More on Medical Practice Business Costs for Entrepreneurial Physicians

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.

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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.

Example:

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.

Collections

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.

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http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

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SSNs

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.

Assessment

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.

Conclusion

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Primary Care Provider – Eliminating the Term

Eliminating the Term Primary Care “Provider”

Consequences of Language for the Future of Primary Care

By Allan H. Goroll, MD

LINK:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2506307

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Some Vital Survival Tools for Physicians and their Consulting Advisors

OUR BOOKS, TEXTS AND DICTIONARIES ARE VITAL SURVIVAL TOOLS FOR ALL PHYSICIANS … AND THEIR CONSULTING ADVISORS 

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A Brief History of the ME-P

Enhancing Health 2.0 Connectivity for Physicians and their Financial Advisors

By Staff Reporters

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The Medical Executive-Post [ME-P] was launched in 2006, and was a resounding success. We first went online in October 2006 with an overwhelmingly positive response. Readers and subscribers alike reported finding it a credible source of information with more than half saying the information was far new to them. Our parent company remains: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Our Research

In additional, our internal research revealed:

  • 85% of those surveyed considered practice-related, non-clinical information very important to them.
  • 82% heavily favored solutions and essays to specific needs versus general editorial content.
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On American Health Care and Financial Services Competitiveness

A MEMORIAL DAY OPINION – EDITORIAL

[Innovation – Not Nationalization – Can Again Lead]

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA, CPHQ, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CPHQ, CMP™

[Managing Editor]

Ann Miller; RN, MHA

[Executive-Director]

American Flag

On this 2010 Memorial Day weekend, please allow us to directly reflect for a moment on the decline of the healthcare, banking and financial services industry in America. And; then somewhat indirectly comment on the hopeful emergence of the web 2.0 phenomena of which we all are a part. The competitive applicability to these sectors should be appreciated by the insightful ME-P reader.

Collapse of Command and Control Monopolies and Oligarchies   

Old monopolies everywhere are crumbling because of tougher new competitors and the transparency wrought by electronic connectedness. For example, our old newspaper has to compete with the internet, your electric utility company battles low-cost local start-ups, telephone companies must begin installing fiber optic lines to fend off cable companies; and RIAs and fiduciary focused financial advisors [FAs] will supplant BDs and stock brokers in the financial services sector.

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The airline industry collapsed a few years ago, the banking industry has just collapsed, and the auto industry is recovering as we pen this post. [We have a particular affinity for the auto sector however, as the son of a UAW member and step-daughter of Michiganders]. Regardless, the rush to more intense competition cannot be stopped. As a doctor, FA or other business competitor; you either keep pace or get crushed by quasi-oligarchic organizations like the American Medical Association [AMA], American Podiatric Medical Association [FPMA], American Dental Association [ADA], American Osteopathic Medical Association AOMA], Financial Planning Association [FPA], Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards [CFP BoS], College for Financial Planning [CFP] or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors [NAPFA], etc. What have they, and Wall Street, done for you … lately? Scandal, taint, doubt, lost-credibility, a business-as-usual ennui, lethargy and ruin! Enter www.Sermo.com

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/calling-for-cfp%c2%ae-fiduciary-status-real-education-and-higher-duty/#comment-4136

Health Insurance Companies

In the last-generation of health insurance companies and related fraternal medical organizations, patients exercised great control over physician selection, had quicker access to specialists and encountered fewer restrictions on care. The reverse was true with financial services. But, because of advancing technology, aging demographics, intense R&D, global manufacturing, and escalating domestic HR costs – competitive market forces against traditional and structured staff model managed care companies – many industry analysts [like us] predicted growth would decline [Yes, greed was also involved as healthcare was presumed a recession-proof sector; and didn’t we all own behemoth big-pharma and HMO stocks in our 401-K, and 403-B plans]? But now, many former stock-brokers and FAs are going rogue; er – independent!

“Although inefficiencies in any business often open up in the short term, and can be greatly exploited by creative and visionary entrepreneurs – as in most business structures – market forces will prevail in the long run”.

Leo F. Mullin, MBA

[Former CEO – Delta Airlines]Shadows

Next-Gen with “Fly”

Fortunately, a new generation of enlightened physician and FA entrepreneurs is coming “out-of-the-shadows” as new-wave web 2.0 corporations and RIAs are becoming more flexible, competitive and market responsive. Simultaneously, monolithic and collectivist political ideas keep trying to regulate the medical and financial services workplace with rules, regulations and contracts to control entire populations. Yet, in the new healthcare economy, this new generation of doctors and FAs with “fly,” is headed toward more competition; not less – with more collaboration with patients and clients – regaining self autonomy.

Physician and FA Advocates

Meanwhile, as medical professionals, FAs and patient advocates, we must all choose between staying flexible to ride out tough times – or – adopting a hard, brittle line that will crack under the pressure of competition. We know where we stand at the ME-P, do you?

Flexibility and Virtual Reality

In recent years, many large corporations and top-down business models were not market responsive and change was not inherent in their DNA. These traditional organizations represented a rigid or “used-to-be” mentality, not a flexible or “wanna-be” mindset; according to business columnist Alan Webber. Some financial advisory corporations, and today’s emerging health 2.0 initiatives, may possess the market nimbleness that cannot be recreated in a controlled or collectivist [nationalistic] environment. And so, going forward, it is not difficult to imagine the following new rules for the new financial and virtual medical ecosystem.

[A] Rule No. 1

Forget about “SEC suitability and FINRA rules”, large office suites, surgery centers, fancy equipment, larger hospitals and the bricks and mortar that comprised traditional medical practices or financial product delivery systems. One doctor or niche focused FA with a great idea, good bedside manners or competitive advantage, can outfox a slew of public servants, the AMA, SEC, ADA or FINRA “faux copy-cat examiners”, while still serving the public – and patients – and making money. It’s now a unit-of-one economy where “Me Inc.”, is the standard. Physicians and FAs must maneuver for advantages that boost their standing and credibility among patients, peers, payers, customers and clients. Examples include patient satisfaction surveys; outcomes research analysis, evidence-based-medicine, physician economics credentialing and true integrated fiduciary-focused financial planning.

However, we should also realize the power of networking, vertical integration and the establishment of virtual RIAs or medical practices, which come together to treat a patient, or help a client, and then disband when a successful outcome is achieved. Job security is earned with more successful outcomes; not necessarily a degree, automatic AUMs, certifications or onsite presence. In fact, some competition experts, like Shirley Svorny PhD, a professor of economics and chair of the Department of Economics at California State University, wonder if a medical degree is a barrier – rather than enabler – of affordable healthcare.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/medical-licensing-obstacle-to-affordable-quality-care

Others even presume the establishment of virtual medical schools and hospitals, where students and doctors learn and practice their art on cyber-entities that look and feel like real patients, but are generated electronically through the wonders of virtual reality units. The same can be said for the financial services industry, although much farther down-line given its current slow rate of real education and quasi-professional acceptance.

[B] Rule No. 2

Challenge conventional wisdom, think outside the traditional box, recapture your dreams and ambitions, disregard conventional gurus and work harder than you have ever worked before. Remember the old saying, “if everyone is thinking alike, then nobody is thinking”. Do collective-nistas and nationalized healthcare advocates react rationally; or irrationally? [THINK: Wall Street, medical unions]

[C] Rule No 3

Differentiate yourself among your healthcare and financial advisory peers. Do or learn something new and unknown by your competitors. Market your accomplishments and let the world know. Be a non-conformist. Conformity is an operational standard and a straitjacket on creativity. Doctors and FAs should create and innovate, not blindly follow organization or political “union” leaders [shop stewards, BDs, etc] into oblivion.

[D] Rule No 4

Realize that the present situation is not necessarily the future. Attempt to see the future and discern your place in it. Master the art of the quick change with fast but informed decision making. Do what you love, disregard what you don’t, and let the fates have their way with you. Then, decide for yourself if you are of this ilk – and adhere to any of the above rules? Or, just become an employed [government, BD] doctor or FA shill. Just remember that the political party, or monopoly that can give you a job, can also take it away [THINK: LB, ML, Wachovia, national healthcare, etc].

CP 1

Memorial Day Considerations

Finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, consider that life and career is a journey, and that in this country we have the choice to ponder or pursue any, and all of the above options, and more. We have the ability to think, cogitate and ruminate, as we have done here today. So – please – thank those who have helped turn this idealistic philosophy, into pragmatic daily reality.

For us personally, we thank Bonze Star Medal Winner Captain Cecelia T. Perez, RN. Now – ponder and consider – who do you thank? If no one has impacted you up-close on this Memorial Day weekend and national holiday, please visit our military channel to reflect, comment and opine.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/category/military-medicine

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. 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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First Annual iMBA, Inc Educational Cruise

Meet, Greet, Lunch and Learn from the Experts

By Ann Miller; RN, MHA

[Executive-Director]

CruiseSome time ago, a CPA, CFP® and fellow Certified Medical Planner™ suggested that we hold annual meetings, or education seminars, for all our colleagues. As a nascent organization at the time, this was considered a “pipe dream.” But, it may now become a reality depending on your response. All interested stakeholders are invited. 

 

The Cruise

Currently, we are soliciting interest in a – Princess – Caribbean cruise [Southern] for 2010. This would afford us the opportunity to meet  you on both a formal or informal basis. Educational and other activities would then be scheduled,  as-needed or requested. Departure from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. All info subject to change without notice, at this time.

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For example, activities could be arranged for CMP™ program credits in health economics and medical management; or simply on an ad-hoc [audit] informational basis. We will also attempt to individualize and accommodate personal situations and professional needs. 

Seeking Interest and Input

And so, your thoughts, ideas and comments on this Medical Executive-Post cruise idea and opportunity are appreciated. Please email me your ideas; or contact us for more information with details. Serious inquiries only:

MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Seeking Sponsors

Ship Solstice

We are also seeking sponsors for this cruise, and other iMBA corporate engagements.

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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 Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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Dictionary of Health Insurance and Managed Care

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Whither the Dictionary of Health Insurance and Managed Care?

HDS

A simple query that demands a cogent answer!

Why do we need the Dictionary of Health Insurance and Managed Care, and, why do payers, providers, benefits managers, consultants, and consumers need a credible and unbiased source of explanations for their health insurance needs and managed care products?

The Answer is Clear!

Health care is the most rapidly changing domestic industry. The revolution occurring in health insurance and managed care delivery is particularly fast. Some might even suggest these machinations were malignant, as many industry segments, professionals, and patients suffer because of them. And so, because knowledge is power in times of great flux, codified information protects all people from physical, as well as economic harm.

We appreciate the support of our sponsors. So, click-on on the links and review all dictionary products.

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Sponsors Welcomed

And, credible sponsors and like-minded advertisers are always welcomed.

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Setting Up a Medical Practice Web Site

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Establishing Healthcare Presence on the Internet

[By Carol S. Miller; RN, MBA]

Carol S. MillerMany physician practices are interested in creating their own Web sites to provide information about their practice to patients, the community, peers and other individuals; market their practice specialty; provide ease of access to medical inquiries or scheduling appointments; and provide links to other health-related sites. 

There are “easy-step” programs available in the marketplace, such as the IBM home page.  Web sites, like www.webdeveloper.com can assist your practice with a tutorial and step-by-step process in creating and developing an initial site. 

Templates

Many programs include already established page templates. As part of the process, the Web site can be connected to an online service provider; however, many practices have considered using a Web-hosting company, such as www.hostdepot.com.   With this process, the practice will create its own domain name, the name given to a host computer on the Internet.  With this name in place, it will be easier for your patients to remember, easier to provide linkages to other sites, and you won’t have to change your Web site’s URL (Uniform Resource Locator or Web address) each time you move your Web site.

Starting Point

A good place to start is www.budgetweb.com or www.e-businessexpress.com.   Other reference sites are www.microsoft.com/frontpage, www.register.com to register and renew domain names, and www.verizon.net.  As an example of cost for Verizon, there is a set up fee of $50-$100 for setting up the web site, a monthly service fee from $30-$100 depends on the options selected and web design fees vary by page or hours and from several hundred dollars to over $1000.

Assessment

If the medical practice is interested in developing a more sophisticated end product, it is recommended that a Web-page designer work with the practice to design a Web site conducive to your expectations.

Conclusion

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.

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More about Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies]

Our Print-Journal Preface

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™hetico1

As Managing Editor of a two volume – 1,200 pages – premium quarterly print journal, I am often asked about our Preface.

A Two-Volume Guide

As so, our hope is that Healthcare Organizations: [Financial Management Strategies] will shape the hospital management landscape by following three important principles.

What it is – How it works

1. First, we have assembled a world-class editorial advisory board and independent team of contributors and asked them to draw on their experience in economic thought leadership and managerial decision making in the healthcare industrial complex. Like many readers, each struggles mightily with the decreasing revenues, increasing costs, and high consumer expectations in today’s competitive healthcare marketplace. Yet, their practical experience and applied operating vision is a source of objective information, informed opinion, and crucial information for this manual and its quarterly updates.

2. Second, our writing style allows us to condense a great deal of information into each quarterly issue.  We integrate prose, applications and regulatory perspectives with real-world case models, as well as charts, tables, diagrams, sample contracts, and checklists.  The result is a comprehensive oeuvre of financial management and operation strategies, vital to all healthcare facility administrators, comptrollers, physician-executives, and consulting business advisors.

3. Third, as editors, we prefer engaged readers who demand compelling content. According to conventional wisdom, printed manuals like this one should be a relic of the past, from an era before instant messaging and high-speed connectivity. Our experience shows just the opposite.  Applied healthcare economics and management literature has grown exponentially in the past decade and the plethora of Internet information makes updates that sort through the clutter and provide strategic analysis all the more valuable. Oh, it should provide some personality and wit, too! Don’t forget, beneath the spreadsheets, profit and loss statements, and financial models are patients, colleagues and investors who depend on you.ho-journal9

www.HealthcareFinancials.com

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] in some small increment.

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8 – 14th Street

Blaine, WA 98230

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TOC: http://www.stpub.com/pdfs/toc_ho.pdf

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post, complimentary e-companion are appreciated. If you would like to contribute material or suggest topics for a future update, please contact me. Subscribers, have we attained our goals and objectives, as a work-in-progress in this preface statement?

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Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

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About: Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies]

Our Print Mission Statement

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™]

Publisher-in-Chief

dem25As Editor-in-Chief of a two volume – 1,200 pages – premium quarterly print journal, I am often asked about our mission statement; or the journal’s raison d’etra.

A Two-Volume Guide

As so, Healthcare Organizations: [Financial Management Strategies], with its quarterly updates, will promote and integrate academic and applied research, and serve as a multi-disciplined communications forum for the dissemination of financial, managerial, business and related economic information to decision makers in hospitals, outpatient centers, clinics, medical practices and all mature and emerging healthcare organizations. 

Target Market and Ideal Reader

Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies] and its quarterly updates should be in the hands of all:

* CFOs, CEOs, COOs, CTOs, VPs and CIOs from every type of hospital and healthcare organization including: public, federal, state, Veteran’s Administration and Indian Health Services hospitals; district, rural, long-term care and community hospitals; specialty, children’s and rehabilitation hospitals; diagnostic imaging centers and laboratories; private, religious-sponsored, and psychiatric institutions.

*  Physician Hospital Organizations, Management Services Organizations (MSOs), Independent Practice Associations (IPAs), Group Practices Without Walls (GPWWs), Integrated Delivery Systems (IDSs) and their administrators, comptrollers, cost accountants, budget directors, cash managers, auditors, healthcare attorneys and consultants,  and actuaries, and all endowment fund directors, executives, consultants and strategic financial managers.

*  Ambulatory care centers, hospices, and outpatient clinics; skilled nursing facilities, integrated networks and group practices; academic medical centers, nurses and physician executives; business school and health administration students, and all economic decision-makers and directors of allopathic, dental, podiatric and osteopathic healthcare organizations.

Assessment

After publication, my suggestion is to read, study and act upon the guide in this way:

1. First, browse through the entire text.

2. Next, slowly read those chapters and sections that are of specific interest to your professional efforts.

3. Then, extrapolate portions that can be implemented in specific strategies helpful to your healthcare setting.

4. Finally, use its’ ME-P updates as a reference manual to return to time and time again; and enjoy!

Conclusion

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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Developing a Financial – Management – Advisory Practice for Doctors

Deep Knowledge and Personalized Marketing Brings in New Clients

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

BY Professor Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™

[ME-P Publisher and Managing Editordave-and-hope]

In any marketing situation, the more you know about your target audience, the more successful you will be. Accordingly, all of the old rules still hold true, such as “do your homework.” Unfortunately, for some financial advisors and management consultants, homework means researching broad (i.e., vague) demographic information such as zip codes, income, and age. This broadband approach to marketing is insufficient and unlikely to succeed. For example, SWOT analysis is best done in-house, while related medical marketing information can be obtained from the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc.

www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Focus like a Laser Beam

An absolute of communication is to focus on the person receiving your message. If you don’t know anything about the person, you can’t focus on what is important to him or her, and you end up placing too much emphasis on yourself. Your message then carries less weight and has less impact.

Defining Your Niche

Instead of approaching all people in a certain neighborhood or age group, look for people within professional subcategories—people who use their talents in a specific way. Primary care physicians, dentists, podiatrists and optometrists apply their talents differently than surgeons or pediatricians. And, private management consultants and entrepreneurs use their talents differently than large corporate managers.

Develop a Profile

Let’s look at the medical entrepreneur niche space. Perhaps you regularly work with such entrepreneurs who manufacture or deal in medical gadgets, Durable Medical Equipment [DME], healthcare IT devices, instruments etc., and would like to increase the number of clients you serve in this niche.biz-book

The Process

First, you need to develop a profile that gives you specific information about those who manufacture said medical widgets in your area (i.e., more than just their zip codes), bearing in mind of course, that the profile is a point of departure. The general profile is then divided into several subsets based upon their specialty sales-type, devices, locations, market size, gender, etc. Concentrate on developing niches in which you have existing clients. Next, consider the attitudes, values, and mental processes common to all of your clients within a given niche. Knowing (or at least being able to project) what those qualities are will make your marketing efforts more successful because you already are familiar with who they are, their values, and how they want to receive information.

Client Values

How do you find out what someone’s values are? Just watch the person work. Ask questions. What do you want? Why do you do that? What’s important to you? To what words and phrases do you relate? What words and phrases do you resent? What does your desk look like? How do you prefer to receive information? Do you prefer a structured or a more relaxed environment?

The Value of Profiles

Developing profiles of specific groups within any given niche helps you establish rapport with people who are not yet clients. Many marketers make their initial contact through a letter. That’s dangerous, unless you are able to establish rapport in the letter. If not, you have diminished your reputation and accomplished little.

Mirroring

If you understand the concept of mirroring, you know it is important to mimic the other person’s breathing, vocal tonality and body language. That works amazingly well in meetings or even during telephone conversations.

Beware Letters

However, you can’t mimic in a letter, so you have to mirror the other person’s mentality. You have to match his or her attitudes, values, and mental processes in your marketing. Again, to consider sending a marketing letter – without first developing a profile – may be a foolish gamble.

Assessment

In short, relationship niche marketing can work to increase your practice without diminishing your reputation.

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Enter the Certified Medical Planner™

For those fiduciaries interested in the medical management and the healthcare financial advisory deep-space, for doctors and medical professionals, please visit www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com for more information.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Despite the CFP imbroglio, how do you niche market, or attract physicians or other “high-value” clients, to your advisory practice? Do you possess any special deep-knowledge or “gravitational pull?” 

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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 Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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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

Your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Have you ever been in this situation? Feel free to opine anonymously.

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

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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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A Due-Diligence ‘Condom’ for Physician Investors

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Using Financial Advisors with Increased Safety

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™]dr-david-marcinko8

Following the Bernie Madoff investment scheme, and related financial industry scandals, here are seven “red-flags” that should have alerted physician-investors to proceed with extreme caution. Always consider them before making an investment with any financial advisor [FA], registered representative [RR] or financial advisory firm, regardless of reputation, size, referral recommendation or so-called industry certifications and designations. In other words, according to Robert James Cimasi; MHA, AVA, and a Certified Medical Planner™ from Health Capital Consultants LLC, of St. Louis, MO;” trust no one and paddle your own canoe.”

Red Flags of Cautious Investing

As a former insurance agent, financial advisor, registered representative, investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner™ for more than a decade, the existence of any one of the following items may be a “red-flag” of caution to any investor:

  • Acting as its’ own custodian, clearance firm or broker-dealer, etc.
  • Lack of a well-known accounting firm review with regular reporting.
  • Unreliable or sporadic written performance reports.
  • Rates-of-return that don’t seem to track industry benchmarks.
  • Seeming avoidance of regulatory oversight, transparency or review.
  • Lack of recognized written fiduciary accountability in favor of lower brokerage “sales suitability” standards.
  • No Investment Policy Statement [IPS]. 

Assessment

Let a word to the wise be sufficient going forward. But, in hindsight, a healthy dose of skepticism might have prevented this situation in the first place. As is the usual case, fear and greed often seem to rule the day. Just as there is no such thing as safe sex – just safer sex – there is no thing as safe intermediary investing. But, exercising some common sense will surely make investing with any financial advisor much safer. It’s like a condom for your money. 

For more information on the topic of fiduciary standards – which we have championed for the last ten years in our books, texts, white-papers, journal and online educational Certified Medical Planner™ program for FAs – watch out for our exclusive Medical Executive-Post interview with Bennett Aikin AIF®, Communications Coordinator of www.fi360.com coming in March. Ben, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® did a great job with the tough questions submitted by our own Ann Miller; RN, MHA and Hope Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™. Don’t miss it!

Disclaimer

I am the Managing Partner for http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org and I agree with this message.

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

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