If the salary isn’t published, ask the money question right up front. Many candidates leave the inquiry into salary and benefits until the last step when both they and the potential employer have invested time and perhaps money into the interview process. Asking earlier avoids this wasted time, as well as allowing you to do your research on the front end and avoid potentially passing up other opportunities.

2. Get a clear picture of the lifestyle the salary will buy.  One of the best ways to do this is at bestplaces.net, which offers a cost-of-living calculator to compare the relative locations and salaries you are considering. For example, if you compare Rapid City, SD, and Redwood City, CA, you will find the latter costs 259% more than the former. That means you need to multiply the Rapid City salary by 3.59 to find the equivalent salary in Redwood City.

The “City Compare” tab also allows you to compare specific categories. For example, health care is 10% more in Rapid City than Redwood City, while housing in Redwood City costs over eight times as much. You can also compare factors like crime rate, climate, air quality, and tax rates. Pay particular attention to taxes; needing to pay both state and city income taxes, for example, could make a significant difference in your cost of living.

3. Investigate surrounding areas that have a lower cost of living. A 45-minute to one-hour commute each way from La Honda to Redwood City would result in a 37% decrease in the cost of living. A salary of $140,000 would buy a lifestyle in La Honda equivalent to that provided by $222,222 in Redwood City.

4. Examine your own beliefs about various areas. Look beyond salary amounts to your perceptions and assumptions about factors such as amenities, city-vs-rural living, lifestyles, status, etc. Then investigate the realities of those factors—both their value to you and the probability that you could take advantage of them. If a city offers professional sports, theatre productions, and concerts, for example, could you realistically afford the time and money to attend regularly? Would available public transportation fit your lifestyle and work schedule?

5. Consider your short-term and long-term family circumstances. Is a big-city lifestyle what you want as a young adult but not for raising a family? Would a given location fit your spouse’s needs as well as your own? Are your kids toddlers or about to leave home? Do you have aging parents that might need help?

6. If you choose a job in an area with a high cost of living, consider ways to reduce your budget. Thesimpledollar.com has 40 great tips on how to save money on monthly expenses.


Finally, put all your research together and do your best to imagine year-round daily living in various locations. Envision yourself in the different routines and possibilities, whether they might include a daily two-hour commute, a city apartment, or a home in the woods with your own snow blower. Look beyond the financial cost of living to the emotional benefits and costs of living in various places. The most important lifestyle factor is finding the place where you will feel most at home.




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Dr. Dave Marcinko enjoys personal coaching and public speaking and gives as many talks each year as possible, at a variety of medical society and financial services conferences around the country and world.

These have included lectures and visiting professorships at major academic centers, keynote lectures for hospitals, economic seminars and health systems, keynote lectures at city and statewide financial coalitions, and annual keynote lectures for a variety of internal yearly meetings.

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Dr. Marcinko Interviewed on the Physician Credit Crunch

Financial Experts Share Tips on Obtaining Loans to Start or Expand a Medical Practice

By Michael Gibbons

Editor: ADVANCE Newsmagazines

Maybe you’re a young dermatologist or plastic surgeon who dreams of starting your own practice. Or maybe you’re an established professional but want to expand your palette of anti-aging services. Either way, you’ve probably made an unpleasant discovery: Banks are leery about lending today. Global recessions with seemingly no end in sight tend to give loan officers sticky fingers.HO-JFMS-CD-ROM

Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons

We have it on good authority that dermatologists and plastic surgeons as a group are less affected by this problem than physicians in some other branches of medicine. Still, there’s no better time than now to absorb some sound advice on how to approach banks for loans—whether you’re a fresh-faced newcomer to the fresh-face business or a wrinkled veteran at eliminating wrinkles.

Start Small

There’s no soft-soaping it: Starting a healthy aging practice is much harder than expanding an existing practice, even in the flushest of times.

“For young dermatologists starting out, I recommend you start small,” advises Jerome Potozkin, MD, who offers facial rejuvenation, liposuction, body contouring and dermatological care through his practice in Walnut Creek, CA. “You can always expand. Keep your overhead low. Know what your credit score is and do everything you can to improve it. Pay your bills on time.”

Lasers aren’t cheap. Besides the initial acquisition costs, a service contract can cost $7,000 to $12,000 a year, according to Dr. Potozkin. “Don’t feel you have to buy every new laser under the sun,” he says. “In fact, renting rather than purchasing is an option many companies offer. When your volume is low you can rent and schedule laser days—although the pitfall there is you don’t have lasers available whenever patients come in.”

Also, young dermatologists “will probably have an easier time getting a loan if they go to a relatively underserved area, as opposed to an area that has a large number of dermatologists per capita,” says Dr. Potozkin, who began practicing 10 years ago. “There are two schools of thought on this: Go where you want to live to start a practice or go to where there’s a need and be instantly successful. I chose the former. It took me longer to get started but I’m very happy where I am.”

Patience, Prudence and Passiondem2

Be patient, prudent, passionate—and start with a spare office and as little debt as possible, advises Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA, a financial advisor and Certified Medical Planner™. Marcinko, a health economist,  is CEO of the Institute of Medical Business Advisors Inc., a national physician and medical practice consulting firm based in Norcross, GA www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

“Patients are looking for passion from you, not lavish trappings,” Dr. Marcinko says. “When a banker or a loan officer sees $175,000 or more of debt they are loath to give a loan—and it’s hard to blame them. Purchase a home after you become a private practitioner. You need to be as close to debt-free as you can be.

Exit Strategy

“Another thing bankers want to know is, ‘If we give you a loan and you start a practice and it fails, how will we be paid back?’ They want an exit strategy.”

The good news is dermatology “remains a very lucrative specialty, and in most parts of the country they are in a shortage position, particularly with the aging population,” says Sandra McGraw, JD, MBA, principal and CEO of the Health Care Group, a financial and legal consulting firm based in Plymouth Meeting, PA., that advises the American Academy of Dermatology, among other groups.

“I would start with a realistic business plan for why you think this practice can succeed, in the specific location,” McGraw says. “How many patients do you expect to see? How will they know you are there and available? Remember that banks lend to all kinds of people, so keep your numbers realistic. Overestimating expenses is as bad as underestimating them. Then determine how you want the money—usually a fixed loan for a period of time and then a line of credit as you get your practice going and sometimes need the cash flow.”biz-book

Expanding a Practice

Established dermatologists should have an easier time getting loans to expand their practices. They have, one hopes, a track record of success and assets to put up as collateral.

Mid-career physicians “have cash flow, physician assets and equity to some degree in a house and personal assets,” Dr. Marcinko observes. “Banks can attach loans to personal assets and savings accounts. Ninety-nine percent of times you must sign a personal asset guarantee. Mid-lifers have assets young ones don’t, so mid-lifers aren’t quite the risk. They have businesses that have value and cash flow. Banks like cash flow.”

However, even veterans must do some homework before approaching a bank. “You still want to establish why you want the money and how the expansion will increase your income,” McGraw says.

Another tip: If the bank has loans out with reputable vendors, you might ask the loan officer to recommend them to you as potential contractors. “Sometimes keeping it local and supporting others with loans at the bank can be helpful,” she says.


Dr. Marcinko adds, “Bankers today want you to come in with a well-reasoned, well-thought-out and well-written business plan. Give bankers a 30-second elevator speech on why you are different. It’s really important to ask yourself, ‘What can I offer the community as a doctor in my specialty that nobody else can?’ If you bill yourself as the first dermatologist to do laser surgery, that’s a perceived advantage. You purchased the equipment and learned to use it. But anyone can do that. If you can come up with something that nobody else has or can do, that’s how you’re successful in anything.”

Link: Dr. Marcinko Interview

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/dr-marcinko-interview.pdf


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More on Medical Practice Business Costs

Unknown and Under-Appreciated by Many

By Rick Kahler CFP®

I recently talked with an administrator of a private medical practice about some of the financial challenges she faces in dealing with the medical system, insurers, and patients.

Some of the insights she gave me into the realities that private physicians face in providing medical care were rather disturbing.


Here are a few of them.

Let’s start with the insurers who account for the bulk of their revenue. Many payments for procedures from insurance companies (including Medicare) are below the cost of providing the service. This forces physicians to make up the difference on other procedures or find other sources of income to sustain the profitability of the practice.

Conversely, in markets that have just one hospital, the insurance companies have no leverage. If the insurers won’t pay what the hospitals demand, the hospitals can threaten to drop out of the network, leaving the insurers with nowhere to send their insureds in those markets. The insurers end up agreeing to pay the hospitals more.

Charges for services provided in-house at the hospital can end up being substantially higher than those same services done by outside providers.


She gave me an example of a lab test that cost $1,500 to $2,000 at the hospital lab but $35 to $80 at an independent lab. Patients do have the option to direct the hospital to use an independent lab. But, how many people know that and will have the presence of mind to make the request? While it makes financial sense to price-shop if you have a high deductible HSA plan, there isn’t much incentive if your plan has low deductibles.


Another challenge is collecting from patients. She says a surprising percentage of Americans maintain checking accounts with no money or keep checks from accounts which have long been closed. While writing bad checks is a crime, those who game the system know they can probably get by with writing a low-dollar check because the cost of pursuing justice is much more than the check is worth.

Most companies would never do business with such a person again. Healthcare professionals tend to have a bias toward giving everyone services, so these same people do return requesting care. She said she and her physician employer have had huge internal arguments about this. Her position is that these people take advantage of the physician in a premeditated fashion and don’t deserve to be extended services. The physician argues that everyone, even deadbeats, deserves healthcare. Since the practice doesn’t provide life-and-death services, she was able to get the physician to agree that if someone has an outstanding bill they need to settle it upfront, in cash, before any new services are provided.

Then there are those who use credit cards and then fraudulently dispute the charges. Some providers let this go because of the difficulty of proving that the charge is legitimate. It requires photographs of customers during the transaction, copies of driver’s licenses, customers’ signatures on the paperwork, and notarized statements from the provider verifying that this was the person who received services and presented the credit card.





A final interesting point concerned patients’ Social Security numbers. She said the only time these are ever needed is when an outstanding bill is sent for collection. Otherwise, they are never accessed or used.


Finally, she was quick to add that only a small fraction of their patients premeditate stealing from them. She also stressed that not all insurance companies or hospitals behave unethically, and some do wonderful, humane acts of kindness. Nevertheless, the lack of integrity that does occur on both sides is infuriating and adds to the cost of health services.


Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, urls and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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

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