Clip and Copy: Dividing expenses in a group

July 25, 2003

You'll have fewer disagreements--and a more equitable division of costs--if who pays what is determined beforehand.

You'll have fewer disagreements—and a more equitable division of costs—if who pays what is determined beforehand.

Physicians in group practices often need to do a detailed analysis of expenses in order to divide them up fairly. "If all expenses are shared equally, some physicians will be paying too much and others too little," says Keith Borglum, a consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, CA. "For instance, doctors who see 16 patients a day use more supplies than doctors who see half as many patients. So you'll probably want to divide supply expenses by productivity. The outlay for a computer service contract, on the other hand, can be shared equally because it's a fixed expense."

The form below, from Medical Practice Forms: Every Form You Need to Succeed, by Borglum and his colleague Diane M. Cate, helps you figure out how to split up expenses equitably. (The book sells for $59.95. To order, call 800-MED-SHOP. The authors can be reached at 707-546-4433.)

Give the form to doctors who join your practice, and be sure to review and revise it periodically. "Suppose your group leases a DEXA machine with the expectation that all physicians will do bone density tests, but two doctors do more of these procedures than other group members," says Borglum. "You'll probably want to allocate lease, maintenance, and supply costs based on productivity—plus have a Stark II compliance review."

The method of "divide by employee share formula" is used if, say, all physicians have an MA but one wants an RN, who commands a higher salary.

Borglum recommends inviting your CPA to assist in drawing up and amending this chart. "The accountant—or your bookkeeper—can assign general ledger categories and prepare a spreadsheet program to automate calculation of expense apportionment per doctor."

—Gail Garfinkel Weiss
Senior Editor

To view the form in Word you must have Word 2000 or better. If you don't have this program you can download the free Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer. (You cannot edit an open document in Word Viewer. However, you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications).

Other forms and patient handouts are available in the Clip and Copy section of our Web site at .

Gail Weiss. Clip and Copy: Dividing expenses in a group.

Medical Economics

Jul. 25, 2003;80:70.