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    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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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.

Assessment

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

Conclusion

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Physician’s Acquiring Real-Estate

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Innovative Funding in Difficult Times

[Staff Reporters]mortgaged-house

Real estate can be acquired by physician-investors, even in these difficult times, in many different ways. For example, through direct purchase, participation in a real estate partnership vehicle with other investors [such as general partnerships, limited partnerships, various corporate entities, and, in most states, limited liability companies (LLCs), and investments in real estate securities such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Section 1031

Real estate also can be acquired through tax-deferred exchanges under Section 1031 of the IRS Code, in which a client “trades” one investment property for another, deferring the taxes due on the sale of the exchanged property. This allows the doctor to reinvest “pre-tax” dollars in another real estate investment, potentially benefiting from appreciation on the larger investment. The physician may also exchange one larger property into two or several smaller properties and pay tax consequences on each one as those properties are sold as cash is needed.

Tax and Risk Management

The way a physician takes ownership of real estate will affect the tax treatment of income and profit. For example, having an LLC-owned investment property will provide him/her with the same protection from individual liability as a corporation, while allowing him/her to have much more favorable tax treatment. Real estate can be bought directly by purchasing it in the following manners:

1. Paying cash,

2. Paying a cash down payment and acquiring a loan,

3. Paying cash to the seller who is financing, or

4. Financing the purchase by using either new real estate financing, seller financing, or credit borrowing when a lender is willing to loan solely on the strength of, and the financial statement of, the borrower, or a combination of these.

Trading and Secured Loans

Real estate also can be acquired by trading other valuable assets, sometimes in combination with financing. A client can obtain interests in real estate by making loans on real estate assets that are secured by a deed of trust or a mortgage. Another method is to invest as a participating lender. In such an instance the borrower needs to agree to provide equity kickers or participation in cash flow whereby the lender (doctor) can benefit directly from the real estate performance.fp-book21

Equity Participation Plans

With an equity participation, the physician-investor can profit or gain from the sale of the property, sometimes in a preferential manner (i.e., the money the doctor loaned is returned, with interest, and a predetermined percentage or portion of the gain is given to the owner/borrower before distribution of the sales proceeds). Similarly, the doctor can participate in annual cash flow, giving a fixed or a fluctuating amount depending on the performance of the investment. As a lender, many of the benefits of ownership of real estate are not available to the MD, but the doctor should have a security interest in the property and no direct responsibility for operation of the real estate investment. Also, if possible, the borrower should provide additional guarantees of performance. The borrower could do this by providing additional security, such as the deeds of trust on the borrower’s house, other real-estate, and the acquired property; bank letters of credit; or guarantees of performance from people other than the party to whom the money is originally loaned.archway

Assessment

If a physician-investor is considering acquiring or lending on real estate, s/he should check with his professional advisors, including accountants and attorneys, before proceeding. The doctor’s attorney should review any contracts or agreements before the client signs anything. The physician also will need a due diligence review to ascertain both the relative values of the real estate on which money is being loaned and the borrower’s track record and background.

Conclusion

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Debt Consolidation for Physicians

Advantages and Disadvantages

By Staff Reportersfp-book5

The main advantage of debt consolidation is that it allows a doctor to make one payment instead of many, and this helps avoid late fees for missed payments. The doctor may save time by having to make only one payment per month instead of many.

Other Advantages

Another advantage is that debt consolidation promotes self-discipline by transferring credit card debt (and other lines of credit) that does not require mandatory principal payments into a fixed-term loan – with mandatory payments that include both principal and interest. This is a useful tool for doctors who may find it difficult to make more than the minimum payments on their loans because they spend too much. It should be obvious that budgeting should go hand-in-hand with this process, because if the doctor continues to spend at the former level, yet now has a mandatory payment, the result can be financially devastating.

A final advantage to debt consolidation is it may result in a lower overall interest rate. This is, of course, conditional on the lender providing the consolidation.

Disadvantages

One disadvantage of debt consolidation is that it can lock a doctor into mandatory payments. Depending on the situation, this can be either a blessing or a curse. It becomes a curse when the fixed payments are so high that he/she can no longer make the full debt payments each month. Depending on the lender, and the terms of the consolidation loan, this could result in the loan being called. The effects of this are obviously detrimental to the doctor.

Other Disadvantages

A second disadvantage is that the doctor loses flexibility when he or she takes on a fixed payment that is larger than the combination of all smaller minimum payments. The fixed-payment schedule becomes detrimental when h/she has an unexpected reduction in income. The doctor without a fixed-payment schedule can increase payments to many small individual loans, and if income reduction occurs, drop the payments back down to the lower level. Then; when normal levels of income return, the higher payments can be resumed.insurance-book2

Assessment

Making larger payments requires discipline; because a lack of same was likely causative of the debt in the first place.

Conclusion

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