Tag Archives: Mr Cash Flow

4 Tax Tips For Commercial Building Owners

13 Sep

Recently, the regulations for commercial property owners were overhauled in one of the most dramatic changes to the tax law in years.  The Tangible Property Regulations in conjunction with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have major economic benefits for building owners as well as some serious compliance issues.

tax-time_1

Properly applying these new U.S. tax code standards can help you capture economic opportunities to the tune of millions in tax savings that flow from your business to your personal taxes.

I would be happy to work with you and your tax professional to make sure you are taking the greatest advantage of these new tax laws.  CSSI, a company that I represent, can be your calculation experts for the following

  1. COST SEGREGATION – The U.S. tax cost method of identifying and classifying building components that allow you to accelerate depreciation and generate additional cash flow. An engineering-based cost segregation study is the basis for allowing you to capture many of the tax saving opportunities below and it helps you maintain U.S. tax code compliance moving forward with these regulations.
  2. BUILDING SYSTEMS VALUATION – An engineering-based study that will identify building systems and structural components.  Going forward every expenditure cannot be expensed.  The new regulations give very specific instructions on whether expenditures should be capitalized as an “improvement” or expensed as a repair.  We will provide the calculations that your tax professional will need to make these important decisions.
  3. CAPITAL TO EXPENSE “REVERSAL” OPPORTUNITY – Building owners may now expense previously capitalized costs and expense them in the current year by applying the new regulations to prior years.  For example, we helped a client receive $1.1 Million in tax savings on one of his properties through this method.
  4. PARTIAL ASSET DISPOSITION (PAD) – Renovate in the current tax year?  Thinking of an LED lighting upgrade?  A PAD allows you to write down the basis of what you removed and the costs for the removal and disposal of those items.  You can receive a tax deduction in the current year but it is a “use it or lose it” opportunity.  Fail to capture it in the current tax year and you lose the ability to write it down.  Both capital to expense reversals and PADs yield a permanent tax savings at the time of the sale by reducing recapture costs.

Let me provide you and your tax professional a no-cost, no-bligation analysis of the benefits you may receive and the cost for this type of study for your property.

Return the following information, and I will prepare your analysis immediately.

 

5 Things to Avoid When Collecting Debt From Customers

22 Aug

Before conducting debt collections, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

The do’s and don’ts of collecting debt are a sticky wicket. If you do it wrong, you can alienate potential customers, ruin your reputation, and maybe even pick up a hefty fine from regulators. Playing by the rules means compliance with all laws, certainly, but also collecting debt in a way that treats every customer with dignity and respect.

Here are five things to avoid when collecting debt from customers.

Do Not Try This at Home – or at the Office

We’ve heard all the horror stories from collections gone awry. Industry publications such as Inside ARM often report on companies fined by regulators for breaking collection regulations. Our biggest complaint, beyond the fact that these techniques are generally not effective, is that conducting yourself in this manner gives the collections industry a bad reputation. Not good!

The best course of action is to partner with a professional collection agency like TSI. But just in case you plan to give debt recovery on your own a try, here are some things that should never be part of your DIY debt collection strategy:

  1. Don’t stalk your customers. Really! This means you (or the debt collector for that matter) cannot show up at someone’s workplace and demand they pay you. The law also prohibits you from publicizing the debt, too, so even though you want to go on Facebook call out someone that owes you money – don’t. Here is the caveat: You may, respectfully, call the customer at work but you cannot let the other workers know that you’re trying to collect on a debt. Plus, if the customer asks you to not call them at work, you legally must comply.
  2. Don’t harass your customers. See #1. But actions such as repeated calls, threats of violence, and extreme language are not only bad form, they’re illegal too. For a small business owner, it feels personal when someone doesn’t pay. But conducting yourself in a professional way will pay off in the long run.

There are rules about pursuing debt collections – make sure you follow them.

  1. You can’t arrest the debtor. Sorry, we know this may not feel fair, but if a customer is 90-days past due, you cannot call 911 for help. However, there may be legal actions you can take in certain circumstances.
  2. You cannot pursue the debtor for things they don’t owe. This happens a lot when the data you have on the customer is inaccurate. So many times we see that the person already paid the debt but the information wasn’t logged properly. A simple mistake can land you in hot water, so use caution and double-check the facts before pursuing a debt.
  3. You cannot call at odd hours of the day and night. Did you know there are rules that state you can only call a past-due customer between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm? For small business owners that work hard all day, this means just because you’re up at 7:30 am you can’t squeeze in a few collections calls.

If you’re worried about running afoul of the rules of collecting debt, you don’t need to.

Contact me today at 888-780-1333, and I’ll show you how to collect more money, cut costs, and stay 100% compliant with all of the many laws and regulations that relate to debt collection.

After all…it’s your money!  Keep more of it!!

All You Need To Know About HIPAA Business Associate Agreements

18 Aug

Source:  Jeff Broudy, PCIHIPAA

Medical and dental practices are hearing more and more about large fines and data breaches surrounding HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).   Many are fearful that significant fines could affect their practice, their patients, and their livelihood.  Is this a real threat?  I believe it is.  HIPAA law is confusing and protecting the security and privacy of your patient information is critical.  And with the enactment of the Omnibus Rule back in 2013, HIPAA compliance now extends to your Business Associates.

The Ponemon Institute states that 39% of all Business Associates have experienced a data breach, and in one case a practice was fined $31,000 for not having a Business Associate Agreement on file.  That’s an expensive document!

As HIPAA Compliance Specialists, a day rarely goes by that we don’t receive questions about Business Associates.  “Who’s a Business Associate?”  “Do I have risks if I don’t have execute the proper agreements?“ What does my practice need to do?”  In fact, out partners at PCIHIPAA created a HIPAA Webinar Series for our clients to help answer these questions.  Let me know if you would like more information on this webinar series, and let me help clarify some of these questions.

) “Do I need to have a Business Associate Agreements on file?”

Yes.  If you are a Covered Entity under HIPAA, you are required to execute Business Associate Agreements. The Health and Human Services website (HHS.gov) defines a Covered Entity as health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards.

Bottom line:  Examples of Covered Entities under HIPAA are: Doctors, Clinics, Psychologists, Dentists, Chiropractors, Oral Surgeons, Podiatrists, Opthamologists, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies, Health Insurance Companies, HOMs, Company Health Plans, and Labs are all considered to be Covered Entities.

2) “Then, who is a Business Associate?

A Business Associate as any organization or person working in association with, or providing services to, a Covered Entity who handles or discloses Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personal Health Records (PHR.)  A business associate may also be a subcontractor that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits PHI on behalf of another business associate.  Think of it this way, if you contract with a person or an entity that needs access to your PHI to do their job, they are most likely a Business Associate.

Bottom line:  Examples of Business Associates are Lawyers, Accountants, IT Programmers and Representatives, Shredding Companies, Marketing Software Companies, Practice Management Software Providers, Data Backup and Storage Companies, and Billing Companies.   

“Are there exceptions?”

Yes.  HIPAA excludes conduits of information (UPS, FedEx), governmental agencies (Medicare and Medicaid), and anyone else this is not required to handle your PHI to do their jobs (Janitors, Landlords, Water Delivery Services).  Also your employees are not considered Business Associates.  They need to be trained on HIPAA, but you don’t need to execute Business Associate Agreements with your employees. 

3) “What exactly is a Business Associate Agreement, and why is it important?”

A Business Associate Agreement is a binding legal document that is now required under HIPAA for you to execute with all of your Business Associates. It is imperative that your practice has Business Associate Agreements in place, with a log kept for reference. Because your practice (as a Covered Entity) is sharing PHI with your Business Associate, this document ensures that the HIPAA mandates are in place and that your patients are protected.   If you use the right Business Associate Agreement, it also includes an “Indemnity Clause.”  The Indemnity Clause protects you financially, if PHI is compromised under your Business Associate’s watch.  This is a crucial clause that should be included in any Business Associate Agreement you execute.

Contact me for more information and/or assistance in creating a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for your practice.

Click Here to take a free, no-obligation, HIPAA Risk Assessment.  The results will inform you of where you are compliant and where you are deficient in your HIPPA security.

How Debt Collection Affects Revenue Cycle in Healthcare

2 Apr

medical-debt

Debt collection is a hot topic in healthcare revenue cycle circles. That’s because hospitals are facing higher costs, declining reimbursement, along with high-deductible insurance policies and patients that simply cannot afford to pay.

This article looks at how debt collection best practices could improve the revenue cycle in healthcare. What are the issues affecting debt in healthcare?

Debt Collection and Medical Billing 

Medical billing serves at the core of healthcare revenue cycle. But Rev Cycle Intelligence points out the elephant in the room: Medical billing is often riddled with errors.

Simple mistakes in the patient billing record are a challenge in the revenue cycle. Collecting patient information at the front desk lays the reimbursement framework that every revenue cycle is built upon.

When you cull out simple human mistakes, providers are still left with the complexities inherent in billing practices that are unique to every payer. That alone creates glitches in clinical cash flow when reimbursements are submitted and rejected by the payer.

Another problem with medical billing is tied to the healthcare paradigm itself. It is a patchwork of disparate providers – even within a single health system. If the steps to getting paid hinge upon a previous interaction, but documentation are peppered with missing pieces, the likelihood of that provider being reimbursed by a payer drops with every missed checkbox.

A frequent issue that occurs well before the bill is generated is the issue of collecting a patient’s co-pay. Even when the co-pay is $20, the medical practitioner at the front desk may fail to collect it. For clinical administrators, it can be difficult to ask for payment from a sick patient. Now imagine the struggles when a patient has a $2,000 deductible. But failing to collect this revenue up front does nothing to alleviate patient responsibility for their bill. In fact, it almost certainly guarantees the need for debt collection later. Rev Cycle Intelligence states that 90% of the 12.7 million Americans participating in 2016’s open enrollment had high deductible insurance.

InsideARM has been waving a red flag around this issue, citing statistics that say, “The percentage of consumers not paying their total hospital bills will increase to 95 percent by 2020.” Even worse news for hospital revenue cycle, the volume of patients who are only paying a part of their overall hospital bill has declined from around 90 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016.

As bad debt rises, healthcare providers are turning to debt collection agencies to help save their revenue cycle.

Debt Collection Improves Healthcare Revenue Cycle

TSI specializes in debt collection in the healthcare space. With over 45+ years of healthcare collection experience, we use an empathetic approach to collections to protect the patient relationships you’ve worked hard to cultivate. We understand the delicacy inherent in keeping patient satisfaction scores high while still collecting on an unpaid medical debt. That’s why we’ve invested in technology that can help us collect on all bad debt in ways that acknowledge and respond to patient payment preferences across multiple digital venues as well as through more traditional formats.

In addition, our proprietary data analytics platform, CollectX boosts your results by identifying the most liquid accounts and ensuring they receive the appropriate collections activity. Since implementation of CollectX, our clients have seen on average a 22% lift to their liquidation rates. Maintain your patient relationships, while improving your revenue cycle, with TSI.

To learn more about how to optimize your revenue, contact me today at 888-780-1333 or at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us.

First-Party vs. Third-Party Accounts Receivable

30 Nov

You know that understanding the details of how your accounts receivable department works is vital to the long-term success of your business. Without diligent attention, it can become one of the biggest financial headaches within your company.

Accounts receivable can be handled in one of two ways: first-party and third-party management. This may seem self-explanatory; first-party means your company manages AR in-house, while third-party means you’ve outsourced to an outside company. This is true on the surface, but there is a secondary way to look at the issue. First-party accounts receivable management can also mean that a separate company handles your AR.

To understand how this is possible, it’s important to look at the process of collecting on outstanding accounts, and at which stage first- and third-party management are best utilized.

 

Identifying Which Collection Strategy Is Best For You

In the business world, it is inevitable that some of your customers will fail to settle their account in a timely manner. Some may need a gentle reminder or two, while others may need to implement a repayment plan to meet their obligation. Others will simply not pay at all. You know that the longer your company goes without recouping those funds, the harder it is for your cash flow to remain healthy.

If your company is looking for a streamlined approach to collecting on overdue accounts, you can enlist the help of an outside company to handle both first-party and third-party management.

 

Early Stages – First-Party Management

When the account is only slightly overdue, first-party management is recommended. This is when all communication with the customer appears to come directly from your company, even if a separate company is handling it. First-party management is about trying to cure an account or prevent a loss, so early intervention is crucial. The treatment of accounts worked first-party and in a pre-charge off situation, is often the same.

At TSI, our goal is to become an extension of your back-end operations, streamlining the first-party collection process for you. Your branding and communication guidelines are strictly followed. Reminder letters and calls are common during this stage. We strive to maintain a relationship with the customer and help everybody reach a workable solution.

 

Later Stages – Third-Party Management

The decision to move to third-party management is usually due to the failure of a customer to respond to earlier messages. People commonly refer to this stage as ‘being in collections;’ communications are now coming directly from a separate company. The third-party is still acting on behalf of your business. Post-charge off work would also fall under this stage.

With third-party management, other tactics can now be used to locate the customer and bring the account up-to-date, aiming to instill a sense of urgency in the debtor. Third-party management is often more regulated than first-party and is always covered under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).

Ultimately, third-party management is about liquidating the total balance written off, and TSI can help. Our diplomatic process is designed to maintain a positive relationship with the customer while encouraging them to settle their account quickly. We utilize our proprietary data analytics platform and collection tactics including skip tracing, credit bureau reporting, and bankruptcy monitoring to increase your liquidity rates and develop more accurate revenue forecasting.

But the real value of our operations is in our people. You can rely on our seasoned collection experts to work diligently on your behalf, backed by extensive training and support.

 

Reach Your Goals With A Trusted Partner

Working together with a partner from the early stages can benefit both you and your customers. It allows the partner to become familiar with an account in receivables right from the beginning, so they can better judge if and when to move an account from first-party to third-party status.

It also relieves the burden from your in-house staff of having to chase down overdue accounts. Your team can focus on other areas of the company to keep operations running smoothly, knowing that a trusted partner is acting on your behalf to bring your accounts receivables up to date.

Finally, you can develop a customized approach to give your customers an integrated experience, which could result in a higher percentage of accounts being settled during the early stages.

TSI is committed to providing personalized services to your customers, maintaining and enhancing relationships while helping you recoup lost revenue. Our integrated collections platform combines best-in-class technologies with data-driven workflows to facilitate effective and compliant operations for our clients. Contact me today to explore your options.

Source: TSI

Top 10 Reasons Why Dentists Should Carry Their Own Dental Coverage

8 Jun

CFS DENTAL OFFICE

If you have a dental practice, you should seriously consider setting up your own self-administered dental plan.  Here’s why:

  • Dental insurance covers less and costs more every year for patients
  • Dental insurance pays the dental office less and less every year
  • You can customize a dental coverage plan to meet the specific needs of your practice
  • Patients and staff always know how much is covered and what remains
  • Far easier to administer than conventional insurance plans
  • Makes dental care more affordable to the patient, resulting in more treatment plan acceptance
  • Provides treatment to patient immediately
  • The dentist earns a greater portion of service than paid by insurance companies
  • Patients will stay in the practice longer
  • Patients will get treatment they would otherwise neglect.

The purpose of the Private Dental Plan program is to help the patient receive immediate and personalized service through a dental service plan and allow the dentist to keep more money for their services.  This self-administered dental service plan allows dental offices to offer access to dental coverage for those who would not normally be able to afford it.

Through my new affiliation with Dental Practice Services, Inc., I am now able to assist practices in getting set up with such a plan.  Please contact me for more information about how your practice can benefit from a personalized self-administered dental plan.

Cash Flow For The Medical Practice

25 Feb

I was a guest on the Top Docs Radio Program on Business Radio X, talking about Cash Flow For the Medical Practice with host, CW Hall.  Here is what he wrote about the interview:

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW BY CLICKING HERE

I sat down with David Wiener, aka “Mr. Cash Flow” on this week’s episode.  I connected with David first on LinkedIn a few weeks ago.  After learning more about the various ways he is able to help a medical or dental practice recapture revenue that is currently being lost, I knew I needed to have him on the show.

David spent numerous years as a practice manager for a doctor’s office, so he knows very well the challenges these practices face trying to maximize the revenue they get to keep for the care they provide.  With patient out-of-pocket obligations significantly on the rise, physicians are experiencing a corresponding increase in the number of patient balance bills they must collect upon to be paid for their services.

David provides access to a service that for only $12 per claim (instead of a typical % of the amount to be collected), that dramatically increases the success rate for bills collected to over 80% in the first 30-45 days from date of bill.

We also talked about other ways Cash Flow Strategies, Inc., is able to help their medical and dental practice clients drop more revenue to the bottom line.  One such way is to enroll their staff into a wellness program as provided for by the ACA.  Businesses that do so can save as much as $500 per employee per year on the Federal income tax they must pay for each of them.  Additionally, as employees take advantage of these wellness benefits, they tend toward better levels of health, decreasing the company’s expenditure for health benefits.

David also talked about a company he’s partnered with that can help a business change all the lights within the building to LED lights, saving enormous amounts of money on utility bills.  They offer a plan through which the business can pay for the lights over time, with the payments + new utility bills amounting to less than previous utility bills were, providing savings from the first month.

There are several other ways David is likely able to reduce amounts being spent by the business, such as procurement costs for necessary supplies through a competitive group purchasing organization and others.  It is clear that any medical or dental practice can benefit from taking a few minutes to talk with David to determine just how much additional revenue they can capture—all without having to work longer or harder.

For more information on how this might help your practice, call David at 888-780-1333 or email him at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us

 

 

Don’t Miss This Great Business Tax Credit

1 Feb

In 2104, Congress approved a tax credit for businesses as a part of the Affordable Care Act.  Don’t miss out on this tax credit that could save employers thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands each year.

Medical and Dental Practices: Is insurance follow-up eating up your staff time?

11 Feb

Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying your practice as slowly as possible. They will delay, deny, and “on-hold” you to death just to keep your money a few days longer and earn interest on that money.

 

Living “on-hold” with insurance companies seems to be a way of life for some of your office staff, as clerks search forever for claim information. Sitting and waiting while they look up claims is costing you big time, not just in employee salaries, but also in lost productive time.

 

What if there was a highly effective, inexpensive way to motivate insurance companies to contact you regarding those claims? What if you didn’t have to waste the time of your employees “on-hold?” What if you could get an answer or your money more quickly?

 

Transworld Systems, a sponsored program with the AMA, a Preferred Vendor with the MGMA, and the largest collector of medical debt in the US, has a unique Insurance Resolution service that you can use to make these things a reality. For a low flat fee per claim, you can have them contact the insurance companies for you. When the insurance companies are contacted by a third party such as Transworld Systems, they will treat the inquiry with much higher priority than they will when they are contacted by your practice or a hospital. When receiving a third party inquiry, they are required to escalate the inquiry to a supervisor, and then have the supervisor contact your practice to resolve the claim.

It’s quick, it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy. And best of all, you can have your “on-hold” person spend their time on something less frustrating and more profitable for your practice.

It is just one of a whole suite of services that Transworld Systems can provide for your practice to help you get paid faster by both patients and insurance companies. Contact me for a free 30 minute demonstration of their services and a no-obligation analysis of your Accounts Receivable. Call me at 888-780-1333, or email me at davidhwiener@gmail.com.

A Warning You Need to Read: Don’t Believe in Something For Nothing!

14 Jan

Many businesses have been told by their collection agency that they can provide free collections to them simply by adding the percentage fee onto the debtor’s balance as “the cost of collections”  In other words, promising prospective customers “something for nothing.”  With the high cost of collection agencies, this is a very tempting offer for a business who needs to collect their money and hesitates at paying an agency their typical 30-50% fee for collecting.

DON’T BELIEVE IT!!

First of all, the match doesn’t work anyway.  If the fee is 50% and the agency or the client adds the 50% back into the bill before it is collected, the client will only receive 50% of the new balance, which is not the full amount (only 75% of the original bill)

More importantly than that, the agency is tempting you to violate Federal Laws against usury.  The agency is setting themselves, AND POTENTIALLY YOU, up for a law suit and stiff fines and penalties.  Even if you put a statement to that effect into your financial policy, you may not charge these percentages to recoup your collection fees.

Please take a moment to read this article, copied from the ACA International (American Collector’s Association) website about a recent court case against such an unscrupulous agency.

Court Rules Against Collecting Percentage-Based Fees

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that charging consumers a percentage
of their account balance as a collection fee is a violation of the FDCPA unless
the consumer explicitly agreed to pay a percentage-based fee.

In a Jan. 2, 2014, ruling, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that a collection
agency may not collect a fee based on a percentage of the account balance if the
original contract between the consumer and creditor did not specify the consumer
would be responsible for a percentage-based fee.

In the case, Bradley v. Franklin Collection Service Inc., the consumer plaintiff had
signed a patient agreement when receiving medical treatment that stated, “In the
event of nonpayment… I agree to pay all costs of collection, including a reasonable
attorney’s fee…” The creditor subsequently added a 33-1/3 percent fee (reflecting
the contractually agreed upon fee between the creditor and the collection agency)
before forwarding the account to the collection agency.

The court ruled that the plaintiff, “agreed to pay the actual costs of collection; his
contractual agreement with [creditor] did not require him to pay a collection agency’s
percentage-based fee where that fee did not correlate to the costs of collection.”
The court found that the percentage-based fee, assessed before the collection
agency’s attempt to collect, was not related to the agency’s actual cost of collection,
thus breaching the agreement between the consumer and the creditor. Therefore,
the court held that the collection agency violated the FDCPA by collecting the 33-1/3
percent fee when the consumer only agreed to pay the actual costs of collection.

© 2014 ACA International

In other cases, medical practices, along with the agency, were charged under racketeering laws for the very same offense.  The fines and penalties that they were required to pay were astronomical.

Please, let me show you a way to avoid the percentages charged by these collection agencies, without running afoul of the law, and while collecting more money than they do in the process.

Respond to me through the form below and I will rush you the information on how to avoid these kinds of unscrupulous methods and still collect more of your hard earned money.

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