Friday, October 30, 2009

American Medical News - EMR packages being bundled as single product

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The bundling of hardware and software packages into multi-functional EMR solutions is occurring at a rapid pace (American Medical News). The push for facilities to adopt electronic records is increasing and vendors are ramping up in anticipation of rising demand. Mandates by Medicare and federal stimulus money will make EMR solutions virtually unavoidable in modern practice. In light of these changes, the need for packages geared towards smaller facilities and physician practices is immense. Smaller practices may find it difficult to find a solution that isn't exorbitantly priced nor a hassle to implement and maintain. The average practice won't need or be able to afford a full-blown, integrated solution that might be found in a larger practice or hospital. More entrants into the EMR market has meant a wider variety of options for physicians. Even document management systems are popping up which are being billed as hybrid EMRs. While EMR may eventually yield positive results for our health care system in aggregate, practices that are seeking immediate return on investment should look towards billing or practice management solutions...these can be ideal for improving productivity, cash flow, and efficiency right out of the box.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Delegation of tasks to non-physician providers in plastic surgery practices and med spas

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Many practices and med spas that offer a variety of cosmetic and aesthetic treatments have come under scrutiny for certain practices. Among these, is the delegation of patient care tasks to non-physician providers. Practice owners must carefully manage the medico-legal and ethical aspects of their practice by following clearly established guidelines. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have a joint guiding principles on the supervision of non-physician personnel in physician practices and medical spas. The use of physican extenders is an excellent way to increase a physician's efficiency, though the delegation of tasks to these providers must not be divorced from carefully monitored, physician-directed care. The chain of accountability ultimately ends with the physicians themselves. The current economic climate is already challenging for many cosmetic practices who rely of discretionary consumer spending. Practices that attempt to cut corners by inappropriately delegating tasks to extenders to make up for leaner profit margins risk severe consequences.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featured Practice - Psychiatric practice in Louisiana

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Featured listing: Psychiatry practice for sale in Louisiana. This is a phenomenal practice with low overhead and solid earnings

* Established practice which is well-positioned in its market
* Netting ~$780k on gross collections of $1.2 million+
* Low Overhead
* Exceptional opportunity for 1-2 psychiatrists looking for excellent cash flow

Contact here for more info

Here is another one of our recent psychiatry practice transactions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Understanding practice benchmarks - Ophthalmology Practice Managment

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An article regarding the use of benchmarks in ophthalmology practices appeared in the April issue of Ophthalmology Times. The author makes a good point regarding the use of a single benchmark versus a collection of benchmarks. The use of a combination of relevant and effective benchmarks can be a more reliable way to gauge the ongoing health of an ophthalmology practice rather than the use of a single "favorite" standard.

For the purpose of practice sales and transition planning, different benchmarks are more useful than others. In ophthalmology practice valuation and appraisal we primarily look at overhead and underlying profit. When arranging an exit strategy and transition plan it is important to review these numbers in light of other factors such as patient statistics. An incoming buyer may be better served by retaining the outgoing seller for a longer period post-closing, if the transition would be more effective in this manner. Conducting proper due diligence during the selling process and reviewing the right statistics is crucial to making such determinations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

AOA Gains National Platform for Optometry's Priorities in Health Care Reform

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The American Optometric Association weighs-in on how health care reform will affect Optometry and patient access to their vision care providers in the following audio news release (click here to listen).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Optometric Management - Manage Change in Your Practice

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Managing change in an optometry practice can be challenging, especially when there is a laundry list of changes to be made. Prioritizing and carrying out these initiatives to successful fruition is often easier said than done. An even more difficult task is establishing protocol that ensures these plans are replicated and followed through by providers and staff. Appearing in this month's issue of Optometric Management is an article outlining a simple and straghtforward approach.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Optometry Practice Managment - Winning new patients depends on your value proposition

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Many optometry practices take a haphazard approach to marketing. Here's a perspective on an approach called a value proposition, "or the sum total of all the benefits a practice promises the patient in exchange for the fees he or she will be charged. The ratio of benefits to fees is what will establish the value of visiting your practice in the eye-care consumer's mind (Optometry Times, De Gennaro, 2009)." Click the linked quote for the full article from the Optometry Times.

There is much which can be done beyond basic marketing and advertising to expose a practice to a larger base of patients. De Gennaro explains quite aptly, that the full patient experience is what allows a vision care practice to gain and retain market share. One strategy which I have seen applied in other successful healthcare practices, is the cultivation of a mission and vision that can dovetail well into an overall marketing strategy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Best Jobs in America - Money/PayScale.com's list of great careers

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Numerous healthcare-related jobs can be found on the Money/PayScale.com's list of Best Jobs in America for 2009. Interestingly enough, physician extenders are in the 2nd and 4th spots on the list: #2 (Physician Assistant) ; #4 (Nurse Practitioner). Healthcare continues to be an area of tremendous growth and need. This is not a huge surprise, but it is interesting to note the size of demand for these positions in light of forthcoming health reform. Many sellers and buyers of healthcare professional practices are anxious about upcoming reform. The increased use of extenders will likely be an important strategy for practices to employ in order to be nimble and adaptive in this changing environment.

Other notable healthcare-related jobs on the list are:
7 Physical Therapist
11 Anesthesiologist
13 Pharmacist
14 Occupational Therapist
15 Nurse Anesthetist
19 Physician/General Practice
22 Physician/Obstetrician/Gynecologist
23 Clinical Psychologist
24 Psychiatrist
25 Veterinarian
27 Speech-Language Pathologist
44 Pharmaceuticals Sales Representative

Featured Optometry practice for sale - Palm Beach County Florida

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Acquisition opportunity - Optometry practice for sale in Palm Beach County:
  • Grossing ~$520,000, on 4 OD days/week
  • Real estate also available
  • Long established practice situated in a freestanding building
  • Up to 100% Financing
Please call us at 800-416-2055 or visit our practices for sale section for additional information

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Summary of HHS regulations Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information

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Here is a nice summary of the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations on Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information, especially as it pertains to family physicians: This is a summary FAQ written by Steven Waldren, M.D., director of the Academy's Center for Health IT,

Per Dr. Waldren:
"This is fairly dense language, as is often the case with government regulatory efforts," said Waldren. "In an effort to save members time and frustration, I zeroed in on a few sections of the regulations that are most likely to impact family physicians' practices."

Monday, October 12, 2009

MGMA: Medical practice revenues fall

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An article from the Medical Group Management Association regarding declining revenues in the medical practice: MGMA: Medical practice revenues fall. Many practices that already run on lean margins are being squeezed even further as patient volume drops, accounts receivable cycles lengthen, and patient's bad debt racks up. These are all indicative of an economic environment which has made it challenging for many. This may be an even stronger impetus for medical practices to become more efficient. From the article......William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA: "Even in a good economy, many of our member practices have trouble staying financially solvent, so now it's more important than ever that practices look for ways to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Medical supply costs stabilize - American Medical News

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Cost inflation for medical supplies seems to be growing at a lower-than-anticipated rate, according to this article. This is partially attributable to more generics drugs hitting the market as well as weakening demand for supplies due to budget tightening. Health care institutions are running on leaner inventories. Despite this "good news", the rate of inflation in medical supplies still outstrips the general inflation rate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dermatology practice - Acquisition Opportunity - Oklahoma

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Calling all Dermatologists...we have another fantastic practice acquisition opportunity for you.
  • Well established solo dermatology practice
  • Grossing ~$1,150,000, netting ~$700,000+ annually
  • 100% medical dermatology
  • History of strong earnings
Buying a dermatology practice of this caliber is an excellent way to enter practice with solid earnings from day one. This is a solo practice located in a large city in Oklahoma. The practice could potentially be expanded by adding additional providers and services. Please contact us for additional details and visit our medical practices for sale page for additional dermatology practices currently being offered.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How electronic medical records affect staffing

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An article from the AMA on How electronic medical records affect staffing.

Implementing an EMR solution in a healthcare practice can be challenging from many perspectives. Beyond the implementation process itself, much time and effort can be spent in training employees and redefining their roles. Much of the success of an EMR solution in a practice hinges on how well the practice operates prior to this change. Dr. Eric Pifer puts it well: "If the practice isn't already spinning like a top, it can get ugly". This makes sense. If a practice is efficient, nimble, and adaptive from the getgo, implementing EMR can be much easier endeavor. EMR may not be the right solution for all practices at this point but healthcare has been moving progressively towards larger and more ambitious electronic systems. It may be better for practices to accept this trend sooner than later.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

American Medical Association - Code of Ethics - Opinion 7.04 - Sale of a Medical Practice

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I often have physicians who ask me about the transferability and saleablity of goodwill in their healthcare practices. Below is an opinion from the America Medical Association regarding the sale of a medical practice. Goodwill is certainly saleable and transferable (as long as IRS purchase price allocation guidelines, Stark laws, and HIPAA are adhered to). In fact, goodwill is often the most valuable asset within a healthcare practice.

Opinion 7.04 - Sale of a Medical Practice
A physician or the estate of a deceased physician may sell the elements that comprise his or her practice, such as furniture, fixtures, equipment, office leasehold, and goodwill. In the sale of a medical practice, the purchaser is buying not only furniture and fixtures, but also goodwill, ie, the opportunity to take over the patients of the seller. A patient’s records may be necessary to the patient in the future not only for medical care but also for employment, insurance, litigation, matriculation, or other reasons. Therefore, the transfer of records of patients is subject to the following:
(1) The physician (or the estate) must ensure that all medical records are transferred to another physician or entity who is held to the same standards of confidentiality and is lawfully permitted to act as custodian of the records.
(2) All active patients should be notified that the physician (or the estate) is transferring the practice to another physician or entity who will retain custody of their records and that at their written request, within a reasonable time as specified in the notice, the records (or copies) will be sent to another physician or entity of their choice.
(3) A reasonable charge may be made for the cost of locating, duplicating, and mailing records. (IV)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Selling a practice vs. Closing a practice

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Determining whether a practice is saleable can be tricky. I am usually able to give clients a good idea whether their practice is saleable by looking at earnings, specialty, and geographic area in conjunction with specific market indicators and industry data. For those practices which are unlikely to sell, the process of closing the practice can be daunting. Here is a guide provided by the American Academy of Dermatology on closing a practice:
Closing a Dermatology Practice - PDF
Closing a Dermatology Practice - HTML

Doctors Fight Penalty for Heavy Test Use - Wall Street Journal

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Article from the Wall Street Journal. Addressing overutilization will be one of many challenging tasks in containing health care costs. Though I haven't read this specific part of the bill myself, I question its mechanism when I hear it described like this:

"Any doctor whose level of testing and procedures ranked at the 90th percentile or above would be penalized with 5% reductions in Medicare reimbursements."

"The bill calls for the secretary of Health and Human Services to account for doctors with less-healthy patients. But the government has acknowledged that its efforts to collect that type of data haven't fully accounted for all the attributes of Medicare recipients."

How can penalties be assessed to a provider for overutilization if patient health status isn't accounted for? Sicker patients generally utilize greater resources, and this leaves the potential for providers to be unfairly penalized if they treat a larger proportion of sicker patients.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dermatology practice for sale - NY - Quality of life

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Are you a Dermatologist looking for a serious upgrade in the quality of life department?

How would you like to:
  • Work 4 days a week
  • Take 12-15 weeks of vacation per year
  • Take home $600,000-$700,000 annually
  • Live in beautiful Monroe County, New York

Click here: Dermatology practice for Sale - NY

Call here: 800-416-2055

Hospital group opposes 'meaningful use' quality improvement targets

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(Article from Medical Economics) I see the need for quality improvement targets but what are these targets based on and who creates them? From what I've read, even the best quality-improvement measures can be flawed by the inherent difficulty in measuring health outcomes and other indicators. How do you track a patient's care over a lifetime and attribute those outcomes directly to a specific provider? If you do evaluate shorter term measures such as patient care episodes, is it really possible to isolate for other factors outside a provider's control? Also, can the party that is creating and benchmarking the quality improvement targets be truly impartial?...especially when targets are linked to a incentives or reimbursements of some type?