Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Solve the Doctor Problem

I spent a consoling hour this morning on the receiving end of the ministrations of a Palookaville physical therapist.  Unlike your dentist or the anesthesiologist, these masseuse-types can actually carry on a conversation while they work you over.  And when she found out I (used to be) a bankruptcy lawyer, the conversation just naturally turned into a discussion of doctors and other med pros who go broke.  Interesting part is, we didn't discuss malpractice--does it just not happen any more?  Or is it all farmed out to the carrier.  Anyway, no, the discussion today was of straight economic failure.  Which could mean young doctors who feel they've deprived themselves for too long and begin their post-student lives by tanking up on fancy toys.

More often, though, so I learn, it's the guy who gets nailed by an embezzler: apparently there is a non-zero quantum of cases where Palookaville practitioners have furnished the penitentiaries with once- (seemingly) loyal bookkeepers, office managers and such like who helped themselves to the swirling river of cash that floats through a medical office.

Reimbursements.  Co-pays, especially cash co-pays  And taxes.  Oh lordy, taxes. The kind that don't go in bankruptcy not (hardly) ever.   Income taxes.  Payroll taxes.  The list does go on and on, eh?  Why you need a good bookkeeper.  And honest.

Bear with me, we are getting to the kicker here.  But for background: forget all my snide cracks about Palookaville, it's actually a pretty nice place.  Yet I hear tell of one Palookaville practioner who has pulled up stakes and moved his wife and three daughters to--well, I suppose I ought to be a little coy here.  Let's just say it is not Western Kansas and it is not Owsley County, Kentucky, but it might as well be.  Indeed I suspect maybe people in destination X sometimes dream of getting to Western Kansas or Owsley County.

Why, you ask?  Why leave the delights of Palookaville for internal exile to our own homegrown Moldava?  The answer is they bailed him out.  I'm foggy on the details, but apparently they needed a doctor so bad that they agreed to stump up the money to get this particular fiscal monkey off his therapeutic back.  "I wonder," said my interlocutor, "how his wife is going to take it when she figures out where he has moved their daughters."

1 comment:

Taxmom said...

Doctors, but even moreso other health professions that seem to take more cash in and rely less on insurance reimbursements (think ortho, DDS, vet, phys therapy maybe) seem to be at high risk for embezzlement. We've had a couple high profile ones in the news locally over the past few years, and those are just the ones that made the headlines.