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Improving your financial fortune


During these challenging economic times, many medical professionals are re-examining their personal and professional finances.

From time to time my wife and I have discussed how much longer we could-or should-continue to do so. Chances are that you, or someone you know, are grappling with the same issue, as the sputtering economy makes it difficult for young people (and many others) to find full-time jobs. If so, you will want to read the essay by financial adviser Dave Polstra, CPA, CFP, CIMA, "Let them paddle their own canoes."

Polstra eloquently addresses the questions of for how long, and under what circumstances, parents ought to help their adult children. "If we're not careful," he warns, "enabling our children financially may negatively impact our own retirement lifestyles."

Dan Danford, MBA, CRSP, examines the pros and cons of converting a conventional IRA to a Roth IRA, and I report on the latest advice to help you decide whether to buy long-term care insurance. If you haven't begun planning for retirement, Daniel Kramer and Michael McLaughlin, MD, provide a roadmap for assessing where you stand financially, where you want to be in the future, and how to get there.

While planning for future financial security is important, you also have a practice to run today, and several articles deal with practice management issues. J. Leigh Griffith, JD, LLM, CPA, looks at the impact of the Small Employer Medical Insurance Tax Credit, while Keith Borglum, CHBC, explains why working capital is important to a business. Rounding out the issue, Barry Oliver, CPA, PFS, provides some useful tips on tax planning for next year and the years beyond.

As always, our goal at Medical Economics is to supply you with timely information you can apply to your practice and your life-whether it's changing your retirement plan or having that heart-to-heart chat with the adult son or daughter you've been helping financially.

As for my son, I'm happy to say he recently found a full-time job, with benefits, and is now supporting himself. Here's hoping you find success in your finances, too.

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Taking stock

With 2010 drawing to a close, now is a good time to review your finances and prepare for changes that may lie ahead. In this issue, we provide advice from experts on a range of topics, starting with a look at some popular types of retirement plans. We also explain how cashflow affects your practice's success and give you strategies to minimize your taxes and protect your assets if you should need long-term care.


A good consent form can serve as solid evidence in a legal case against you alleging lack of informed consent. Its existence even may scare off a plaintiff's attorney. We provide several points to consider to help you make and use your forms as effectively as possible.


You are not alone if you are worried that the decision to eliminate reimbursement for consultation codes is affecting patient care. Read the results of a recent survey, learn about efforts to address the issue, and find out how to communicate your concerns to CMS.


Are you considering selling a majority stake in an ambulatory surgery or imaging center to your local hospital? Not a good idea if you want to maintain control over the center's operations, says consultant Judy Bee in our Practice Management Q&A section.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health