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Pinnacle Blog

  • Visit Pinnacle Healththcare Consulting at the Upcoming Fraud and Compliance Forum

    Crabby from Compliance Concerns?

     With a 300% average ROI and powerful tools to help make defensible decisions about physician relationships, the Physician FMV Program helps take away the CRABBY and makes determining physician fair market value look like CAKE!

    Visit Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting at the Upcoming Fraud & Compliance Forum!

    September 25-27th, 2011

    Renaissance Harborplace Hotel

    Baltimore, MD

    The Fraud and Compliance Forum is jointly sponsored by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).  It will include an explicit designation of a session as ‘compliance focused’ or ‘legal focused.’  The Fraud and Compliance Forum has the benefit of combining the quality of HCCA and AHLA sessions with the expanded networking power of a combined program. 

     Register online:

    With Physician FMV, You Can:

    • Obtain FMV compensation rates for over 70 physician specialties for employment, call and medical directorships
    • Search a national database of hospital-physician relationships
    • Generate FMV reports online
    • Elevate Medicare and IRS compliance
    • Save time with better information
    • Reduce costs with enhanced knowledge

    The Physician FMV Program dramatically reduces the complexity of determining physician fair market value.  The Program helps you build internal capacity and provides you with more control over the contracting process with powerful information and proprietary tools to help you make defensible decisions about physician relationships.

    Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting provides a range of strategic, financial and operational services to improve clinical and business performance for hospitals, health systems, physician groups and other healthcare organizations.  Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting is a nationally recognized leader in business valuation, physician compensation, medical staff planning, performance improvement and compliance support.  Other divisions of Pinnacle provide physician practice management, medical bill/coding, and technology/integration support services.  Pinnacle’s array of specialized and highly responsive client services promote advanced innovation while our dynamic team solidifies strong client relationships and assists in solving your most complex challenges. 

    Contact Us Today – 303.801.0123 or

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     Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting seeks an Analyst for its rapidly growing healthcare consulting practice.

     The Analyst will help develop analytical models, perform market analysis/research and support report letter development for advisory projects for both private and public entities in the healthcare industry.  These entities may be hospitals and health systems, physician groups, ancillary clinics, publicly-traded companies, etc.  This position offers professional growth to the motivated candidate.  This candidate will work closely with several team members and report to a Senior Consultant with Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting. 

     The ideal candidate will possess a Masters degree in Business, Healthcare Administration or Public Health.  Bachelor degree candidates will be considered.  The candidate should possess strong organizational abilities to handle multiple projects and meet ongoing deadlines; demonstrated effective oral, written and interpersonal communication abilities; and a strong understanding and proficiency with Microsoft Excel. The successful candidate must be committed to staying at the cutting edge of healthcare regulations, financial best practices and ethical standards. Salary will be commensurate with experience and market findings. Pinnacle offers a comprehensive benefits package including a 401k with an employer match.


    • Support healthcare related projects, physician compensation, employment arrangements, complex contract arrangements, etc.
    • Analysis of healthcare data, including, but not limited to, physician productivity, practice/service line profit and loss information, industry structure and trends, economic factors impacting industry, impact of healthcare regulations, etc.
    • Report letter generation and detailed financial modeling.
    • Documentation of all work thoroughly and accurately.
    • Review of all work for validity, accuracy of data and professional appearance.
    • Demonstrate teamwork and responsibility with engagement project team members.
    • Stay abreast of current business and economic developments relevant to the client’s business; and use current technology and tools to enhance the effectiveness of services provided.

    Qualification Requirements

    • Masters or Bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business administration with emphasis in healthcare, or finance.
    • Demonstrated aptitude in quantitative and qualitative analysis.
    • 1-3 years experience in healthcare administration or consulting – preferred.
    • Well developed understanding of health care industry and in-depth understanding of health care data and the methods of data analysis.
    • Ability to prioritize and manage concurrent projects, demonstrate initiative and work independently with moderate supervision.
    • Excellent analytical, project-management, communication, interpersonal, and teaming skills.
    • PC proficiency including MS Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

     About Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting

    Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting, a member of The Pinnacle Group, provides a range of consultative services to hospitals, health systems, physicians and publicly traded companies. Pinnacle maintains a client network across the country.  For more information please visit  a Resume with cover letter and references can be e-mailed to, (please, no calls).

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  • Welcoming Alana Erickson, CPC to Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting

    The Pinnacle Group is excited to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Alana Erickson, a recent addition to the Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting team as a Revenue Cycle & Coding Consultant.

    Alana Erickson serves as a practice management and coding consultant with Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting, which continues to add depth and value to revenue cycle reviews.  She brings over 21 years of experience in various healthcare management positions to assist hospitals, physician practices and other provider organizations with performance improvement needs.  Alana’s expertise spans the spectrum of healthcare delivery in metropolitan, rural, hospital and physician practice settings.  She offers a wealth and variety of knowledge in practice management and operations as well as revenue cycle management services including compliance, physician practice audits, physician billing guidelines, practice management, and electronic health record (EHR) systems analysis/implementations.

     Alana’s professional background includes director roles, where she was responsible for physician relationships, information technology and business support for critical access hospitals and rural health clinics.  Past roles also include service as liaison or consultant for specialty groups in health system EHR implementation projects.  She served as a practice administrator for a medium sized cardiology and cardiovascular surgical group, where she managed strategic planning, daily operations, third-party contracting, system implementations, financial management, benefits administration, and management of staff and key relationships.  Most notably, Alana’s experience boasts management of all business operations for a multi-specialty group of 80+ physicians.  With Alana’s array of capabilities, she has assisted in providing strategic and operational management, physician recruitment, rollout of practice management and EHR systems, human resources and a variety of key services necessary for integration.  


    • Physician Practice and Billing Guideline Audits
    • Revenue Cycle Process Improvement
    • Practice Management and Operations
    • Practice Management Systems and EHR
    • Contracting
    • Credentialing

     Professional Designations and Affiliations

    • CPC, American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
    • Provider Outreach Education Advisory Group Member, Noridian Government Services
    • Program Committee, Colorado Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)


    • BS, University of Colorado, Boulder
    • Electronic Medical Records Adoption (EMRA) Certificate, North Idaho College

    The Pinnacle Group provides a range of strategic, financial and operational services to improve clinical and business performance for hospitals, health systems, physician groups and other healthcare organizations.  Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting is a nationally recognized leader in business valuation, physician compensation, medical staff planning, performance improvement and compliance support.  Other divisions of Pinnacle provide physician practice management, medical bill/coding, and technology/integration support services.  Pinnacle’s array of specialized and highly responsive client services promote advanced innovation while our dynamic team solidifies strong client relationships and assists in solving your most complex challenges. 

    Contact Us Today – 303.801.0123 or

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  • Pinnacle Perspective – Upcoming Events, About the Team and About The Pinnacle Group

    Upcoming Events:  Have an event that we should attend?  Please let us know! 

    • September 16th, 2011, Health Care Compliance Association, Regional Conference – UPPER MIDWEST, MINNEAPOLIS, MN
    • September 25-27th, 2011, AHLA & HCCA, Fraud & Compliance Forum, BALTIMORE, MD
    • October 28th, 2011, Health Care Compliance Association, Regional Conference – MOUNTAIN, DENVER, CO
    • December 2nd, 2011, Health Care Compliance Association, Regional Conference – SOUTH CENTRAL, NASHVILLE, TN
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  • A Pinnacle Group Highlight – Bill Johnson, Senior Consultant

    Mr. Johnson offers a wide range of healthcare experience to the Pinnacle Group that includes nearly 30 years of executive leadership.  His areas of expertise include strategic healthcare initiatives with health systems and physician practices.  Bill’s professional experiences include strategic planning, business development, physician recruiting, operational management of large physician practices in multiple locations, outreach development, financial operations, business/practice mergers and acquisitions, physician/hospital joint ventures, selection of practice management and electronic health systems for practices.  He has additional experience in third-party contracting, physician integration strategies, physician compensation models and tax planning for strategic decisions.  Within Pinnacle, Bill provides financial and strategic direction as well as consulting on client engagements.

     In his free time, Bill enjoys the serenity of fly-fishing in Colorado’s rivers and streams.  He additionally enjoys other forms of outdoor recreation such as playing tennis and mountain biking.  However, don’t peg him as your standard Colorado resident. His interests are as varied as they are unique.  Just ask him about his interest in amateur radio!

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  • Business Valuation Perspective – Identifying the Correct Ingredients

    In the employment model, discussed in the FMV Compensation Perspective, a hospital might be in a position to purchase a physician or group practice as part of its integration strategy.  The process of determining future physician compensation, coupled with what price to pay for an existing medical practice, is a tricky one. 

    Future physician compensation is often based largely on the historical performance of the individual physicians.  Since historical compensation for physicians in a private practice is essentially collections from the delivery of professional services less the expenses of running the practice, profits after physician compensation are negligible.  As a result, traditional going concern value, where an investor expects to earn a return over and above the costs to operate the business, does not exist.  Under these specific circumstances, the value of a physician medical practice boils down to the cost of reproducing the assets necessary to run the practice. In valuation parlance, this entails the application of the cost, or asset-based approach to value.

    While identification of the items a physician practice needs to operate is the first step, placing value on each component is the second phase that requires due diligence.  Involving the physician or physicians from the early stages, communicating frequently throughout the process and keeping the process transparent will make for a smooth valuation process.

    Ask the question, “What is required to reproduce the medical practice from scratch?”  The first meeting will involve identifying all tangible and identifiable intangible assets of the practice.  Tangible assets generally include medical equipment and instrumentation, furniture and fixtures, such as exam tables and waiting room furniture, office equipment, and computer equipment such as hardware and software, etc.  In addition, the practice may also own the real estate in which it operates, or if it leases the space, may have made investments in leasehold improvements that are of value to both buyer and seller for future operations. Other tangible assets include inventories of medical supplies and drugs.  Accounts receivable are another tangible asset owned by a medical practice; however, they are not typically included as part of the transaction and the physicians are responsible for the collection of the receivables outstanding prior to the deal’s closing.

    The most challenging aspect can be identifying intangible assets that can be included as part of the deal.  Below is a list of intangible assets commonly considered when valuing physician practices:

    •  Medical records

    •  Insurance contacts, if reimbursement is at favorable rates

    •  Trained & assembled work force of non-physician providers and office staff

    •  Trained & assembled work force of employed physicians

    •  Trade name or trademarks

    •  Non-competition agreements

    As part of the valuation process, it is advisable to include the physicians or practice administrator in the process early on to set expectations for how the practice will be valued, timing of major milestones such as meetings, and delivery of the valuation results.  Hopefully the above tips have assisted in gaining  perspective in terms of proper identification during business valuations.

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  • Compensation Physician Integration Perspective

    As healthcare providers continue to prepare and position for healthcare reform, the common challenges associated with physician integration is unchanged.  A successful relationship depends on setting clear expectations, effective operations management and aligning compensation to performance.

    On the surface, physician integration is a win-win situation for a hospital and physician.  The hospital is able to bolster its team of physicians, which improves its patient care delivery system.  The physician no longer has to directly deal with health plans, large capital expenditures and running a small business.  Unfortunately, a scenario all too common to hospitals – after hiring the hard-working, independent physician and providing a salary, the physician’s work ethic notably slows down.  Consequences may include a decrease in patients due to diminished access or a physician’s disenchantment with peers and management.  All the while, the individual physician may not understand what is taking place and suddenly finds him /herself in a less revered way.

    When demands of an independent practice are absent, many physicians do not feel the urgency to produce for someone else, as they did for themselves.  To avoid this scenario, hospitals must be candid about their expectations and evaluate prospective physician employees accordingly.  Compensation programs must be devised to either reward work efforts or help physician(s) ease out of practice.  If a physician cuts his productivity, call availability, and other contributions by half, the related compensation must be commensurate and be discounted by the same amount.

    Many hospitals question, What is the best method for paying employed physicians?  The answer – there is no best “one-size-fits-all” method.  The best way for an organization to pay its employed physicians depends on the unique dynamics of the specific organization.  Every organization will have unique characteristics (e.g., specialty compositions, mission requirements, payer / patient factors, persistent or unresolved problems, cultural traits, etc.) that will influence what the organization needs to achieve through its physician compensation plan.  These characteristics will define objectives that should be incorporated into compensation programs.

    There are different types of compensation models and templates that can be evaluated to help hospitals structure their compensation programs.  Before looking at these models, the objective of the compensation program MUST be defined.  Importantly, when designing incentives to promote specific objectives, the risk / reward must be significant enough to directly affect physician behavior.

    In contrast to the past, hospitals felt compelled to “own” physicians.  However, the attitude today is one of partnership and shared risk / reward.  Many hospitals are willing to commit the resources to provide physicians the opportunity to maintain historic income levels, but expectations are set so that commensurate value is received in return.  One of the most common compensation frameworks that hospitals now adopt is one that centers on rewarding productivity and other forms of performance.  In other words, hospitals are trying to align hospital objectives of efficiency and fiscal responsibility with physician objectives of income and stability. 

    Common productivity models will establish base compensation levels and pay incentives to physicians as they exceed Work Relative Value Unit (WRVU) thresholds or some other measure of output (e.g., charges).  Depending on the market and payer conditions, these models may or may not directly incorporate practice profitability as a variable in the compensation formula.   

    The successful hospital and employed physician relationship is based on a fair compensation model that rewards effort in which expectations for productivity or other performance measures are established early in the process.

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  • Pinnacle Perspective Newsletter – Valuation. Compensation. Integration.

    Welcome to our Pinnacle Perspective Newsletter!  For your desired article of interest, please click on link directly.  Thank you and enjoy!


    In This Issue:

    –       Letter from The Pinnacle Team:  In Determining 2011 Recipes for Success, Who Gets the Pie is No Piece of Cake

    –       Healthcare Industry Overview – Reasons for Hospital Integration

    –       Compensation Physician Integration Perspective

    –       Business Valuation Perspective – Identifying the Correct Ingredients

    –       A Pinnacle Group Highlight – Bill Johnson, Senior Consultant

    –       Upcoming Events, About the Team, About The Pinnacle Group



    In Determining 2011 Recipes for Success, Who Gets the Pie is No Piece of Cake – Letter from The Pinnacle Team

    The Pinnacle Group would like to welcome you to the first edition of our 2011 newsletter, The Pinnacle Perspective!

    Early 2010 introduced health care reform with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  This development initiated change in many health care industry segments and introduced uncertainty in shaping organizational strategies.  Understanding all the health care reform changes and how they affect your organization is no piece of cake.  In this issue, we’ll break down some of the complex challenges facing hospitals and physicians to help assist in determining your own recipe for  success.

    The Pinnacle Group plans to continue to deliver resources to help its clients understand the changing environment, select the right strategies, and implement solutions to achieve a range of business objectives.  While our breadth of expertise continues to grow, our menu of key services will still encompass valuation, integration and compensation services.

    With the launch of this newsletter, we are expanding our client offerings and sharing our perspectives on critical issues, key events and innovative ideas shaping the business of health care today.

    We’ll begin with an Industry Overview Perspective, and take a broad look at the top reasons driving hospital-physician integration.

    In our Compensation Physician Integration Perspective, we’ll offer  leading ways hospitals align with physicians to create more effective health systems.

    Finally, in the Business Valuation Perspective, we further detail an overview of a physician practice valuation, applying the cost approach, and discuss how hospitals acquiring a physician practice and employing the physician(s) may not want to pay more than the net assets of the practice as a going concern.

    Whatever your health care appetite, we hope that The Pinnacle Perspective will give you a taste of key industry trends and allow you to sample ideas and information to mix into your own recipe for success.

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  • Healthcare Industry Overview – Reasons for Hospital Integration

    Healthcare reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act PPACA), encourages the development of integrated delivery systems through its focus on medical homes, physician-hospital enterprises, accountable care organizations and bundled payment methods.  These are all key drivers in considering closer hospital-physician alignment.  In A.M. Best’s 2010 Hospital & Health Care Systems Survey, healthcare organization leaders and professionals ranked physician integration as the top strategic challenge facing healthcare organizations.

    Here are a few other reasons feeding the integration trend:

    1.         Uncertainty around reimbursement for both physicians and hospitals

    2.         Increasing costs and other negative economic pressures on physician incomes

    3.         Physician expectations for financial support through call or subsidy arrangements

    4.         Changing physician attitudes toward employment and away from private practice

    5.         Community and hospital needs to ensure access to essential medical services

    6.         Competition among hospitals around clinical service lines

    7.         Shortages of physicians in key specialties

    8.         Strategic goals for transforming health care delivery

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  • SAVE THE DATE (05-12-2011)! Building Your Healthcare Reform Toolkit: Strategies for Delivering Accountable Care

    Date & Time
    Thursday, May 12, 2011
    11 a.m. – Noon Registration & Lunch
    Noon – 5 p.m. Program
    5 p.m. Reception


    The Westin Denver Downtown
    1672 Lawrence Street
    Denver, CO 80202


    This program is complimentary; however, registration is required. Please RSVP to Shana Hoy at 816.983.8809 by
    May 5, 2011.

    The Pinnacle Group is a dynamic healthcare company with expert resources to assist hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare organizations with operational, planning and transactional support needs.| more |Husch Blackwell LLP is a full-service litigation and business law firm with more than 600 attorneys in locations across the United States and in London, serving clients with domestic and international operations.
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    Paragon Health provides the most comprehensive range of cardiovascular management and consulting services in the industry. Paragon Health is the leader in cardiovascular program strategy, assessment and development.
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