Doctors, speak up and let your voice be heard!

A couple of years ago I was introduced to Zubin Damania, M.D.   Dr. Damania is the Founder of Turntable Health, a direct primary care clinic in Las Vegas.  To get his, Let Doctors be Doctors, message out he produces comedic video raps and has become an internet celebrity.  The ZDoggMD, as he is known, is dedicated to improving healthcare for everyone.

Yesterday, I met with Mark Blocher, who is the President and CEO of Christian Healthcare Centers.  CHC is a not for profit organization that also provides direct primary care medical home for its patients.  The mission and focus of care is based upon Biblical based values.  Mark said, “Everyone is talking about the cost of healthcare rather than focusing on the delivery of care.  Healthcare coverage, he says, doesn’t equal care.

Last week, I met with a group of physicians who are working to implement a clinically integrated network of physicians.  The providers of care are independent and not employed by a hospital.  The group has a goal of working together to control the costs of medicine under the current traditional delivery of care.

The Association of Independent Doctors has been organized with the purpose of Giving Doctors a Voice and Patients a Choice.  A national nonprofit, A.I.D. works on behalf of physicians, patients and employers to raise awareness and represent the interests of independent physicians. A.I.D. is working to educate patients, insurance providers, and government representatives about why America’s health-care system needs doctors to remain independent.

I have referenced just a few doctor initiatives that I see are working to improve the delivery of healthcare.  As an involved member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants , I know that there are other initiatives happening around the country. Whether it is in the form of new delivery systems or a revised method of the current system, the initiatives that are focused on meeting the needs of the patient in the most affordable way is worthy of discussion and implementation.  Everyone seems to believe that our current healthcare system is broken.  There is no doubt that there is a lot of room for improvements.  To cure what we believe is broken, let’s start by going to the doctor to look for a prescription.

Doctors, please speak up and let your voice be heard!

Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Enrolled Agent,  and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, contact Mike at www.vmde.com.

Benefits of a Cash Balance Plan – FREE Webinar

Save Taxes by Contributing to a Cash Balance Qualified Retirement Plan

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Cash Balance Plan

Join me as I host this informational FREE Webinar on the Benefits of a Cash Balance Plan

 

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This Webinar is for you if:

  • You are paying 33% or more income tax on your income
  • You desire to save taxes
  • You have extra cash flow that you wish to save on a pre-tax basis

If you want to…

  • Fund more than what your 401(k) plan will allow
  • Provide for a disparity in retirement funding between business owners
  • Create more flexibility in your funding

This Webinar on the Benefits of a Cash Balance Plan will help you gain an understanding of this type of Qualified Retirement Plan and achieve the above objectives.

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Recruiting a New Doctor? Offer a Student Loan Repayment Program

New Doctor Associate

Student debt has become a major financial factor for new medical and dental graduates.  Your new associate doctor is likely to have student debt in the range of $260,000 or more. Rather than looking for a position that offers the benefits of ownership with an independent practice, younger doctors are seeking positions with a secure paycheck.  Adding a student loan repayment assistance program to your compensation offering will put you one step ahead of your competitors seeking to hire the same candidate.

New recruits offered this benefit are more likely to accept a position.  They are also less likely to leave, if it means leaving their student loan repayment assistance program behind.  Hospitals and larger corporate employers, in the dental profession, have been offering these benefits for years. Independent practices that address their potential associates’ concerns about student debt when making an initial offer of employment, stand a better chance to successfully hire their desired candidate.

To make your offer even more attractive, get creative with your benefits.  Consider offering a salary amount along with an upfront low-interest loan that can be used to jump-start the reduction of the student debt.  You can structure increased contributions to be made based upon determined factors that align with your business goals.  Your goals might include a vesting schedule based upon length of employment, taking on new business, or becoming a business partner.

The tuition assistance payment that is made on behalf of your employee is a taxable benefit. However, the company contribution, or the “jump-start” loan, will provide a favorable interest savings to your new doctor employee.

Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Enrolled Agent,  and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, contact Mike at www.vmde.com.

Giving Doctors a Voice and Patients a Choice [Podcast]

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Patients are happier with the choice of an Independent Physician.

Episode 013

Doctors Business Management Show

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Every day hospitals are working to buy medical groups and turn independent doctors into employees, which has lead to a lot of unrest in the healthcare business world.  While the jury is still out, many believe that this trend is not good for the patient community, and is a leading cause of skyrocketing health-care costs.

In this episode, Mike DeVries talks with Marni Jameson, the executive director of the Association of Independent Doctors (AID),  Joining Mike, on the call, is David Zetter, the lead consultant with Zetter HealthCare.  The three talk about the challenges that face Independent Physicians and what can be done to support doctors in their independent business.

Obtain Additional Information on AID

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Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Enrolled Agent,  and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, contact Mike at www.vmde.com.

Guidance on Ransom-ware Attacks

Top 10 List to Protecting Yourself from Ransomware

In July, 2016 the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights issued guidance intended to help healthcare entities understand and respond to ransom-ware attacks.

ransom ware touchscreen is operated by businessman.

Ransom-ware is a type of malware that denies a user’s access to its electronic data by encrypting the data with a “key” known only to the perpetrating hacker.  After the malware is deployed, the hacker demands that the user pay a ransom (often the request is made in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, to preserve the hacker’s anonymity) to obtain the key and decrypt the data.  However, there are no guarantees that once the ransom is paid will the hacker provide the necessary key.

According to the report issued, there have been 4,000 daily ransom-ware attacks since early 2016 (a 300% increase over the 1,000 daily ransom-ware attacks reported in 2015).  Doesn’t that seem incredible? Why would these people target businesses such as yours?  Here are some thoughts:

  • They know it’s where the money is
  • They know that they can cause some major business disruption, which will put you in a very vulnerable position
  • Because through the business their dirty deeds reach a more extensive system – networks of computers, and cloud-based systems may be impacted
  • Because small business, especially healthcare providers, are often not well prepared to deal with these types of cyber attacks

After reading the HHS report, I set out to build a checklist that would help prevent this from happening to me and you, my client.  Here is my “Top 10 List to Protecting Yourself from Ransom-ware”:

  1. Back-up your data and make sure it works!  Having a couple of backups may even be a good idea – using an external drive that is removed from your office and using a cloud-based back-up system.  Side-note: Whatever backup system you may use for Protected Patient Information be sure it is HIPAA compliant and that it follows security management process described in your policies.
  2. Keep your computer operating system up to date.  New updates are issued often that contain fixes to security issues.  The same is true for the software you use – check for updates often.
  3. Use extreme caution when you are on-line and using the Internet.  Know your sites and stay away from any pop-up ad campaigns.
  4. Never open spam mail or mail from unknown senders.  If the subject line of the e-mail I receive is empty, or, if the e-mail looks even somewhat suspicious, it gets the “shift-delete” treatment.  It doesn’t even get a chance to reside in my trash bin.
  5. Use caution when downloading files, opening files, or clicking on hyperlinks – know your sources!  If you ever do open a suspicious file by mistake, shut off your Internet connection.
  6. Have security software installed and keep your subscription up to date.  One the best ways to protect against a virus is to have defenses in place to ensure you never receive any in the first place.
  7. Keep your system locked down when you are not using it and never share your password with another user.  And, I hate to say it – don’t keep your password on a sticky note placed on your computer (yes, I see this frequently).
  8. Keep your employees privileges locked down on your network.  Make it difficult for them to do their on-line shopping, visiting unknown websites, or social media sites on your business computer.
  9. Don’t let your children or grandchildren on your computer – I’m serious! Over the years I have tried to fix more computer problems as a result of kids games and files they download.  Give them their own gaming or computer system and keep them off your computer.
  10. Don’t pay the ransom. Even if we follow the above checklist, it’s possible we could find ourselves subject to a cyber-criminal.  Paying the criminal only puts you in a position of being a repeat customer.

Computers have become an integral part of the way in which we do business today.  I find myself being in a love, hate relationship.  I love the efficiencies and conveniences they provide.   I hate the damage they can cause to relationships, work / family time, and our pocket-book.  I’m probably not going to eliminate technology from my life any time soon.  In fact, my use will likely only increase with time – so, I guess it just makes sense to be smart in the way in which we use them.  Hopefully, this checklist will help us both in making life with them just a little better and little safer.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the HHS report,  go to http://mikeldevries.com/HHSReport for a pdf copy.

Mike DeVries is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, Enrolled Agent,  and a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant focusing on helping healthcare professionals. If you would like to learn more about becoming a client, contact Mike at www.vmde.com.

A Budget – Personal Financial Management

Financial Planning Steps that Put you in Control

Today we are living in an uncertain economy.  There is talk of changing and increasing taxes, of a failing Social Security system and of skyrocketing educational costs.  Given the various financial uncertainties, it is more important than ever for you to apply financial planning principles to your personal life.  Budgeting is one of these key principles.

Budget Financial Planning

The majority of American households are in significant debt.  According to a study in Time Magazine – May, 2016, the average American household has total debt of $90,000, which includes households that live debt free.  The average households with debt owes more than $130,000.  This debt burden is costing the average household more than $6,600 in interest per year – about 9% of the average income.

Many do not have a budget and as a result most households have no idea where they spent their money last year.  A personal budget can provide this information and can help you take control of your financial life.

Bake My Day – A Recipe for Patient Satisfaction

The Secrete Sauce for Marketing a Doctor's Services

He called on Mother’s Day.  “May I speak to her?”, he asked.  My jaw dropped as I listened to my fifteen-year-old daughter, who was recovering from ACL knee surgery, talk with her Orthopedic Surgeon.  He was calling just to see how she was feeling. Even though my wife provided our daughter’s current status and answered all his questions, he wanted to take a minute to talk with the patient for whom he cared. It was awesome that Dr. Steward called to check in with his patient. One might even expect such a call.  But, when he ended the conversation with my wife asking – “May I speak to her?” – he just created an awesome experience – patient satisfaction for both the patient and her parents.  It was as if he put extra sprinkles on a baked cake…marketing at its finest.

Top of Easter cake covered with white icing and sprinkled with color pops. Candy background.

Build an Exceptional Team – Start with Position Descriptions

Free Position Description Templates

Having clearly defined Position Descriptions is the first step in the process building the right team for your office.  I often receive questions from clients related to staffing issues in their office. And, I often answer their question with a question – What does your position descriptions say?

Position Description

Assess & Measure Your Hygiene Department [Podcast]

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Hygiene Practice

Episode 012

Doctors Business Management Show

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Are you maximizing your Hygiene Practice? Productive, Profitable Dental Practices always have a productive hygiene department.

Your Dental Hygienist is an important member of  your team in assisting your patients with their oral care.  Under the new government health reform, which includes mandatory oral health benefits for children and young adults up to 21 years old, the role of your hygienist will continue to evolve and expand.  In addition to the role of your Hygienist and the work they do for your patients, the business aspects of this segment of your business are also very important to the overall profitability and success of your practice.  In this episode, Mike and team members, Mary Millar, RDH, BS, and Ben Lane CPA, JD discuss Measuring Key Hygiene Department Business Components to improve the bottom line of your Dental Practice.

What's good for Your Patient, is good for Your Practice. - Michael L. DeVries, CFP®, CHBC, EA Click To Tweet