PODCAST: Healthcare Stocks, Investing & IPOs?

By Eric Bricker MD

Healthcare Stock and IPO Investing Can Be Confusing. The Story of Privia Health is a Good Case Study in Understanding the Underlying Economics in Healthcare Investing:

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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PODCAST: Private Equity Partially Buying Medical Group Practices

OLDER DOCTORS SELLING OUT

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

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PODCAST: 70% Doctors Owned by Private Equity and Hospitals

THE BUSINESS OF MEDICINE

By Eric Bricker MD

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PODCAST: On the Corporate Practice of Medicine Laws

IS PRIVATE EQUITY BUYING DOCTORS ILLEGAL?

By Eric Bricker MD

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Study Finds COVID-19 Accelerated Physician Practice Acquisitions

Study Finds COVID-19 Accelerated Physician Practice Acquisitions

By Health Capital Consultants, LLC


A recent study from Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI), prepared by Avalere Health, associated the growing number of both physician practice acquisitions and employed physicians between 2019 and 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To study COVID-19’s impact on physician employment trends, the June 2021 study evaluated the IQVIA OneKey database that contains physician practice and health system ownership information.

HC Topics Banner Image

To assess these trends at a national and regional level, Avalere researchers studied the two-year period from January 1, 2019 to January 1, 2021. (Read more…)

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PODCAST: Private Equity Firms Are Making Partial Purchases of Physician Practices.

Older Doctors Sell Out to Private Equity

Private Equity Firms Are Making Partial Purchases of Physician Practices

BY ERIC BRICKER MD

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The Deals Are Frequently Structured as Follows:

–The Private Equity Firm Offers an Up Front Lump Sum of Money and Administrative Services Such as Billing and Collections for the Practice.

–In Return, the Doctors in the Practice Agree to Have 30-40% of All Future Revenue Go to the Private Equity Firm.

The Up Front Lump Sum Can Be Equal to as Much as 10 – 20 Years of Income for a Physician.

The Older Doctors in the Practice Who Are Usually the Partners Frequently Take This Deal, Resulting in the Younger Partners Making Less Take-Home Pay.

Implication for Employers:

Private Equity Firms Create Larger Group Practices to Have Better Negotiating Leverage with Commercial Insurance Carriers and Obtain Higher Fee-for-Service Reimbursement.

Overall Healthcare Costs for Physician Services Go Up, While the Take-Home Pay for Doctors Goes Down… and the Private Equity Firm Keeps the Difference.

NOTE: The Older Doctors Who Are Paid the Lump Sum Are Still Required to Stay at the Practice for a Certain Number of Years After the Transaction.

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Understanding Professional Medical Employer Organizations

Join Our Mailing List PROFESSIONAL Human Resources Options

By Eric Galtress

“In-house service and support activities are monopolies.  They have little incentive to improve productivity. In fact, they have considerable disincentive to improve their productivity. Clerical, maintenance and support work, do not make a direct and measurable contribution to the bottom line.”

       “Sell the Mailroom” by Peter F. Drucker

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Labor Law

Labor Law compliance begins with the hire of your very first employee, thus a well managed human resources (HR) function should be an area of strategic focus by the medical executive, regardless of practice size or the number of employees. Consideration of this vital role can help contribute to an efficient, highly effective and productive professional staff committed to the goals of the practice encompassing a positive and nurturing culture evident to your patients, while maintaining your competitive edge.

HR

Human Resources are the major expense driver of today’s medical practice and addresses staffing requirements, wages and other compensation, payroll and tax compliance, labor law compliance, employee benefits, training, employee turnover, safety, risk management and workers’ compensation. These responsibilities must be performed in accordance with State and Federal guidelines, beginning with the hire of your very first employee.

At specific employee level thresholds, employers are required to comply with a growing number of employee-related requirements including State and Federal Laws.  These laws govern the proper method of how employees must be treated and paid, as well as ensuring that their rights in the workplace are protected. State and Federal Regulators each create vast amounts of workplace legislation every year, many of which become law.

In most cases, the specific requirement (either State or Federal) that affords the employee the most workplace rights and/or protection and benefits takes precedence over the other.  Non-compliance can subject the practitioner/business owner to hefty fines, penalties, business interruption, litigation, and in some cases, even practice failure.

Moreover, these HR efforts are backed by labor attorneys, service providers, brokers and other consultants. Given the typical size of a medical practice, this presents a compelling argument that practices should consider taking advantage of an innovative alternative:  being able to delegate (outsource) part or most of the HR burden as well as the employee / employer related liabilities.

Outsourcing

Simply put, instead of the practitioner/staff performing the HR requirements, part or most of this responsibility can be outsourced to an off-site HR services provider that specializes in labor law compliance, employee management and cost control. The practitioner retains functional control of the employees and the service provider handles the HR issues.

Added value is achieved by the practice in receiving these services more cost effectively since their needs are combined with those of the many other practices and businesses the provider already serves. Outsourcing is a matter of simple economics, enabling the practitioner to gain relief from cumbersome employee administration, while enhancing productivity and benefits for the staff members.

The HR outsourcing relationship is not to be confused with a Physician Practice Management Company (PPMC).  The HR services provider has no financial interest or ownership whatsoever in the practice.

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DEFINITIONS

To have an outside firm take responsibility and much of the liability to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources because:

  1. They can do it cheaper and/or faster.
  2. They can do it better because of their expertise and experience.
  3. They have all of the required professional staff and/or facilities.
  4. They take all or part of the risk and the liability to do it right.
  5. They can expand their service offering commensurate with your growth needs
  6. They save you the time of doing it yourself or having one or more of your key staff members distracted from the priorities of the practice.
  7. They help safeguard against chaos should the key person handling HR suddenly leave
  8. They help maintain the high standards of the practice with regard to the employees and the workplace.
  9. Outsourcing can benefit all parties.

Human resource management

In general, HR management consists of the activities, responsibilities and issues of any practice/business, corporation, partnership or other business entity that comes as a result of having employees (IRS1099 independent contractors are not considered employees).

Some of these requirements are mandatory such as paying minimum wage and providing workers’ compensation insurance protection; other aspects and their related administrative functions can be at the discretion of the owner(s) of the practice or business such as sponsoring health benefits, retirement plans for their employees or paid vacation and sick time.

Employer POV

What follows is an overview of the HR requirements of being the employer. This includes a condensed view of employment and labor laws, government compliance issues, employee related costs and the alarming upsurge in employee litigation. The last poses a growing level of liability, vulnerability and distraction to today’s medical executive and practitioner/owner, second only to that of medical malpractice.

Assessment

As a result, many physicians without available HR expertise are finding it increasingly difficult to focus on growing their practices.

More:

Conclusion

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Appraising a Medical Practice

The “Art of the Deal” for Buyers and Sellers

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

Publisher-in-Chiefdem2

Are you considering selling your practice — or merging it with another? Thinking of buying? If you are, you’re hardly alone. Despite the decline of the big physician practice management companies [PPMCs] of the 1990s, the merger-and-acquisition market remains robust for small, private practices, as they respond to the continuing financial squeeze being placed on them, in 2009.

 

Read: http://www.humana.com/providers/NewsLetters/HumanaWeb1stQ07/articles/CoverStoryOne.html

Assessment

Humana’s YourPractice is a quarterly publication for office staff, physicians and other health care providers within the Humana network, and is produced by Corporate Communications in conjunction with “Physicians Practice”.

biz-book

Note: David Marcinko is also a writer for Physicians Practice 

Conclusion

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Understanding Modern Health Plan Delivery Models

By Defining Terms and Concepts

Staff Writers

www.HealthcareFinancials.comho-journal10

Here are four important health care delivery models that should be understood by all financial advisors, their clients, patients and the public:

1. PHYSICIAN ORGANIZATION (PO)

A PO is a group of physicians banding together, usually for the purpose of contracting with managed care entities, or to represent the physician component in a Physician Hospital Organization. The PO is a managed care contracting entity owned by and composed exclusively of physicians. The PO tends to be more tightly controlled in terms of members and adherence to treatment protocols than an Independent Physician Association. POs typically share information systems, claims-processing procedures, financial data, medical records, and other technical support functions.

2. PHYSICIAN PRACTICE MANAGEMENT CORPORATION (PPMC)

A firm that purchases physicians’ practices in exchange for a percentage of the gross receivables. The PPMC leases the office back to the doctor or employs the doctor on a salaried basis. The PPMC then contracts with the areas MCOs.

3. POINT OF SERVICE PLAN (POSP)

A type of managed care plan that allows members to choose whether to seek medical care within the plan’s network or seek medical care out of network at the point of service (i.e., at the time services are rendered). It allows members to pay little or nothing, if they stay within the established HMO delivery system. But, it also permits members to choose and receive services from an outside doctor, any time, if they are willing to pay higher co-payments, deductibles and possibly monthly premiums. It is also called an “open-ended” plan.

4. PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION (PPO)

A PPO is a select, approved panel of physicians, hospitals, and other providers who agree to accept a discounted fee schedule for patients and to follow utilization review and pre-authorization protocols for certain treatments. It is a system in which a payer negotiates lower prices with certain doctors and hospitals. Patients who go to a preferred provider get a higher benefit — for example, 90% or 100% coverage of their costs — than patients who go outside the network.

Assessmentdhimc-book20

Link: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated?

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Understanding HMO Negotiation Tactics

Tricks Often Used Against Doctors

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

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

[Publisher-in-Chief and Managing Editor]dave-and-hope6

It is well known that stakeholders of the healthcare industrial complex often have different, and divergent, interests. Intra-as well as inter-stakeholder competition occurs; as well.

The Friends-Enemies [“Frenemies”]

For example, several decades ago, the authors were often at odds at the payer negotiation table.

He was managing partner of a large private medical practice, ASC and later PPMC. First, she was the representative of a national DME vendor, healthcare system and later, private insurance payer.

The Tactics

The following trick negotiating tactics can be used to gain an advantage over your opponent, or they can be used against you to your disadvantage. The key is to recognize them immediately:

1. Deliberate deception with phony facts about contracts, providers, patients, venues, demographics, prices, utilization rates or services.  Some MCO’s may even offer a fee-for-service fee schedule as enticement into the plan. Then, fees are dramatically reduced once the initial enrollment period has elapsed.

2. Ambiguous authority regarding negotiating intentions or power. One the deal is done and a firm agreement has been made, the other side announces that they must take the agenda to a higher authority for final approval and another shot at your resistance. 

3. Avoid stressful personal situations before beginning the negotiating process. Don’t negotiate when sick, your personal life in shambles, your children or spouse is sick or when you feel too mentally exhausted or “psyched out”.

4. Personal attacks can be in the form of verbal abuse or simply loud talking, avoidance of eye contact or asking you to repeat yourself, endlessly. Extremely offensive to most physicians, and increasingly used today, is the phrase “remember doctor, you are an over supplied commodity”.  Now ask yourself, do you really want to be on a plan that doesn’t respect your profession?  

5. The “good guy-bad guy” routine is a psychological tactic where one partner appears to be hard nosed and the other appears more yielding. Small concessions result which, upon repetition, become larger in aggregate.

6. The “take it or leave it” tactic can be easily avoided by knowing your BANTA [Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement]. More formally, this is known as a unilateral contract of adhesion.

7. Escalating or increasing demands occur when the opponent increases his demands or reopens old demands. Call their bluff on this one by pointing it out to them and replying that you are aware of its use.

Assessment

Always remember, today’s enemy – may be tomorrow’s ally.

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Conclusion

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On Ingenix and Delta Dental

Or, Birds of a Feather; etc. etc

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

pruitt10

Introduction

Just a quick note while I’m working on other material. As anyone can see from reading Rabia Mughal’s DrBicuspid article, “Dentists or patients: Who should get the insurance check?” Delta Dental is simply a sleazy company that dentists should shun to protect their patients’ welfare.

http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=301436&wf=34

It is unethical to sign a contract with Delta Dental, and I will help Delta show you why. Here is a sample of Delta sleaze I intend to present:

Arlene Furlong on Delta Dental

On September 17, 2008, Arlene Furlong posted an article about Delta Dental on ADA News Online titled “Delta caps rates nationally for two networks.”

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3218

Furlong writes:

“A contract provision that holds dentists to Delta’s maximum allowed fee for non-covered services will affect all of Delta’s Premier and Preferred Provider Organization participating dentists throughout the country by January 2011.″.

The Upshot 

This means that if a Delta preferred provider wishes to make up for the profit lost from providing Delta customers 25% discounts on dentistry, which works out to over half the dentist’s pay after expenses are deducted, doing more cosmetic dentistry will no longer help keep the doors open.  Delta, like a sleazy dentistry broker, is telling its providers that it will demand discounts on everything for its customers. Think about it. It is beyond unfair business practice. It is tyranny.

Invading the Dental Homes 

And now, Mughal tells us that Delta Dental intends to break up dental homes – where patients enjoy the benefits of continuity of care from dentists they prefer.  Why does Delta harm their clients like that? 

Ari Adler, the communications administrator at Delta Dental of Indiana says it is a matter of dentists stealing something from the network:

“Direct reimbursement to out-of-network dentists is a problem because it allows them to enjoy the benefits provided by the network without following cost guidelines and quality control measures of the network”, [Adler] added.

Quality control; you mean like UnitedHealthcare’s Ingenix? 

When one thinks about it, since dentists will only be paid half of what they are paid today, no matter what they do for dental patients, quality control could indeed become a new issue, just like the appearance of black-market dentistry. 

My Beat 

I will be covering quality control by dental consultants soon. Did you know that they have their own national organization? It is called the American Association of Dental Consultants (AADC). I bet you didn’t know this: Less than a year ago, Dr. Gordon Christiansen as well as Dr. John Luther, Senior Vice-President of the ADA, spoke at their annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. Delta Dental was Dr. John Luther’s employer before he came to work for the ADA. Hmm, I wonder?

Wait, there’s more:  the AADC’s largest sustaining sponsor is UnitedHealthcare Dental. http://aadc.org/site/sponsors.php

The Ingenix Scandal

Have you heard of UnitedHealthcare’s company called Ingenix?  New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo caught Ingenix being creative with physicians’ FOIA-disclosable data for cost-control purposes (profit), and calling it quality control.  Ingenix was marketing its professional number-cooking scheme to insurers across the nation before Cuomo saw through their deceit and recently demanded Ingenix to be dissolved. 

Transparent Feudal Mechanisms 

One can see that incest probably worked well for royalty in Europe until literacy and the free-market brought transparency to their self-perpetuating feudal machinations. I will be watching for a name and email address of an appropriate Delta Dental official to contact about Delta’s sleazy business practices.  At some point in this thread (which I can keep active for years), I intend to make someone from Delta Internet-famous among dentists, just like Trajan King, CEO of Intelligent Dental Marketing. Suggestions from readers and subscribers are always appreciated.  Please, no in-laws.

Assessment 

It is time to come out and defend yourself in front of a hostile audience, you good ol’ boys from Delta Dental … or not.  Your old command-and-control tricks don’t stand a chance in a transparent marketplace, and I will show you that silence is lame defense as well. Someone on your team is trapped. Please, let’s talk sooner than later.

Conclusion

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RIA Merger Mania and the Medical PPMC Fiasco

What is Old is New Again -or- Lessons Learned

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

 dr-david-marcinko9According to the article Great Expectations-Disappointing Realities that recently appeared in Registered Representative, a trade magazine for the financial services industry, by John Churchill, the booming stock market of the last five years saw many Registered Investment Advisory [RIA] firms sell a portion of their future cash flows in return for cash and stock in an acquiring consolidating firm. This is known as a roll-up, or consolidator, business model. I am quite familiar with it, as both a doctor and financial advisor. I believe my dual perspective of both camps is somewhat unique, as well.

The NYSE Collapse

As the stock market collapsed in 2008-09, many RIAs who previously sold stakes to these “roll-up” consolidator firms began scrambling to pay quarterly preferred disbursements.  What gives, many implored? As a reformed Certified Financial Planner™, RIA representative, financial advisor and insurance agent, I can draw many parallels from these present day RIA consolidators to the similar Physician Practice Management Corporation roll-up fiasco of 1999-2000? Indeed, I can, and will [www.HealthcareFinancials.com]

My Experience with Medical Practice Consolidators

As a clinician and surgeon, I was the past president of a privately held regional Physician Practice Management Corporation [PPMC] in the Midwest. I assumed this route about a decade ago, by happenstance and background, when I helped consolidate 95 solo medical practices with about $50 million in revenues. But, our small company’s IPO roll-up attempt was aborted due to adverse market conditions, in 1999. Fortunately, a conservative business model based on debt, not the equity which was all the rage at the time, saved us right before the crash of 2000. So, we harvested fiscally conservative physicians who lost only a few operational start-up bucks; but no significant dollars.

On the other hand, those PPMCs roll-ups based on equity lost much more. In fact, according to the Cain Brothers index of public PPMCs, more than 95% of all equity value was lost by doctor-investors hoping to cash in on Wall Street’s riches they did not rightly deserve; not by practicing medicine but by betting on rising stock prices. So, projecting a repeat disaster from medicine, to the contemporary RIA consolidator business model, was not a great leap for me. And unfortunately, this was one of the few times I was all too correct in my prognostications.

PPMC’s Today

The type of medical consolidator or roll-up, formally called the Physician Practice Management Corporation [PPMC], was left for dead by the year 1999. Even survivors like Pediatrix Medical Group saw its stock drop precipitously. And, more than a few private medical practices had to be bought back by the same physicians that sold out to the PPMCs originally.

RIA Example

I sure hope this does not occur with FAs, as well. But, if an entity is being bought back and accounts receivables are being purchased, FAs should be careful not to pick this item up as income twice. The costs can be immense to the RIA practice, as later clients of mine learned the hard way.

Buy-Backs

For example, let’s say a family practice [or RIA?] purchased itself back from a PPMC, or RIA consolidator. Part of the mandatory purchase price, approximately $200,000 (the approximate net realizable value of the accounts receivable), was paid to the PPMC to buy back accounts receivable [ARs] generated by the physicians buying back their practice. Now, if an office administrator unknowingly begins recording the cash receipts specifically attributable to the purchased accounts receivable as patient fee income; trouble begins to brew. If left uncorrected, this error can incorrectly added $200,000 in income to this practice and cost it (a C Corporation) approximately $70,000 in additional income tax ($200,000 in fees x 35% tax rate). The error in the above example is that the PPMC [or RIA consolidator] must record the portion of the purchase price it received for the accounts receivable as patient [advisory] fee income. The buyer practice has merely traded one asset – cash – for another asset, the accounts receivable [ARs].  When the practice collects these particular receivables, the credit is applied against the purchased accounts receivable (an asset), rather than to patient [RIA] fees.  

RIA Revolution Follows PPMC Evolution

Today, surviving medical PPMCs are evolving from first generation multi-specialty national concerns, to second generation regional single specialty groups [my type], to third generation regional concerns, and finally to fourth generation Internet enabled service companies providing both business to business [B2B] solutions to affiliated medical practices, as well as business like consumer health solutions to plan members [healthcare 2.0]. I trust this sort of positive morphing will occur, over time, with the RIA consolidators. Perhaps yes, or no [www.HealthDictionarySeries.com]

RIA Consolidators

Among the most distressed RIA roll-up entities today may be the publically traded National Financial Partners and its more than 180 acquired firms, with more than 320 members in 41 states and Puerto Rico. NFP specializes in life insurance and wealth transfers, corporate and executive benefits, and financial planning and investment advisory services. Jessica M. Bibliowicz has been NFP’s President and CEO since inception in 1999. She is the daughter of Sandy Weill, and a member of the Board of Overseers for the Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. NFP’s stock has declined from a high of $56 more than a year ago, to a current trading range of $3-4.           

And the Question Is?

And so, the question that MDs and RIAs should have asked when contemplating this business model was simply this: would I but the stock of an acquiring roll-up company if I were not part of the deal?

Valuable Consideration

Why? When MDs and RIAs sell to a consolidator, part of their “valuable consideration” is stock equity, so confidence and a conscientious work ethic is important. But, these “‘sell-out” entities are not retirement vehicles according to former financial advisor Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™ – a nurse executive and managing partner for www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com. Hope is also managing editor of this blog forum.

Assessment

More pointedly, according to one seller mentioned in the Churchill article,

“the whole [consolidator] pyramid is built on cash flows based on incremental growth and hugely optimistic projections of that growth”.  

Conclusion

Rest assured, the consolidator business model can be very successful; just think H. Wayne Huizenga’s Blockbuster Video and Waste Management, Inc. And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Why didn’t consolidation work in medicine, or with the RIAs? Or, reframed, why did consolidation work in the garbage collections industry and video store space? Can the fiercely independent RIA space learn something from the fiercely independent medical space?

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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PPMC Redux

Physician Practice Management Corporations

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]dem21

Here Come the PPMCs … again, Maybe!

The Physician Practice Management Corporation (PPMC), left for dead by the year 1999, may make a comeback going forward in 2008.

PPMC are evolving from first generation multi-specialty national concerns, to second generation regional single specialty groups, to third generation regional concerns, and now to fourth and fifth generation Internet enabled service companies, providing both business to business solutions to affiliated medical practices, as well as business to consumer health solutions to plan members. 

Even survivors like Pediatrix Medical Group saw its stock drop was floundering following disclosure that federal officials were investigating its Medicaid billing practices a few years ago. 

On the other hand, many private medical practices were bought back by the same physicians that sold out to the PPMCs originally.

But, if an entity is being bought back and accounts receivable is being purchased, be careful not to pick this item up as income twice.  The costs can be immense to your medical practice 

Example: 

A family practice purchased itself back from a PPMC.  Part of the mandatory purchase price, approximately $200,000 (the approximate net realizable value of the accounts receivable), was paid to the PPMC to buy back accounts receivable generated by the physicians buying back their practice.   

Unfortunately, the physician-executive unknowingly began recording the cash receipts specifically attributable to the purchased accounts receivable as patient fee income.  If left uncorrected, this error could have incorrectly added $200,000 in income to this practice and cost it (a C Corporation) approximately $70,000 in additional income tax ($200,000 in fees x 35% tax rate).

The error in the above example is that the PPMC must record the portion of the purchase price it received for the accounts receivable as patient fee income.  The buyer practice has merely traded one asset, cash, for another asset, the accounts receivable.  When the practice collects these particular receivables, the credit is applied against the purchased accounts receivable (an asset), rather than to patient fees.

So, be careful out there! www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Assessment: Anyone burned in a similar manner?

PPMC Update 2019

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