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HIPAA Violations That Can Destroy a Medical or Dental Practice

14 Sep

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, was enacted in 1996. Since then we’ve seen some major HIPAA violations that can cost up to $1.5 million per year. This can seem intimidating for your practice, especially if you don’t know how to avoid a violation.

Let’s look at the 11 most common HIPAA Violations. Your organization needs a better understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do so that you don’t face a breach.

Lack of Employee Training

Lack of employee training. Nearly 1/4 of healthcare workers don’t receive the proper HIPAA training that they need. But employee education and training can help your organization avoid all of the common violations on this list.

Mishandling of Medical Records

Medical record mishandling using paper records increases the chance that protected health information or PHI will be left exposed for unauthorized people to see. Leaving computers unlocked also poses a risk. Locking your computers when not in use ensures protection of electronic records.

Using insecure technology.

As we use more digital health information, medical records are more susceptible to breaches.

Using insecure technology to share PHI is a huge risk that should never be done because it’ll expose your organization to a breach.

Hacking and Malware

PHI records are worth 100 times as much as credit card numbers on the dark web.

So hackers are intentionally seeking this information. It’s so important to have anti-virus, anti-malware firewall software installed on your devices to help protect against hackers.

Lack of Authorization and Proper Signatures

Some employees will carelessly release PHI because they don't know what's required in order to release it in the first place. Uses and disclosures of PHI requires written consent by authorized individuals when it's not being used for treatment, healthcare operations, or payment.

Incorrect Information

It’s simple, double-check or even triple-check that you are releasing the correct patient’s information.

Improper Storage and Disposal of PHI

While people probably don’t go through the garbage searching for PHI, it’s definitely a best practice and recommended that you dispose of it properly through shredding, destroying, and hard drive wiping.

Lost or Stolen Devices

Human error is uncontrollable and you can’t really prevent a stolen device from happening in the first place. Your organization must have the proper safeguards in place so that the PHI is not exposed from these stolen devices.

Misuse of Social Media

Using more social media increases the chances that a patient’s photo will be shared on the internet. Employees must be cautious about what they post on social media, ensuring that it doesn’t include anything regarding patients.

Casual Conversation

Stories about patients may be fun and interesting but discussing PHI is always off-limits. This includes gossiping about patients to friends, family, or even co-workers.

You never know who might be listening or what they might tell someone about.

Celebrity File Lookups

Not only can talking about patients be interesting, so can snooping into their files. This is very common with celebrities in particular and even with no intention of sharing the information it’s still a breach if you look at files without authorization.

HIPAA violations can be disastrous to a practice. Compliance is not a suggestion, it is mandatory and non-compliance can be very costly. Don’t risk it! Cash Flow Strategies, Inc. is pleased to work with PCIHIPAA and OfficeSafe to provide your practice with a full solution to compliance, training, and protection.

CLICK HERE to receive a free HIPAA Risk Analysis for your practice

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Call me directly at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
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Email me at David.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us

Free Webinar – Dental Collections and Cash Flow During COVID-19

30 Aug
https://cashflowstrategies.webinarninja.com/live-webinars/491655/register

Please join me for an important webinar on how to keep your practice’s cash flowing while we all emerge from this pandemic.

Friday, September 4
2:00 PM Eastern

Here is What You’ll Learn

  • Why taking action now may save your practice

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported the the US personal savings rate has surged by more than 33% in the last few months and the stock market is at almost unprecedented highs. Whether it is through reduced consumption or stimulus, people have money right now. Some of it rightfully belongs to you, and it is the right time to go get it.

  • How to avoid paying high collection percentages

We will discuss the “dirty little secret” of the collections industry that most certainly has you paying too much to get your money collected.

  • How to collect more money, while spending less

Your cash flow is the lifeblood of your practice. Without adequate cash flow, especially in today’s environment, your practice cannot survive. You will learn how to manage your receivables AND save staff time as well.

  • Learn the 4 Patient Payer Types

Learn why certain patients do not pay on time, and how to motivate them to pay their bill, without ruining vital patient relationships. We will discuss 4 distinct types of patients payers and how they can be motivated to pay on time and educated to never pay late again.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The CARES Act and Cost Segregation – New Opportunities

30 Mar

The CARES Act, a $2.2 Trillion bill was passed in response to the Corona virus Pandemic. There are parts of this bill that will have a direct impact on Cost Segregation. Please contact me for more information or to assist you in helping your clients take advantage of this new information.

Net Operating Losses:

Allows for a five year carryback of net operating losses arising in 2018, 2019, and 2020. It also allows net operating losses to offset 100% of income (as opposed to being limited to no carryback and only to 80% income offset from carryforward losses under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that was in place before the CARES Act).

Impact – Example – A Cost Segregation study is applied in 2019 which causes such a large depreciation deduction that the client reports a net operating loss in 2019. He can carry this loss back for 5 years and apply it to gains made in those years. This would result in a tax refund providing cash flow in a time of need.

Important Note – The 5 year carryback rules require you to go back 5 years and roll forward from there if the loss is in excess of the carryback years income.
Example – John Smith has income for the past 5 years, and a loss in 2019 as follows:
2014 – $75,000
2015 – $150,000
2016 – $400,000
2017 – $350,000
2018 – $195,000
2019 – $(425,000)
In this case John would roll the $425,000 loss back to the 5th year 2014 and offset all of that income, then roll the remaining $350,000 to 2015 and offset all of that income, and finally roll the balance of $200,000 to 2016.

Qualified Improvement Property:

Qualified Improvement Property has been corrected to be identified as 15 year property meaning it would be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation. This change is effective for property acquired and placed in service after 9/27/2017.

Impact – Since the definition of Qualified Improvement Property was introduced, CSSI has been identifying this property as Qualified Improvement Property within our reports. This property is now eligible for 100% bonus depreciation, so previous clients with this type of property included in their reports can now retroactively apply bonus depreciation to these improvements. 

More Time:

With the extension of time to file for 2019 taxes, there are opportunities to still have Engineering-Based Cost Segregation done for any commercial or rental residential properties over $200,000.  

Contact Me Directly

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
Visit my Youtube channel by clicking here

The Dentistry Uncensored Podcast with Dr. Howard Farran

5 Mar

I recently had the opportunity to join Dr. Howard Farran for a recording of the “Dentistry Uncensored” podcast at his studio in Phoenix, AZ. We spoke of all things concerning cash flow in the dental and oral surgery practice.

Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, the founder and owner of Dentaltown.com and Dentaltown magazine, has practiced dentistry at Today’s Dental in the Phoenix metro area for more than 30 years. In 2017, Incisal Edge magazine ranked him among the 32 most influential people in dentistry.

You can watch the podcast video by clicking here

Or listen to the audio podcast by clicking here

If you are have difficulties or questions about your practice’s cash flow, or would be interested in learning how your cash flow can be improved, contact me for a no-cost, no-obligation Cash Flow Checkup.

Contact Me Directly

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
Visit my Youtube channel by clicking here

Maximize Your R&D Tax Credits

17 Feb

In research and development tax credits, some cost related to wages, supplies and contract research are eligible.  Many times, however, taxpayers tend to overlook some of the processes and work that can be included to maximize the tax savings.

Contrary to popular belief, R&D credits are not limited to things that have not previously been done.  Many think these credits are limited to new inventions like the cell phone, or the lightbulb, but that is not the case.  The Internal Revenue Service does not require that technology be revolutionary or new innovation to be eligible for these tax credits.  The only requirement is that products and processes be improved.

Unfortunately, those who could benefit from claiming R&D tax credits either fail to claim them, or leave money on the table, because they aren’t aware of all the activities that qualify.  R&D credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction in income tax liability that is either underutilized or not utilized at all every year.

Here are some often overlooked qualifiers for R&D credits:

CLOUD COMPUTING NETWORK COSTS

Cloud computing server, platform and SaaS software application innovation costs may be qualified research expenses that are eligible for R&D credits.  Leasing cloud computing time is often cheaper and easier than purchasing locally hosted servers and outfitting data centers.  These expenses may be eligible when the cloud servers are located away from the taxpayer’s premises and operated by another.  The taxpayer must not be the only, or primary, user of the cloud server.

AUTOMATION THAT IMPROVES EFFICIENCY OF PROCESSES

Improving workflows and processes in manufacturing may also qualify by using process automation tools.  Automated shelving, labeling systems, and the use of robotic arms are some of the process automation tools that may be involved.  In the case of a robot, while the cost of the robot cannot be used for R&D credits, the time invested in designing the type of robot, how and where the robot will be used, and the testing involved may be qualified expenses.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINE LEARNING

Any process of product that uses machine learning or artificial intelligence to determine how to better accomplish a process, or increase its efficiency, qualifies for R&D credits.  Machine learning can assist in the decision of where to place a robotic arm for the most efficient and effective use.

REPLACING AN OBSOLETE PART OR PRODUCT WITH NEWER TECHNOLOGY

A common scenario in which these expenses may qualify for the R&D credit, a piece needs to be replaced as part of a manufacturing process, but the supplier no longer makes the part.  If a direct replacement cannot be found, the taxpayer may change their product or process to accommodate a new part on the market, requiring design changes.  These changes may be related to size, functionality, geometry or other elements.

When the obsolete part is so old, new technology may also provide a better answer than a retrofit.  Research and testing must be done to accommodate the new technology.  If the taxpayer can provide proof of concept, demonstrate how the new technology improved the product or process, and document the failure points, they may be able to recoup the amount expended for design and testing.  The wages related to a marketing associate who provided the design input to the improvement or features that should be created through the new technology, but they must be able to show documentation of the individual’s contribution to the process, and that they had the sufficient technical experience necessary to participate in the design.

MACHINE LEARNING AND AI

Any product or process using machine learning or artificial intelligence to learn how to do something better, more efficiently, or faster, qualifies for R&D credits.  For example, machine learning might help a company learn where to place a robotic arm for its best use.

These are a few activities that might be overlooked in considering expenses for the R&D credit in manufacturing products and processes.  This is not an exhaustive list but may help in thinking through how to maximize your research and development credit.  Activities do not have to necessarily fit the textbook definition of research to qualify.

If you have questions about R&D credits or their application, please give me a call at Cash Flow Strategies, Inc.  We have a team of experts who can certainly answer your questions regarding this topic, Cost Segregation, Section 179, The 2014 Tangible Property Regulations, and the Real Estate Professional designation.

Contact Me Directly

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
Visit my Youtube channel by clicking here

3 Debt Collection Strategies That Work

19 Oct

Ever wonder why some business have better luck collecting debts than others? Let’s find out. Hint: Luck has nothing to do with it.

When your customers owe money, you send an invoice and expect to receive a check in return. However, history tells us that you won’t hear anything but crickets chirping from some customers. About one in every 20 Americans has defaulted on some type of non-mortgage credit. You don’t have to resign yourself to writing off bad debt, though. You might just need a better strategy.

Shift Your Mindset

Your current strategy doesn’t work, so why keep using it?

Effective debt collection starts with a paradigm shift. Instead of thinking about unpaid accounts in terms of “collections” and “bad debt,” start thinking about your entire accounts receivable cycle. Just as preventive medicine can keep patients from getting sick, a holistic approach to finance can improve cash flow and help you predict future obstacles.

That’s why we use analytics to score our customers’ accounts receivables and to help them avoid unnecessary risks. If you have an effective accounts receivable management strategy in play, you won’t have to face collections as often.

Does this mean that you’ll never have to send an overdue payment notice? Probably not. However, you won’t have to worry about bad debt crippling your business because you’ll make smart, holistic financial decisions for your business.

Change Your Approach

Fear and panic won’t help your customers pay their bills faster.

Research shows that financial troubles can cause depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders in consumers. Some people use unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle stress, often denying that a problem exists. In other words, your overdue payment notice gets shredded with the other collection letters. The customer just can’t face the problem.

A compassionate debt collection strategy might help you collect cash faster. Instead of intimidating, threatening, or berating your customers, show them that you understand their predicaments and that you’re willing to work with them.

We’ve discovered that customers pay faster and more reliably with our empathetic approach to collections. We start with gentle reminders and continue collections even when accounts move from unpaid to dormant.

Work With Accurate Data

A customer moves and doesn’t give a forwarding address. Now what do you do?

When you don’t have accurate information for your customers, you can’t collect their debts. Account scrubbing technology proves invaluable when you need to correct errors in your master files so you don’t waste time and effort on bad information.

We have a database that contains more than 450 million records. We use that database to update your information so that collection practices can continue without obstacles.

If you’re struggling to collect bad debts, you might need a change of strategy — or you might need an experienced partner. We’re experts in the accounts receivable management field, and we help our customers remain financially solvent every day. Learn more about how to optimize your revenue, then get in touch. We’re excited to help you turn ineffective collection strategies into cash.

Contact Me Directly

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
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4 Benefits of Using Merchant Funding Rather Than a Bank Loan

16 Sep
Merchant Funding

While a bank loan might be the first thing you think of when you need cash for your business for capital improvements or to cover a slow season, there are alternative choices to consider that can be just as strategic—maybe even more so. Merchant Funding is one of them.

Utilizing Merchant Funding, a business owner can receive a lump sum of capital in exchange for a certain amount of their business’ future sales. Merchants utilizing this as their best financing option reap plenty of benefits.  

1. The application process is easy.

For starters, applying for merchant funding is quick and easy. More often than not, you can fill out a short, simple application, providing specific information and documentation pertaining to your business, such as your Business ID and recent bank statements. This shouldn’t take long to complete, and most providers will respond within 48 hours. Such a simple process lets you stay focused on your business, rather than being swamped with hour-long applications that don’t lead to any replies, while still having the opportunity to receive funds.

2. It gives you access to capital, quickly.

If your application is approved, you could receive the capital from your provider in less than one week. Obtaining these funds in such a short amount of time enables you to start putting money back into your business and improve cash flow.

For example: Some merchants choose to invest in new advertising campaigns in order to reach more consumers, while others use the cash to purchase updated equipment to improve internal efficiencies or to cover payroll.   Those are just a few possible ways to utilize your newly acquired funds. You could also give your workspace a much-needed facelift. Or maybe paying off outstanding debt is what you’re focused on–and words cannot describe how good it feels to become debt-free.

3. Your credit won’t be affected.

Securing a merchant cash advance won’t negatively affect your business’ credit. This is because you’re not taking out a loan, but instead, simply selling future credit card sales for capital. As a result, you won’t have to worry about making monthly payments. Plus, many providers don’t use your FICO score as qualification, so you won’t need to spend time trying to improve your credit before applying. In fact, the newfound funds from a merchant cash advance can improve your credit if you use it to pay off debt.

4. You won’t be as stressed.

Although owning a business is extremely rewarding, it comes with great responsibilities, too. This can be stressful, especially if you’re tight on cash. Merchant Funding help alleviate some of these pressures, thus lowering your stress levels. Eliminating financial stresses will enable you to endcjoy your job again and remember why you love being a business owner.

Contact Me Directly

I can help you determine very quickly how much quick cash you could receive. To get pre-approved, or just get more information, contact me directly.

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
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The Business Benefits of Streamlined Debt Collection

9 Sep

“Streamlined” is an adjective most people wouldn’t normally associate with debt collection. B2C or B2B debt collection can be fraught with challenges, and it isn’t always straightforward. Yet developing a streamlined solution to debt collection is essential for businesses in order to keep cash flow positive and ensure the business always has sufficient working capital.

When you can’t collect on what people owe you, business becomes more complicated. Not only do you have to pursue that debt so you can collect what you’re owed, you may have to deal with complications like bumpier cash flow and lower working capital. In other words, problems from uncollected debt ripple outward, potentially affecting your entire business.

Debt Collection Get Results While Protecting Your Brand

Streamlined debt collection services exist, and the best ones not only collect the money people owe you, but they also do so with utmost attention to protecting your brand, your data, and your customer’s data. Many small and medium enterprises simply don’t have the personnel and time necessary to devote to creation of a streamlined debt collection process.

Brand protection is essential in the internet age, when people regularly do online research before choosing products and services. For B2B business in particular, brand protection is essential during the process of B2B debt collection, because business relationships have enormous influence on reputation and the ability to succeed long term.

Accounts Receivable Management Can Prevent Debt Collection Problems

One way to streamline your debt collection process is to prevent the need for it in the first place. However, managing accounts receivable (AR) is a big job, and many small and medium enterprises don’t have a designated AR officer who can focus on this crucial responsibility.

Fortunately, there are debt collection specialists that offer a range of services, including AR management, and this alone can streamline debt collection for small businesses without a designated AR officer. And when the same debt collection specialist has to deploy more traditional debt collection techniques, they’re prepared to act without delay.

Pre- and Post-Charge Off Services Help Maximize Revenues

Pre-charge off debt collection is an excellent first line of defense in debt collection. Early intervention is essential when pursuing debts, because the likelihood of collecting decreases with every day that passes. When your debt collection service pursues early debt recovery, the result is fewer delinquencies and defaults, and maximum cash directed back into your business.

Post-charge off debt collection is more challenging, but if your debt collection provider has experience in this process, you can minimize losses due to unpaid debts and help ensure healthier cash flow. With technological tools that allow faster skip-tracing, your debt collection specialist can more quickly locate the correct party and accelerate recovery of even the most challenging cases.

It’s not easy for small and medium enterprises to stay on top of AR management and debt collection, yet these processes must be managed well to ensure good cash flow and sufficient working capital.

Contact Me Directly

For more information on streamlining the debt collection efforts for your business or medical/dental practice, contact me directly.

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
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6 Warning Signs of Financial Trouble for Your Small Business

28 Aug

Any entrepreneur knows there’s a chance that their business may not take succeed. Risk is inherent in any new business venture, of course. The Small Business Administration says that, while about 80% of small businesses make it through their first year, only 50% of small businesses make it past the five-year mark. Only one in three celebrate their 10th anniversary.

While most small business owners lack the crystal ball clarity of knowing what their future will hold, there are some clear warning signs that the company is faltering and in danger of failing.

Warning Signs of Small Business Trouble

  1. A failing income statement.
    Keeping an eye on the income statement is imperative no matter the age of the company. Red flags include a rising accounts receivables line or outright losses. If outstanding debt is high and you’re failing to collect on it, this could signal real trouble.
  2. Low cash on hand.
    Watching the balance sheet unbalance should make any CFO nervous. If cash on hand is shrinking or if you need to sell assets to make payroll, that’s a bad sign. Are sales down? Are your shelves filled with inventory that isn’t moving? If your business has a credit line, is it maxed out? Watch out for company bills not being paid quickly or increasing debt as a signal of trouble.
  3. External market factors signal increased competition.
    When a company feels competitive pressure, they must have the cash flow to shift tactics. If cash flow is a problem, a competitor could outbid or undercut on price, which could drive you right out of business.
  4. Legal troubles.
    Beware the corporate lawsuit. For companies struggling to stay afloat, a host of legal issues could arise such as vendors suing for nonpayment of bills, lenders pursuing property or equipment repossession, or even, failure to pay quarterly taxes.
  5. Failure to make payroll.
    If payroll checks bounce, there is a huge problem with the health of the company. One missed paycheck could have a long lasting impact on the employment relationship Once trust is lost, employee morale can decline in a self-perpetuating loop that customers will definitely notice.
  6. Bookkeeping holes.
    The health of a business can almost always be determined by the quality of the financial documentation. Clean books impact the company’s decisions about purchasing and growth. Without an accurate record, how can companies create a strategic plan for expansion? The simple answer is – they cannot.

While small companies can go through financial hills and valleys, these signs may signal that the business is in real trouble. If your company is struggling, talk to me about debt collection and other services that can improve the bottom line. There is no charge for this consultation, and it might just save your business.

Contact me today!

Call me at 770-224-8504 or 888-780-1333
Email me by clicking here
Visit my website by clicking here
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Choosing a Firm to Conduct Your Cost Segregation Study

30 Jul

When you’re dealing with taxes, you want to do everything exactly by the book.  So, when you’re implementing accelerated depreciation of your assets, you want to be sure your cost segregation study is done correctly.  We’re here to help you get the tax savings you deserve and keep them by helping you choose a cost segregation firm that’s going to do everything right.

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Accuracy

Before you choose a firm, research cost segregation studies, and be prepared to ask the firm some questions. We’ve mapped out some things you should ask and be aware of before you decide to hire a firm to conduct this analysis. After all, it is your money; you should be able to take what’s yours and not have to return it because the analysis wasn’t conducted correctly.

Compliance

As you know, U.S. tax code dictates the rules you must follow. Because cost segregation is part of the tax code, there are suggested methods you need to follow if you are to conduct this type of analysis. You need to be sure that the cost segregation firm stays in compliance with all rules specified by U.S. tax code. Why should you be penalized for this third-party firm not following all the rules?

Specialization

You wouldn’t go to a doctor that didn’t know everything there is to know about your ailment; you would likely choose a specialist. So why should the cost segregation firm you hire be any different? You want to go to the firm that eats, breathes, and sleeps everything taxes. They need to know tax codes inside and out, and have researched past court cases on these related topics. Do your research and ask the questions so you can pick the firm that is the most knowledgeable about cost segregation analysis.

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Peace of Mind

Finally, when choosing a cost segregation firm, be sure to do your homework.  When it comes to your tax savings, this is especially important. You want to go with a firm that has in-depth tax knowledge and a substantial amount of rave reviews from past clients. You want to choose the firm that will defend their study in the event of an audit.

The best advice we can give you when choosing a cost segregation firm is to ask the questions, get answers and get your money back.

For more information, call me today at 770-224-8504, or email me at David.Wiener@cashflowstrategies.us.

Also, check out my video series, “The Cash Flow Minute.”

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