While many consumers struggle to make payments on their
medical bills, there are doctors facing a similar struggle; except it involves keeping
their businesses afloat. The American Bankruptcy Institute's health
care committee has noticed a spike in Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by
doctors with 8 being filed in recent weeks alone. Industry experts have
noticed the trend increasing over the years for many reasons.
Eight filings in recent weeks may not sound like much but some experts
say this is unusual. Doctors such as orthopedic surgeons, OB/GYN and other
physicians who run their own medical practice are seeking bankruptcy protection.
Most cases filed have nothing to do with malpractice lawsuits, with various
medical professionals being considered "top-notch" in their
field or specialty. Many doctors who seek protection do so due to being
unable to meet financial needs, with tightened regulations and standards
making it more of a challenge for doctors to obtain payment for services
The economy is also taking a toll on revenue earned. Consumers have cut
back on doctor visits or choose not to have certain procedures completed,
especially if they can't afford to or lack insurance coverage. Business
costs for doctors have increased over the years with more paying higher
malpractice insurance premiums, drugs, and other business expenditures.
Shrinking insurance reimbursements are also to blame. Primary care physicians
are struggling to stay afloat with patients who have little or no health
Few doctors even admitted to taking on a side job to help cover operation
tax debt becomes another issue. Two years ago, a Florida-based primary care physician
filed an emergency bankruptcy petition when state tax officials showed
up to shut down her clinic. When officials came, she contacted her attorney
over the phone and the petition was completed online with the officials
in the waiting room area. Once they received the bankruptcy case number
the clinic was able to stay open. The physician is using the filing to
restructure debt and business finances.