Activity Based Medical Cost Accounting and Management

NON-TRADITIONAL ACCOUNTING METHODS KNOWN IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY BUT NOT USED IN HOSPITALS OR HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA CMP® CPHQ

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Sooner or later – as a practicing physician – you will want to ascertain and then demonstrate the cost effectiveness of your medical care. By using the process of Activity Based Cost (ABC) Management, you will be able to do so.  

ALAS: But, if you’re using a traditional accounting system – like most all hospitals today that use the fictional “average wholesale cost” method – you won’t know a thing about your medical practice or clinic activity costs. Hence, again like most all hospitals, fees become simply vacuous.

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Understanding Medical Cost Accounting

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A Subset of Managerial Accounting

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA

By ME-P Staff Reporters

Managerial and medical cost accounting is not governed by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as promoted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for CPAs. Rather, a healthcare organization costing expert may be a Certified Cost Accountant (CCA) or Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) designated by the Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB), an independent board within the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).

The Cost Accounting Standards Board

CASB consists of five members, including the OFPP Administrator who serves as chairman and four members with experience in government contract cost accounting (two from the federal government, one from industry, and one from the accounting profession). The Board has the exclusive authority to make, promulgate, and amend cost accounting standards and interpretations designed to achieve uniformity and consistency in the cost accounting practices governing the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to contracts with the United States.

Codified at 48 CFR

CASB’s regulations are codified at 48 CFR, Chapter 99.  The standards are mandatory for use by all executive agencies and by contractors and subcontractors in estimating, accumulating, and reporting costs in connection with pricing and administration of, and settlement of disputes concerning, all negotiated prime contract and subcontract procurement with the United States in excess of $500,000. The rules and regulations of the CASB appear in the federal acquisition regulations.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes are used to categorize data for the federal government.  In acquisition they are particularly critical for size standards.  The NAICS codes are revised every five years by the Census Bureau.  As of October 1, 2007, the federal acquisition community began using the 2007 version of the NAICS codes at www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html

Cost Accounting Standards

Healthcare organizations and consultants are obligated to comply with the following cost accounting standards (CAS) promulgated by federal agencies:

  • CAS 501 requires consistency in estimating, accumulating, and reporting costs.
  • CAS 502 requires consistency in allocating costs incurred for the same purpose.
  • CAS 505 requires proper treatment of unallowable costs.
  • CAS 506 requires consistency in the periods used for cost accounting.

The requirements of these standards are different from those of traditional financial accounting, which are concerned with providing static historical information to creditors, shareholders, and those outside the public or private healthcare organization.

AssessmentTwo Doctors

Functionally, most healthcare organizations also contain cost centers, which have no revenue budgets or mission to earn revenues for the organization.  Examples include human resources, administration, housekeeping, nursing, and the like.  These are known as responsibility centers with budgeting constraints but no earnings.  Furthermore, shadow cost centers include certain non-cash or cash expenses, such as amortization, depreciation and utilities, and rent. These non-centralized shadow centers are cost allocated for budgeting purposes and must be treated as costs http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

MORE:  CASE MODEL EOQ 1

Conclusion

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Take the DME Inventory Switching Challenge!

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 Calling all Administrators and Management Consultants – Are You CMP™ Worthy?

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The new administrator for the ABC Medical Clinic understood that all inventory costing methods were acceptable to use in his Durable Medical Equipment [DME] department. LIFO, FIFO, specific identification, and the average cost method are all attractive methods under different circumstances in the business cycle, and companies may use the method that best fits their circumstances.

Reducing Taxes

For example, if ABC wished to reduce corporate income taxes in a period of inflation and rising prices, it would use LIFO. If matching DME sales revenue with the current cost of DME goods sold was desired, LIFO would also be used. Unfortunately, LIFO may charge against DME revenue the cost of DME not actually sold, and LIFO may allow the ABC Medical Clinic to manipulate net income by varying the time-periods it makes additional DME purchases. On the other hand, FIFO and specific identification method allows a more precise matching of ABC revenue with historic DME costs. However, FIFO too, can promote “paperless-phantom profits,” while specific identification can promote possible income manipulation.  It is only under FIFO that net income manipulation is not possible.

CEO – 2 – CFO [Case Model]

“Let’s go with FIFO,” the new administrator said to his Chief Financial Officer, Bert. “The profits will make us look good to the home office and we can always switch back to LIFO if inflation starts back-up again, right Bert?” He mused, but he was not amused because freedom of choice does not include changing DME inventory methods every few years, especially if only to report higher income. “The switching of methods violates the basic tenet of consistency, which requires the use of the same inventory cost and accounting methods in preparing financial reports and statements,” Bert emphatically stated.

Key Issues

1) Is this sort of inventory costing and maneuvering permissible?

2) What is its justification?

3) How is it notated in financial reports?

4) Is this sort of thing ethical?

Assessment

“The switching of methods violates the basic tenet of consistency, which requires the use of the same inventory cost and accounting methods in preparing financial reports and statements,” Bert emphatically stated.

Conclusion

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Medical Inventory Management Methodologies

Understanding Traditional Costing Methods

By David J. Piasecki, with
Hope Rachel Hetico; RN MHA, CMP™cmp-logo1

A good inventory management system offers opportunities for improved efficiency in any healthcare organization. The following traditional methods of inventory cost accounting and management are useful when one is calculating the cost of supplies (as opposed to medical items for resale and DME).

a. LIFO

The last-in first-out (LIFO) inventory costing method means the last items purchased are the first to be used (at least for cost calculations if the inventory consists of identical units). In times of rising prices, a lower total cost inventory is produced with a higher cost of goods sold. The last items purchased are most often the most expensive, and used first for the calculation. This happens because LIFO increases an expense (cost of goods sold) and decreases taxable income. Given the same revenue, higher expenses mean less profit. Deflation has the opposite effect.

b. FIFO

The first-in first-out (FIFO) inventory costing method means the first items purchased are the first to be used (at least for cost calculations if the inventory consists of identical units). In times of rising prices, a higher total cost inventory is produced with a lower cost of goods sold. This happens because FIFO decreases an expense (cost of goods sold) and increases taxable income. Deflation has the opposite effect.

Note: Any switch from FIFO to LIFO does not change reality, and although a decrease in reported incomes occurs, it does not increase cash outflows. However, for a taxable healthcare entity, after-tax net cash flow does increase.

c. Specific Identification

Specific identification is used for larger pieces of equipment, as it traces actual costs to an identifiable unit of product and is usually applied with an identification tag, serial plate, or radio frequency identification device (RFID) scanner. It does not involve flow-of-cost analysis. It does, however, permit the manipulation of income because healthcare entities state their cost of goods sold, and ending inventory, at the actual cost of specific units sold.

d. Average Cost

Average costing calculates ending inventory using a weighted average unit cost. When prices are rising, cost of good sold is less than under LIFO, but more than that under FIFO, and hence income manipulation is also possible.

e. Just-in-time Management

Although technically not a costing technique, JIT inventory management means that inventory supplies like DME are delivered as soon as needed by the healthcare organization, the prescribing doctor, or the patient. In JIT, inventory is “pulled” through the flow process. This is contrasted to the “push” approach used by conventional IM. In the push system, DME is already on-site, with little regard to when it is actually needed. In the JIT “pull” system, the overriding concern is to keep a minimum cost inventory, so that means having a system in which inventory is obtained on an as-needed basis.

The key elements of JIT consist of six parts:

1. a few dependable vendors or suppliers willing to ship with little advance notice;

2. total sharing of demand information throughout the supply chain;

3. more frequent orders;

4. smaller size of individual orders;

5. improved physical plant (hospital or clinic) layout to reduce travel flow distance; and

6. use of a total quality control system to reduce flawed medical products.

Using the JIT method, inventory is delivered when needed, rather than in advance, saving handling and storage costs. The healthcare entity never needs to stockpile inventory, and cash flow is enhanced. JIT is further characterized as follows:

  • little or no work orders;
  • little or no tracing of materials;
  • fewer inventory accounts or accounts payables;
  • reduction or elimination of work-in-progress or handling activities; and
  • no tracing of overhead and direct labor costs

JIT requires a dependable working relationship with suppliers and the precise calculation of inventory needs, especially for the following:

  • sterile surgical packs;
  • gastro-intestinal and gastro-urinary instrumentation;
  • orthopedic and OB-GYN inventory;
  • invasive heart and lung equipment;
  • radio isotopes and trace radiographic materials; and
  • equipment for almost all pre-schedule medical interventions and procedures.

Assessment

This means that, when JIT inventory monitoring is used, healthcare managers are better prepared with the proper inputs to control and reduce inventory, including when dramatic bursts or declines occur. This means a more rapid and higher cash flow balance, rather than inventory balance. Each of these traditional methods of inventory cost accounting is adequate for most healthcare facilities, but as inventory orders and costs continue to increase, economic order quantity [EOQ] costing may be the most effective means of accounting for inventory in DME-intensive organizations.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Can you think of any other inventory management technologies?  Tell us what you think. 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 Inventory Supplies and Management

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Understanding Traditional D.M.E. and Turn-Over Rates

[By Staff Reporters]

Healthcare inventory represents tangible medical items used in the delivery of healthcare services, or for patient use and resale, or durable medical equipment [DME]. A certain quantity of safety stock should always be available. Inventory ranges from normal administrative office supplies to highly specialized chemicals and reagents used in the clinical laboratory.

Capital Supplies

Inventory should be distinguished from capital supplies, such as major equipment, instruments, and other items that are not used up faster than inventory or related inventory wastes.

Understanding Inventory Turnover

Historically, asset utilization ratios provided information on how effectively the enterprise used its inventory assets to produce revenues, or deplete its cash. For example, the inventory turnover ratio (ITR) determines the total volume of inventory turnover (change) during a pre-determined accounting period (month or quarter). It is defined as cost of inventory purchased for the period, divided by average inventory (AI) at cost.

Supply Chain Management

Dunn and Bradstreet, the supply chain management and consulting company; does not provide exact comparatives for private healthcare ITR. Nonetheless, ITR is useful as an internal performance indicator of inventory turnover speed and cash flow enhancement. Currently however, for public hospitals, 60 – 75 days is estimated to be the average time for inventory turnover.

Assessment

The main problem with traditional ITR, similar analyses such as AI, and the usual inventory costing methods (e.g., last-in first-out, first-in first-out, specific identification, average costs), and even just-in-time inventory costing, is that they do not embrace supply chain inventory management models. This occurs because sources of profit or loss are not recognized in the traditional inventory cost accounting equation:

Cost of goods sold = beginning inventory + net purchases – ending inventory. 

Conclusion

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Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies]

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Assessment

Rest assured, Healthcare Organizations: [Financial Management Strategies] will become an important peer-reviewed vehicle for the advancement of working knowledge and the dissemination of research information and best practices in our field. In the years ahead, we trust these principles will enhance utility and add value to your subscription. Most importantly, we hope to increase your return on investment [ROI] by some small increment.

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Healthcare Inventory Management

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Understanding Medical Inventory Cost Accounting

[By DavidJ. Piasecki; CPIM]

[By Hope Hetico; RN, MHA]

Prof. Hetico

Inventory cost accounting methods are seldom used by medical practitioners. After all, doctors and healthcare organizations provide a service, and generally do not sell things. However, inventory is playing an increasingly important role in the financial viability of procedurally based medical practitioners, clinics, and hospitals.

Durable Medical Equipment

This occurs because hospitals and these healthcare entities maintain, dispense, and use durable medical equipment (DME) more abundantly than ever before. Voice systems, RFID, OCR, pick-to-light and laser scanners, CCD scanners, hand-held batch and RF terminals, vehicle-mounted computers, and wearable computers are now all part of the modern healthcare system inventory data-collection and management picture.

A Decade Old Challenge

Ironically, the financial challenge of hospital inventory management was first articulated in the Efficient Healthcare Consumer Response Report (EHCR) in 1996. The report identified $11.6 billion of cost saving opportunities in the American healthcare system directly due to inefficient product movement and ineffective inventory control and materials management. Now, more than ten years later, this situation has only grown worse. As material costs have increased, our overburdened health system cannot afford such inefficiency.

For example, DME stock-out emergencies are real and costly. And, inventory models such as economic order quantity (EOQ) costing have been in existence long before modern data capture inventory costing methods, just-in-time (JIT) inventory controls, total quality management protocols, and the other supply chain inventory management (SCIM) initiatives often used to prevent them.

Medical Supply Chain Inventory Management

Medical SCIM is a method of accounting that takes into consideration raw materials, the construction of useful products, and the distribution of those products. Physician proceduralists, medical dispensers, and hospitals must understand SCIM, because a healthcare entity’s profitability will suffer if it has too much, or too little DME inventory on hand. DME can be both a cost center or revenue driver, depending on its management.

Perpetual Inventory Management

A perpetual [periodic inventory] costing method is the traditional way to account for DME usage. With periodic costing, the cost of inventory is determined once, at the end of the period. With a perpetual costing inventory, a new unit price is recalculated with each order.

EOQ Methods

How can the healthcare entity determine the proper DME inventory level? One uncommonly used, but increasingly important, approach is the EOQ method. Some astute clinic and hospital administrators are just now using EOQ to manage their DME inventory. They are increasing their financial benefits by determining the most cost effective answers to the questions: 

· How much inventory should I order?

· When should I order the inventory?

· How can I increase efficiency and reduce channel costs?  

Assessment

In other words, how can a hospital or healthcare organization optimize inventory levels, reduce expenses, and still improve patient care and safety?

Conclusion

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