In my practice of representing physicians who are under investigation by the State Medical Board of Ohio, DEA, local law enforcement, and/or their employer, I have seen many professionals struggle with multiple issues. Recently, I have noticed that far too many physicians are in disastrous shape financially. Many physicians have poor money management and/or business management skills that have led them to entering into risky contracts or taking on jobs that they otherwise would have not considered.
Most physicians do not have the time, training, or education to be good money managers and, therefore, generally, many make poor financial decisions. Many physicians enter the practice of medicine deeply in debt with student loans. Many residents live beyond their means in the belief that once they complete their residencies, they will be given lucrative employment contracts. Often, young physicians are so far in debt after completing their training, they are forced to accept work in undesirable practices to pay their debt.
Too often, physicians are also seen as “easy targets” for unscrupulous people. I am always surprised to learn of highly educated physicians who enter into risky business dealings or fail to perform due diligence when purchasing property or entering into a business venture.
I have seen numerous instances in which physicians who are strapped with debt make unwise decisions as to where they will work and who they choose to associate themselves with in their medical practice. Often, these physicians will seek ways to save money in their medical practice that leads to poor patient care or that is contrary to law. Last year, the State Medical Board of Ohio disciplined a number of physicians who (in an effort to save money) purchased non-FDA approved medications from outside of the United States to administer to their patients. These physicians did not realize that they were violating the law by purchasing these medications. Nevertheless, these physicians were each subjected to disciplinary action by the Board.
I have also seen physicians continue to work for high volume practices in which they are constantly pushed to order expensive tests to ensure that the practice is highly compensated. Often, these physicians tell me that they felt trapped in these jobs because the high salaries allow them to pay their debts. I have also seen physicians take “moonlighting” jobs in areas outside of their specialty in an effort to repay debt only to find themselves investigated by the Board or DEA for practicing or prescribing outside of their scope of expertise.
The best way to have choices as a physician is to live within your means and to take the time and effort to do research before joining a particular practice or entering into a particular business dealing. Physicians who are financially strapped risk making poor personal and business decisions that can lead to discipline by the Board or another agency.
A qualified accountant can be of assistance regarding your taxes. A relationship with an attorney can be of benefit when researching a particular job or business venture. A financial planner can offer guidance as to investments. Utilizing these types of individuals allows you as a physician to do what you do best…to practice medicine.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or the State Medical Board of Ohio in general, please contact me at Beth@collislaw.com or call me at 614-486-3909.