Understanding Medical Cost Accounting

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A Subset of Managerial Accounting

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP®

By ME-P Staff Reporters

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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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What is Medical Practice FINANCIAL RATIO ANALYSIS?

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BY DR. DAVID E. MARCINKO MBA CMP®

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Financial ratio analysis typically involves the calculation of ratios that are financial and operational measures representative of the financial status of a clinic or medical practice enterprise.  These ratios are evaluated in terms of their relative comparison to generally established industry norms, which may be expressed as positive or negative trends for that industry sector. The ratios selected may function as several different measures of operating performance or financial condition of the subject entity.

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Common types of financial indicators that are measured by ratio analysis include:

  • Liquidity. Liquidity ratios measure the ability of an organization to meet cash obligations as they become due, i.e., to support operational goals. Ratios above the industry mean generally indicate that the organization is in an advantageous position to better support immediate goals.  The current ratio, which quantifies the relationship between assets and liabilities, is an indicator of an organization’s ability to meet short-term obligations.  Managers use this measure to determine how quickly assets are converted into cash.
  • Activity. Activity ratios, also called efficiency ratios, indicate how efficiently the organization utilizes its resources or assets, including cash, accounts receivable, salaries, inventory, property, plant, and equipment.  Lower ratios may indicate an inefficient use of those assets.
  • Leverage. Leverage ratios, measured as the ratio of long-term debt to net fixed assets, are used to illustrate the proportion of funds, or capital, provided by shareholders (owners) and creditors to aid analysts in assessing the appropriateness of an organization’s current level of debt.  When this ratio falls equal to or below the industry norm, the organization is typically not considered to be at significant risk.
  • Profitability. Indicates the overall net effect of managerial efficiency of the enterprise. To determine the profitability of the enterprise for benchmarking purposes, the analyst should first review and make adjustments to the owner(s) compensation, if appropriate.  Adjustments for the market value of the “replacement cost” of the professional services provided by the owner are particularly important in the valuation of professional medical practices for the purpose of arriving at an ”economic level” of profit.

The selection of financial ratios for analysis and comparison to the organization’s performance requires careful attention to the homogeneity of data. Benchmarking of intra-organizational data (i.e., internal benchmarking) typically proves to be less variable across several different measurement periods.

However, the use of data from external facilities for comparison may introduce variation in measurement methodology and procedure. In the latter case, use of a standard chart of accounts for the organization or recasting the organization’s data to a standard format can effectively facilitate an appropriate comparison of the organization’s operating performance and financial status data to survey results.

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