What Are the Best Legal Structures for Your Medical Practice Business?
Doctors choose their vocation out of a desire to help people, whether by providing clear diagnoses, effective treatment plans, or strategies to manage chronic conditions. For most medical professionals, the most rewarding part of the job is interacting with patients, and providing viable solutions to their problems and concerns. By contrast, few physicians choose their profession out of a love for business administration or behind-the-scenes management.
With that said, behind-the-scenes administrative concerns are incredibly important to the success of the practice, and ultimately to patient outcomes. It is through careful administration, combined with business savvy, that doctors and practice managers keep their operations financially solvent, enabling them to keep treating patients over the long haul. And, skillful administration ensures the safe and efficient delivery of care. Ideally, it creates an environment in which doctors and nurses can focus most of their attention on patient needs, day in and day out.
To achieve these administrative goals, it’s important for doctors and practice managers to think carefully about the legal structure of their business. There are a number of options available, and they have different implications for how the practice is taxed, how it might handle lawsuits, and more.
At the same time, some business structures require more setup than others. For instance, if you wanted to establish an LLC in the Lone Star State, you’d have to take some time to locate a registered agent for your LLC in Texas.
The bottom line: Choosing the best legal structure for your medical practice can improve your financial standing and minimize administrative burdens, all of which empower physicians and benefit patients. The question is, what is the best legal structure for your medical practice?
Choosing the Right Legal Structure for Your Practice
Consider a few of the options, and what each one would mean for the administration of your medical practice.
Establishing your medical practice as a Sole Proprietorship is probably the easiest option, especially if you are a solo practitioner.
The quick and easy setup is appealing but be warned that setting up a Sole Proprietorship has its downsides. That’s because this business structure does not recognize any legal separation between the business and the business owner; in the eyes of the law, you and your practice would be indistinguishable. This means that any debts, liabilities, or obligations that the practice takes on become your personal debts, liabilities, and obligations. It also means that, if a lawsuit is brought against the practice, it could affect your personal assets, finances, and property. (And thus, your family’s financial well-being.)
Simply due to the high likelihood of lawsuits within the medical profession, especially malpractice cases, Sole Proprietorship is not recommended for most doctors. There is simply too much legal and financial risk.
Another option that’s available to medical practices is the Limited Liability Corporation or LLC. For those in private practice, this is often the best option. On the one hand, it provides a higher level of legal protection than the Sole Proprietorship. At the same time, LLCs are a bit easier to manage than some of the other legal structures that we’ll discuss momentarily.
One of the main reasons why the LLC for doctors is such a sensible option is that it allows some separation between the business and your personal assets. The upshot is that should a lawsuit be brought against your practice, all of your personal finances and properties are fully protected.
There are also potential tax incentives for choosing the LLC structure. LLCs offer a “pass-through” tax structure, meaning you’ll pay taxes as the business owner but the business itself will not owe anything. In other words, you can avoid the “double taxation” that other legal structures risk. And, in most cases, you will be able to avoid corporate tax rates.
Finally, LLCs offer plenty of flexibility. You can choose to be active in the management of your practice or bring in other partners to handle more of the day-to-day work. In other words, LLCs provide doctors with some control over just how much administrative oversight they have in the business.
Alternatively, you could structure your practice as a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC).
In many ways, this structure resembles the LLC, including the pass-through tax option. The main distinction is that some states actually don’t allow you to form an LLC in a profession that requires professional licensure (and the medical service obviously qualifies). As such, the PLLC structure may be the best option.
Doctors may also opt to start a Professional Corporation (PC) but be warned that these businesses do not have the pass-through option. In other words, a PC is always taxed at the corporate tax rate, which may not be the most desirable option.
A final option for doctors to consider is the S-Corp.
S-Corps will allow you to enjoy the same pass-through tax benefits you’d get from an LLC. However, managing an S-Corp requires a little bit more hands-on effort, including financial disclosures, regular meetings of shareholders, and more.
Like the LLC, an S-Corp will offer certain legal protections, particularly in instances where a lawsuit is brought against the practice. Clearly, there are some perks, but for doctors who want something that’s a little more low-maintenance and easier to establish, the S-Corp may be a little too complicated.
Making a Wise Choice About Your Legal Structure
The average physician may have limited interest in the legal implications of practice ownership. And yet, choosing the right structure can be an important way to ensure the long-term viability of your practice, and the ease of managing it. Be mindful of the benefits of the LLC, in particular, while also taking the time to explore the other available options.
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Oyo Introduces Mobile App to Track Waste Collection
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A mobile app designed to monitor waste management, especially to track waste collection, has been introduced by the Oyo State government.
This is part of a new step geared towards simplifying waste management in the pace-setter state and making it one of the cleanest states in the country.
The Oyo State Waste Management Consultant, Mottainai Recycling, unveiled the app on Thursday in Ibadan, the state capital.
The Chief Strategy Officer of Mottainai Recycling, Ms Uloma Airhienbuwa, disclosed that the easy-to-use application would help track the ‘movement and management’ of hazardous and other solid wastes.
According to her, the waste management app, which can be downloaded on all smart devices, is designed with user convenience and sustainability, offering several key features to facilitate waste and recycling pickup requests.
“The app also offers clarity on when your waste is picked up and by whom; and an ability to pay your waste bill,” she said.
Speaking further, Ms Airhienbuwa hinted that it also has a fun and transparent way of incentivizing waste sorting, noting that, “The app has a user-friendly interface. It provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows waste generators to easily navigate and make pickup requests with just a few taps.”
“Users can initiate waste pickup requests through the app by specifying the type of waste, quantity, and preferred pickup date and time.
“Users can either make this an on-demand request or create an ideal pickup schedule for themselves. This feature enables efficient scheduling and coordination between Mottainai and users,” she added, stating that, “The app incorporates GPS technology to enable users to locate their specific waste-pickup location.”
“To incentivize waste sorting, the app incorporates a points-based system. Users earn points based on the accuracy of their waste sorting and responsible disposal practices.
“Accumulated points can be redeemed for various rewards, such as discounts on waste management services or donations to a charity organization of your choice,” Ms Airhienbuwa stated.
She said the app is continually being developed to ensure users a seamless experience for pickup requests, tracking the progress of pickups and payments and receiving rewards.
Oyo Task Force Arrests 4,000 Environmental Offenders, Generates N30m as Fines
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
No fewer than 4,000 environmental offenders have been apprehended by the Oyo State Environmental Task Force since its creation.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the organisation, Mr Ojomo Francis, during a chat on Wednesday in Ibadan, the state capital.
He explained that some of the offenders were committed to community service after trial, while others paid fines to the tune of N30 million to the coffers of the Oyo State Government.
Mr Ojomo, who is also the Waste Enforcement Officer, urged the public to obey the environmental laws of the state, stressing that this will sustain the healthiness and good neighbourliness in the society.
He added that item 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations places a premium on sanitation and a sustainable environment.
Mr Ojomo appealed to Nigerians, especially residents of Oyo State, to pay attention to cleaning their environment, as the Task Force is watching everyone, reiterating the commitment of the state government towards ensuring a healthy and safe environment.
“This is not the first time we have appealed to members of the public to obey our environmental laws so that we will have sustained peace and health in our society.
“Item 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations places a premium on sanitation and a sustainable environment. We do not need to attend any formal school to take care of our environment in our interest,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Environmental Protection Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan on Wednesday, convicted five offenders for violating environmental laws in the state.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Jubreel Kareem, while speaking with journalists, disclosed that during monitoring in Ibadan, the five offenders were arrested.
He said two of the offenders, Olanrewaju Deola and Funmilayo Ayoola, were found disposing of wastes illegally at unauthorized places; they also failed to provide a standard refuse drum contrary to Oyo State Environmental Laws, 2013.
The persons admitted to having committed the offences and were convicted to three months of imprisonment or an option of fines of N5,000, N2,500, and N2,500, each.
Another offender, Olabisi Olatunde, who was caught at Preboyes, along UI-Bodija, dumping refuse on the median, pleaded guilty. The tribunal thereafter fined her N7,500.
In the same vein, John Blessing and Ali Sumaiya were caught illegally displaying goods by the roadside at Mokola.
The Tribunal ruled that this is against Section 2 sub-section 14 of the Oyo State Waste Management Law of 2014 and, after that, fined them N2,500 each.
The head of the Tribunal further warned the offenders not to violate the environmental laws of the State henceforth, saying this will serve as a lesson to them and others.
AXA Mansard Health Offers Hilda Baci Free Heath Insurance
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
To support a Nigerian chef, Ms Hilda Baci, who is cooking in Lagos to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest Cooking Time, the country’s biggest Health Management Organisation (HMO), AXA Mansard Health, has offered a one-year free Gold Health Insurance for her.
In a message, the HMO noted that this is to boost the morale of the 27-year-old chef and give her the confidence to progress to the end, despite the exhaustion that might have come with 70 hours of cooking she has already put in.
“Dear Hilda, you’re doing amazing! We see your determination, and we Know You Can.
“AXA Mansard Health solidly supports you. We know that when you feel secure, you can progress. So, we are supporting you with one-year Gold Health Insurance.
“We trust this can strengthen you more in the pursuit of this world record for yourself and the millions of women you inspire every day and our dear country.
“We hope this support will inspire you and serve as an additional elixir to the millions of support that you already enjoy across the world today and always. Wishing her all the best,” the company said.
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