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IRS Phone Scammers Threaten Taxpayers Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey B. Kramer, CPA   
Thursday, 02 June 2016 00:00

Many taxpayers have received what they thought were phone calls from IRS agents demanding immediate tax payments.  These calls are from scammers trying to extort payments from innocent taxpayers.  According to the IRS, phone scams continue to be a serious issue.  The scammers use different scripts but in most cases the callers threaten taxpayers with arrest or court action if a payment is not immediately made to the IRS.  These scams are common throughout the country, especially in South Florida.  In fact, during May five suspects were arrested in Miami for defrauding 1,500 victims of nearly $2 million.

It seems so unlikely that a caller would be able to impersonate an IRS agent and convince a taxpayer that a problem exists and collect a payment.  Since many fear the IRS, and because the IRS impersonators are aggressive and threatening, some taxpayers have fallen for the scam and paid money to avoid threatened IRS prosecution.

According to the IRS website, phone scams remain on their “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season.  According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, if you receive an unexpected phone call from the IRS, then you are probably not hearing from the IRS.  Rest assured that the IRS generally sends mail correspondence a number of times before attempting to call a taxpayer.  Additionally, the IRS does not demand payment without first giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal any amount they say is due. Additionally, scammers ask for immediate payment using cash, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, MoneyGrams and most recently (and unbelievably) iTunes cards.  The IRS does not demand immediate payment and would not ask for a payment to be made via cash or debit card.  Furthermore, the IRS will never call and threaten to arrest a taxpayer for not paying a tax, request a credit card number over the phone or require the use of a specific payment method to pay taxes.

Many phone scammers have altered or spoofed their caller ID numbers to make it look like the call is coming from the IRS.  They may also have the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), have received reports of roughly 896,000 phone scammer contacts and are aware of over 5,000 victims collectively paying over $26.5 million as a result of scams.  Anyone receiving a call from the IRS demanding payment of taxes should refuse to give out any personal information and should hang up immediately.  Additionally, TIGTA may be called at 1-800-366-4484 or visit the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page.
As tax scams are becoming increasingly more prevalent, individuals should be aware of the methods being used by the scammers to avoid being victimized.


Article by Jeffrey B. Kramer, CPA, Partner at Goldstein Schechter Koch, PA Las Olas Office. Jeff can be reached at or (954) 989-7462.
End-of-life care: New MA survey shows deep chasm between what we know and what we do Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 16 May 2016 00:00

According to a new statewide survey by the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care and published on PR Newswire May 12, 2016:
Eighty-five percent of Massachusetts residents believe that physicians and their patients should talk about end-of-life care - but only 15 percent have actually had such conversations...
Strikingly, even those respondents facing serious illness are reluctant to plan ahead with their care team. Only 25 percent of respondents facing such afflictions reported talking with their physician about end-of-life care...

"These findings are a wake-up call for all of us, clinicians and patients alike," said Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, Co-chair of the Coalition, Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center of Brigham and Women's Hospital andHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End...
"This is about how you want to live, not just about how you want to die," Gawande said. "When clinicians don't talk to people about their priorities for serious illness care, care can become misaligned with what matters to them. And the result is suffering."

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2016 09:25
Population Health Model Poses Challenge to Private Practice Print E-mail
Written by Nicole Lewis | Medical Economics   
Thursday, 12 May 2016 00:00

As the push to implement population health initiatives gets underway, Lonnie Joe, MD, is still mulling over whether his private practice can survive the changes he'll have to make to participate in this emerging model of care.

Like many private practice physicians, Joe, an internist who has been practicing for almost three decades, is trying to tailor his four-year-old group practice in Detroit, Michigan, to meet the defined goals of population health: identifying groups of patients with specific medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or cancer, and implementing a variety of health management approaches to improve these patients' outcomes...

Such an endeavor requires additional staff, better patient engagement and more technology to support population health initiatives.

"Implementing a long-term population health strategy at private practice physicians' offices requires a team-based model of care with skilled personnel and infrastructure, all of which requires adequate financial support," says Nitin Damle, MD, FACP, president-elect of the American College of Physicians.

Read More
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:04
Re-Thinking Your Practice in the Age of Telemedicine Print E-mail
Written by Accountable Care Options, LLC   
Thursday, 12 May 2016 00:00
Are you ready for telemedicine? It’s coming. And it may or may not be a threat to your practice.

The Next-Generation Accountable Care Organization Model incorporates telemedicine, though waivers are being issued for this year. Physicians are expected to evaluate patients through the telephone or via the Web in face-to-face chats. There’s a big push for this service in rural areas of the country.

Here’s how it might work: An insurer emails a patient a link to an app. Once installed, the individual has a video appointment over the Internet with a physician about a minor health problem. The doctor can electronically send a prescription to a pharmacy.

This service is not for life-threatening conditions or complicated disease states -- yet. Some dermatologists are taking high-quality digital images from mobile devices and using them to evaluate patients for cancer. Remote monitoring of a chronic condition is not widespread now, but it will be as more diagnostic equipment becomes Web-enabled.

Having an office visit at anytime from anywhere may be fantastic for patients, but for some physicians that's kind of scary. They’re going to have to start competing with other medical practices, be nimble enough to have their doors open at convenient times and compete with inexpensive healthcare providers.

FaceTime is HIPAA-compliant, but it can be challenging for physicians to incorporate it into their practices. How do you remain marketable and competitive? Do you want to offer telemedicine? If you don't, somebody else will.

Telemedicine is being marketed to physicians who don't want the typical schedule. They may be retired physicians and want to work a couple of hours for extra income or seek a schedule that frees them from being tied to a facility. They represent competition for a traditional physician practice with an office, nurses, equipment and other overhead.

For retirees, adjusting their schedule to doctors’ office hours is not difficult. But for working people, it’s a big deal, especially when they’re pressed for time and technology has created expectations of immediate gratification. They want a doctor on demand.

Physicians have to decide how to allocate their time and use their staff members to their highest degree of certification. Some patient-care tasks can be delegated so that everyone uses his or her time wisely.

And while doctors probably don’t want to hear this, they’ll have to think about overhauling of the business model of healthcare. They can either adopt telemedicine and succeed, or try and fight it. And let's face it, those who fight it are not going to get very far.
5 Innovators in Women's Health Print E-mail
Written by SFBJ   
Thursday, 12 May 2016 00:00

Betsey Guzior, reporting for the SFBJ yesterday, states:

It's National Women's Health Week, used to highlight the unique needs and challenges women face in wellness, managing chronic conditions and recognizing and preventing diseases.
Here are five women who are making a difference in women's health issues:
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center

Sohila Zadran
, founder of Igantia Therapeutics in San Francisco

Dr. Shelley Hwang
and Dr. Laura Esserman, oncologists

Dr. Michelle Dipp, CEO, Ovascience

Learn what they are doing and why it's important HERE>>

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 17:21
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