Preparing to buy a dental practice may seem like a daunting task. There are many considerations, many of which usually require an expert opinion and guidance. Buying a dental practice involves legal, financing, real estate, and accounting expertise, at the very least, to ensure a smooth deal with the buyer being protected. Here’s what to consider:
Buying a practice usually means buying the assets of the practice, rather than the corporation itself. In any event, the buyer is taking a significant financial and legal risk and just like any other purchase, you want to make sure that you are getting what you paid for and not any (or at least as little as possible) of the baggage. Every dental transaction should include a well-drafted and thorough purchase agreement which includes substantial representations and warranties by the seller, thorough lists of included and excluded assets, terms addressing restrictive covenants, and disclosures about any potential liabilities affecting the practice. In addition, some transactions might require a portion of the purchase price to be seller financed. In that case, there will be a need for a promissory note and security agreement. As the deal progresses, there might be a need for additional documents to cover an assignment of rights for certain licenses, contracts, and other. Among other things, the final document signed includes a bill a sale, which is like a receipt for the buyer evidencing the sale of the assets.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other similar “body hacking” treatments have expanded significantly over the years. With more and more people choosing alternative treatments to common ailments, these practices have experienced explosive growth in response to the demand. But what does it take to open one of these businesses and how risky can it be?
Understanding the Regulations
Healthcare businesses, especially in Florida, are heavily regulated. Even as a typically cash-only business, owners must stay aware of the ever-changing regulations. First, Florida and Federal anti-kickback laws affect cash-only businesses in regard to patient referrals. They also apply to laboratory referrals. Florida law has additional regulations against physician ownership in certain entities. In this case, ownership in an HRT business and a lab or pharmacy that you refer to could put you in violation of a number of Florida and Federal laws. While many HRT businesses offer other treatments that are not just hormones, the big draw is hormones, which are considered controlled substances. Prescribing controlled substances requires certain patient evaluation standards, prescribing standards, and pharmacy standards.
A company is considered a legal entity and recognized by both the IRS and the State. Depending on the number of owners and type of business, different options exist regarding entity type. Specifically, most healthcare businesses choose a limited liability company, corporation or a professional association, depending on the type of owner. Once you choose the appropriate type of entity, you’ll want to meet with your CPA to discuss taxation of the entity and how that affects the owners personally. Equally as important as choosing the right entity is ensuring that all corporate documents are appropriately buttoned up and protecting the owners.
As a business owner, you’ll need additional business, state, county, and city government licensure to do business. Florida has many counties, each with different rules. You may need local tax licenses depending upon your offerings and services as well. In addition to business licenses, you will need to either maintain a Florida medical license or contract a physician to treat patients.
Starting a successful practice begins months before with business planning. Develop a business plan for financing purposes, gather information regarding day-to-day operations, explore different financing options, develop a practice culture, assess bringing on any partners, and other practice considerations. You will also want to ensure that all of your patient and staffing policies are well thought out and comprehensive.
Trademarks and Branding
People recognize businesses by their logos, name, service, or specialists. Protecting your brand is just as important as building your business. Utilizing Federal or State trademark protections is just one method of building and creating your brand. This is at least a six (6) month process, so the earlier you evaluate your intellectual property, the better.
Once you’ve built the foundations of your new practice, protecting its assets should be high on your priority list.
In a high-earning business, you want to take all the necessary steps to ensure your business looks like and functions as an entity separate from yourself individually. With partners, the right agreements and actions will ensure that the company is treated as a legitimate entity.
While these are some of the biggest considerations, there are many more to opening and operating a successful HRT business.
On March 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Civil Liability for Damages Related to COVID-19 Act” into law. The Act was designed to shield businesses from COVID-19 liability claims, and includes a specific section dedicated to protecting healthcare providers. While the protections for healthcare providers are not as robust as those granted to other businesses, the immunity provided by the law (Florida Statutes s768.381) is significant.
The protections apply to virtually all Florida healthcare providers, regardless of whether they are individuals, agencies, or facilities; and cover all “COVID-19 related claims.” The types of claims covered are those arising from:
Medical Spas nationwide, but specifically in Florida, have been opening up at a staggering pace. For many reasons, including new services, technological advances, and lax regulations, the opportunities for medical spa businesses are endless.
In 2010, there were about 1,600 medspas operating in the United States generating about $1.1 billion in revenue (about $700,000 per medspa on average). By 2018, these numbers increased to over 5,000 medspas generating about $7 billion-$8 billion in revenue (about $1.4 million per medspa on average). The number is expected to grow to over 10,000 medspas by 2023 with about $18 billion-$20.7 billion in revenue.
While medical spa owners have taken advantage of these opportunities, state authorities have yet to keep up. The medical spa industry is largely unregulated, whether that be due to the nature of the services provided, or the explosive growth in this alternative type of medical clinic. On top of that, there’s been a expansion in scope of practice and supervision requirements for certain providers, including nurse practitioners.
In today’s practices there are many circumstances that call for the discarding of unused portion of drugs, and because of this drug waste can be a big-money issue for many practices. A perfect example is Botox which must be used within five hours of reconstitution, and if it is not used within that timeframe the only option a provider has is to discard the unused supply. What many providers may not be aware of though is that money can be recouped for drugs that have been discarded. The aim of this article is to educate providers that when applicable they may report drug waste in addition to the drug and its administration for Medicare Part B claim reimbursement.
How to Properly Report
For a provider to recoup and report the drug waste they must report the administered drug using the appropriate HCPCS Level II supply code, and the correct number of units in box24D of the CMS-1500 form. As a second line-item providers will want to enter all of the wasted units. It is very important to ensure that the provider documentation verifies the exact dosage of the drug injected, and the exact amount of and any reason for waste. Be aware If the provider did not assume the cost of the drug or administer the drug to the patient they may not bill for the unused portion.
In addition to listing the wasted units as a second line-item certain local contractors may require you to use the modifier JW Drug amount discarded/not administered to any patient to identify an unused drug from single-use vials or single-use packages that are appropriately discarded. Be aware that is inappropriate to use the modifier JW with an unlisted drug code. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of the local contractor requirements, and appropriate drug codes.
Due to the increasing number of forms being required these days it is all too common for practices to get lost in the vast terminology, rules, and coding requirements that have to be followed as well. An area that practices have one of the most difficult times with is operationalizing the issuance of an ABN properly. I am frequently asked to consult for practices that ask who does which part, when, and with whom in regards to ABNs? In other instances, many practices I have worked with simply make the mistake that they can solve the complexities of trying to understand the nuances of how to properly utilize ABNs by deciding to issue ABNs to every Medicare patient for every service which is not a viable option either. The solution that many offices try that I just described is called issuing blanket ABNs, which in turn may cause Medicare to invalidate all issued ABNs from the practice, including those that may been appropriate which is why it is very important that blanket ABNs are never issued.
One thing in common with practices that issue ABNs in a proper manner is that they all have a process in place for identifying potential denied services prior to delivering them. To many practices this may sound easy, but to ensure that your practice is as effective as possible it will take some claims data analysis to ensure that your practice is capturing all potential opportunities for ABN issuance. The aim of this article will be to provide practices with 5 steps that will make ABN issuance easier.
In most cases, the limited liability company, or LLC, is the preferred business structure for a wide variety of healthcare businesses. If you’re a licensed professional, you can also use the professional limited liability company, or PLLC for your healthcare practice or business. While generally these two entity types are the same, there’s a small difference to be aware of when organizing the company.
A 2018 Department of Justice civil settlement involving a Florida interventional pain physician was a cliff hanger when it surfaced, especially vis a vis the issue of the so-called Company Model, where anesthesiologists and referring physicians jointly owned an anesthesia provider. The Daitch settlement involved interventional pain specialists who settled the case for $2.8 Million. There, the government claimed that a mass of urine drug tests weren’t reasonable or medically necessary. But the issue buried in the settlement call the issue of intertwined medical businesses and the Company Model into question.
The so-called Company Model involves the formation of a company that provides anesthesia services. It’s jointly owned by anesthesiologists and referring physicians. Theoretically, on a Monday, the anesthesiologists own the anesthesia practice and bill for all anesthesia services performed at a GI lab or ASC. On a Tuesday, however, the new company (jointly owned by the same anesthesiologists and the referring physicians) steps in and starts billing for the anesthesia services, thus indirectly sharing a part of the profits with the physicians who are generating the anesthesia referrals.
Health law is the federal, state, and local law, rules, regulations and other jurisprudence among providers, payers and vendors to the healthcare industry and its patient and delivery of health care services; all with an emphasis on operations, regulatory and transactional legal issues.