The Physician's Business Planning Calendar: May and June

April 29, 2014

As a physician, your business plan should encompass more than just "see more patients and work harder."

In a previous column we provided a sample outline  to help organize your year and the manner in which you approach many of the vital business and legal issues we've previously covered in a way that is time efficient and realistic. As we've discussed, this is not written in stone and can and should be adjusted to the realities of your own practice and the areas that need attention first. This month we take a quick look back at what you might have addressed so far and provide detail on issues to address before summer.

What should already be done

1.A check of your personal credit. In the age of ID theft and online fraud doing this with some regularity is vital. I can't tell you how many clients have discovered only when applying for a loan or conducting some other credit related business that someone has a home or auto loan or more commonly credit cards that have been opened in their name, destroying or reducing their credit. If you don't have some kind of credit monitoring plan in place, now's a good time to reconsider it.

2.You should have reviewed your HR liabilities. This means having a professionally drafted employment manual in place, ELPI insurance and should either have completed or be in process of conducting employee performance reviews. If you have a problem with an employee you need to have a specific timeframe and actions steps to address it and either correct the problem or terminate any problem employees. Finally, you should have conducted a review of your employee credentialing and should be confident that all employees that require any special credentialing have obtained it or are in process of doing so and that you have paperwork documenting this. Relying on what you've been told is often financially fatal; trust, but verify.

3.You should have a business plan for 2014 in place. This will help you identify your revenue goals and the action steps that are required to actually achieve them. Few doctors approach how much money they want or need to make with a real plan other than, "see more patients and work harder."

4.Examine both your personal and professional insurance coverage including the various types of specialty liability insurance  we have covered and get a personal liability umbrella policy of at least $1 million in place. The best asset protection is always done by managing risk and following best practices, not by managing crisis.

5.Your taxes should be filed and paid unless you filed an extension. If you did file and extension your estimated tax payments should have been mailed out along with any estimated quarterly withholding payments your CPA has instructed you make. You should also be addressing the specific list of issues that you need to address or documents to locate for your CPA who will need to file the extended return; waiting until September and running another 11th hour tax fire-drill, a common doctor practice, simply robs you of the best advice, allowable deductions, and tax savings.

New business

1. Many of the boards you serve on may adjourn for the summer or go a light schedule. This is a great time to verify that any corporate, professional, school, religious or foundation board you serve on has both an in-force insurance policy that covers your service as a board member and a written indemnity policy that says they will defend you. Get copies of both in writing.

2.Take a look back at any significant purchases, investments or changes in your assets. Have you sold something valuable or taken a distribution from a business or investment? If you have, consider where that asset is and if it is exposed to your personal and professional liability  and if it needs to be moved to some safer place or legal entity in your asset protection plan.

3.Planning that summer trip? Make sure your staff, spouse, and children have a good understanding of what they should and should not be sharing with others and on social media, for a variety of reasons. A low profile is smart for people with high degrees of liability, it will also help protect your home and bank accounts while you are gone, if your teenage daughter doesn't post, "OMG We are going to EUROPE for TWO WEEKS on the last day of School!!!!!" on her Facebook page.