Five ways to Avoid being a part of Medical Malpractice Litigation

Five ways to Avoid being a part of Medical Malpractice Litigation

Medical Malpractice is defined as the improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment of a patient by a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional. Let me help make this a little bit clearer for you and share a few interesting facts and figures about medical malpractice:

  • The belief that malpractice suits are filed with the intention of making a lot of money is false. A study done between 51 New York hospitals showed that poor, Medicaid, or uninsured patients are significantly less likely to sue for malpractice.

 

  • The ratio of the number of people that die due to preventable mistakes and the number of people who file a lawsuit is low. According to the Institute of Medicine, about 98,000 die each year due to preventable mistakes, and hundreds of thousands more are injured because of them. However, only one in eight people actually file a lawsuit.

 

  • The states with the highest per capita malpractice payouts are New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. While the lowest states are North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Indiana.

 

  • It seems like a no-brainer that medical malpractice is preventable, but it’s the third leading cause of death in America. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 80% of events in the healthcare system are the result of human error.

 

  • Malpractice suits usually deal with serious injury, and most people don’t bother suing over small accidents that don’t leave any lasting harm. In 75 different countries, 90% of malpractice suits involved permanent injury or death.

 

  • Although nurses are usually in charge of nursing homes patients, many states have adopted special procedures for nursing home issues that don’t fall under malpractice.

 

  • While the number of doctors has increased, some doctors still feel they’re handling too many patients. According to the Maryland Practice Team, 40% of doctors feel their patient volume can lead to errors.

 

  • America spends $2.2 trillion a year on healthcare, and only $7.1 billion on defending claims and compensating victims. While that seems like a lot, it only accounts for 0.3 percent of healthcare costs.

 

  • There are two common reasons for a malpractice suit. For inpatient errors, 34% of malpractice suits were because of surgical errors. For outpatient errors, 46% of malpractice suits were the result of errors in diagnoses.

 

  • Only 7.6 percent of doctors found guilty in two or more malpractice suits were punished, and only 13 percent of doctors who were guilty in five or more malpractice suits were punished.

Wow, so that was a lot right? Yes it was! These interesting facts and figures may have you wondering how can I avoid being apart of a medical malpractice suit where I am defending my actions as a clinician. Well I am glad you asked! I would like to share 5 tips to help you remain free and clear of being a defendant of a medical malpractice case:

  1. Document, Document, Document– As a legal nurse consultant, I can’t tell you how many nurse are not documenting properly. Remember the things we were all taught in nursing school ” if it was documented, it wasn’t done!! It is very hard to go before a court and say “Oh I did it, but I forgot to document it”. I can tell you this is a automatic strike against you. Also make sure your documentation is clear and concise. It should paint a very clear picture of exactly what happened while that patient was in your care and not leave anything to the imagination.
  2. Check Physician Orders a Minimum of 3 Times Before Carrying Them Out- Listen I know how it is to be on a floor with 6 patients, all of them needing IV pushes, 3 of them are on the call light, and the physician is giving you 10 orders; can you say frustrating!! But we have to slow down and verify physician orders and if they do not seem right, don’t be afraid to question the physician on the orders. I have witnessed countless medical malpractice cases where the nurse carried out incorrect orders or orders that should have made a light bulb go off in their head and say  ” I don’t think this is right “,  and they didn’t verify the order and carried it out which caused serious damages to the patient.
  3. Write Your Notes Legibly– For some of us we are not yet at a stage where we have the privilege to document on our patients in a computerized charting system through our respective employer. So we are still hand writing our documentation. The barrier with that is that notes can become extremely hard to read at times thus leaving a lot of room for questions should a patient that you ever took care of decides to file a medical malpractice suit. Now while you can definitely explain to a court what the notes says while in the middle of a medical malpractice litigation suit, why send yourself through that headache of having to do that when you can just write legibly.
  4. Communicate– Communication is key! We know this to be true in every area of our life and this is no different within the healthcare profession. To prevent from making any type of error on a patient that you are caring for, you must communicate with all parties involved in their care and that includes but is not limited to the physician, certified nursing assistant, charge nurse, radiology, social worker etc. Everyone has to be on the same page with what is going on with the patient and notify each other of any critical information that is going on with the patient. I have seen numerous cases where the clinican indicates ” Well I didn’t do xyz because no one communicated this information to me. NOPE, that is not going to fly!! We are licensed  professionals that have taken an oath and we must act as so, so we must COMMUNICATE.
  5. Always be a Student– Like everything around us, healthcare is changing. Which means we must change with it, we must stay updated on the latest and greatest, on the practices that were once in practice that has now been eliminated, etc. Attend conferences, take that class you employer is offering, really pay attention in those continuing education courses. We are ultimately responsible as licensed clinical professionals to provide care that is current, up to date, and the standard for our profession.

 

Clinically Yours,

Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, LNC

Interesting Facts about the Health of Minority Women

Interesting Facts about the Health of Minority Women

Health is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury. Health is what keeps all individuals in a state of harmony and balance because when our health is good, we are good. However, the state of being free from illness or injury is not equal across all spectrums of the human species. Some of you may deal with health related issues on a daily basis, occasionally, or rarely. Despite your frequency, it’s doubtful time allows you to look up interesting facts and figures on this topic. For instance, did you know that black women have a shorter life expectancy than White women by 5 years, 50% higher all-cause mortality rates, and death rates from major causes such as heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, and diabetes that are often 2 to 3 times higher than those for Caucasian  women? Knowledge is power, so here are a few interesting facts and figures about the health of minority women that make you go hmmm.

  • Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women. But African Ameri- can women are more likely to die of this cancer because their cancers are often diagnosed later and at an advanced stage when they are harder to treat and cure. There is also some question about whether African American women have more aggressive tumors.
  • African American women between the ages of 35-44, have an increased breast cancer death rate of more than twice the rate of White women in the same age group—20.02 deaths per 100,000 com- pared to 10.2 deaths per 100,000.
  • Black women develop high blood pressure earlier in life and have higher average blood pressures compared with white women. About 37 percent of black women have high blood pressure.
  • About 5.8% of all white women, 7.6% of black women, and 5.6% of Mexican American women have coronary heart disease.
  • A 2011 Journal of Women’s study indicated that 57 percent of Latina women, 40 percent of African American women, and 32 percent of white women had three or more risk factors for having a heart attack.
  • According to the article published by the Diabetes Sisters, the prevalence of diabetes is at least 2-4 times higher among African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than among white women.
  • One in four African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes.

So, which fact do you find most interesting?

 

References:

Breast Cancer: A Resource Guide for Women. (2009). Retrieved from:http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/assets/pdf/checked/bcrg2005.pdf

Pryor, David. Diabetes in African American Women. Retrieved from:http://www.blackwomenshealth.com/blog/diabetes-in-african-american-women/.

Women of Color Have More Risk Factors for Heart Disease. (2012). Retrieved from:http://www.hhs.gov/ash/news/2012/20120206.html.

Women and Diabetes. (2012). Retrieved from:https://diabetessisters.org/women-diabetes.

Goal Setting: Top five ways to make sure you are accomplishing your goals

Goal Setting: Top five ways to make sure you are accomplishing your goals

The beginning of a new year is a common time to reflect on the previous year, and deciding what goals you would like to accomplish in the next 365 days.  This is not a time to be shy about the things that you want in your life.  Be bold, intentional, and brave when setting goals for yourself.  The sky is not the limit; it is simply the view.  Although we tend to start out highly motivated and dedicated to the goals that we have set, we have got be honest with ourselves and realize that often that ambition can fade, and nothing gets accomplished!  I want to share with you five methods I utilize to keep myself grounded, motivated, and a realizer of my goals.

Find Yourself a GOAL MATE

What is a GOAL MATE?  A goal mate is someone that you have a great connection with that supports, motivates, encourages, and enables you to manifest all of your wildest dreams.  It does not matter how far-fetched they may seem, your GOAL MATE will not only hold you accountable but encourage you to jump in and get dirty neck first.  Whether you succeed or fail at accomplishing a goal they are there to pick you up if you break your neck for real (just kidding), brush you off, and send you on your awesomely merry way to attempt your next goal.  Keep in mind, that in order to be a good GOAL MATE, you need to reciprocate the same energy and tenacity that your partner(s) give to you.  It’s important to keep each other focused, interested, and motivated.

Make Clear, Objective, and Achievable goals

Be clear and intentional about the goals you are setting.  It is also important to be specific.  Think about where you want to be with your finances, health, career, and love life.  Self-love included. Be realistic with your timeline and remember that there are only 12 months in a year, but that is a valuable time that can be leveraged to generate a better you.

Make a Vision Board or Host a Vision Board Party

This is an annual tradition of mine.  Each year I invite my GOAL MATES, friends, neighbors, co-workers over to craft vision boards.  This is inexpensive and so much fun.  All you need is magazines, scissors, glue, posters, your imaginations, and perhaps some wine!

Set Mall Quarterly Milestones

Hold yourself accountable.  Think about where you want your progress to be after 3,6, and 9 months.  I like to review my goals monthly.  This keeps it relevant in my mind.  You should review your goals quarterly at a minimum.  Think about what is working for you, and what you can switch up.

Look at It

If you do not see your goals periodically, or place your vision board somewhere that you can see it every day. I have my goals on my vision board, iPhone, iPad, and posted in my locker at work.  Don’t forget the plans you have made for yourself.  Utilize these tools, go forth, and prosper!

Jazmin Nicole is a military officer, obstetrics nurse, advisory board member of Black Nurses Rock Inc., and the founder/CEO of Jazmin Nicole & Co.

www.iamjazminnicole.com

For more posts/blogs like this follow me on twitter (@jazminweb), Instagram (@therealjazminnicole_, and Facebook (Jazmin Nicole and Co.)

 

Healthcare Disparities in African Americans

Healthcare Disparities in African Americans

In the United States, race once defined an individual’s level of freedom, including where they could enter, sit, and eat. Today, with African Americans at a higher risk than White Americans for obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, race also defines the quality of healthcare, making health disparities in African Americans the true silent killer.

Statistics from the American Heart Association and Center for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in African Americans. However, the link between race and health are obscured, and there is not much conversation dedicated to eliminating the socioeconomic and cultural barriers that make African Americans a target for death by disease.

So the question is what should we as healthcare professionals implement to address socioeconomic and cultural barriers  that contribute to the healthcare disparities in African Americans and other minority populations? Should we continue to research different treatment regimens that can improve the overall health of African Americans and other minority groups? Or should we continue to educate these populations through traditional patient education? The Answer is No! In order for us to get something that we have never had, that means we have to do something that we have never done. The solution to this issue must extend beyond medicine, and instead be addressed by community leaders, community health providers, and minority healthcare professionals so race can be a category and not a barrier to quality healthcare.

There is undoubtedly a necessity to increase the level of cultural sensitivity among physicians, nurses, & other healthcare personnel; recognize unfavorable socioeconomic and cultural barriers as a preexisting condition; improve the community surrounding African Americans & other minority patients; and increase the number of minority healthcare workers. Implementing these actions will begin the process of closing the gap of  socioeconomic and cultural barriers that contribute to the healthcare disparities in African Americans and other minority populations.

 

 

 

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/chdireport.html

http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/

http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/@ml/documents/downloadable/ucm_429240.pdf

https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_473451.pdf

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/Health-Equity-Eliminating-Bias-by-Age-Ethnicity-Gender-and-More_UCM_444722_Article.jsp#.VrloomA5n4E

 

 

Five Historical Medical Ethic Cases

Five Historical Medical Ethic Cases

Does the Constitution embrace a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion? What organization ensures medical studies is ethical? Is it acceptable for a patient to reject medical treatment that improves their quality of life?

The above questions are answered by previous cases considered to be landmarks in the medical and legal community. Several court decisions changed what is considered acceptable in the medical community. Explore the below five influential historical medial ethic cases.

 

Roe v. Wade

The 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade is still debated heavily in politics. Before this case, most of the United States’ laws only allowed women to get abortions if the life of the mother was in danger. The Supreme Court ruled in this case that the states was forbidden from outlawing or regulating abortions performed during the first trimester of a pregnancy. Although the court ruling was about 40 years ago, this is an issue for many that believe abortion is unethical.

 

Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is an infamous clinical study conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the progression of untreated syphilis in poor black men in Alabama. This experiment took place between 1932 and 1972 and tricked participants into thinking they were receiving free health care from the government. The participants were unaware they would be infected with syphilis and left untreated. After a leak to the press, the experiments stopped, the Office for Human Research Protections was established, and federal laws were put in place that required Institutional Review Boards for studies that involve human subjects.

 

Gonzales v. Oregon

In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide after enacting the Death with Dignity Act, which allows physicians to prescribe lethal drugs if the patient is terminally ill and within half a year of death. The Attorney General sought control of the situation under the Controlled Substances Act, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oregon and said the Attorney General could not overrule state laws. Since then, California has also approved assisted suicide, and it is an ethical topic with growing importance in the medical community.

 

Bouvia v. Superior Court

Elizabeth Bouvia was mentally competent, yet she suffered from cerebral palsy that left her wholly dependent on others to live. In 1983, she expressed a desire to end her life through an attempt to starve herself in a California public hospital. The hospital eventually ended up inserting a nasogastric tube against her wishes. She sued the hospital. After an appeal, it was decided that the hospital should respect the patient’s wishes if they are sound of mind when they make that decision.

 

Sherley v. Sebelius

In 2008, The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health was sued after President Obama took away some of the more strict guidelines and rules on stem cell research that President George Bush had put into place. It was decided in court that the NIH was following proper guidelines regarding stem cell research and the Supreme Court rejected to hear an appeal. Stem cell research is extremely controversial for many in the medical field because of the conflict of two very separate beliefs.

History doesn’t only repeat itself, but is also serves as a precedent especially when legal cases are concerned. These five historical medical ethics cases continue to impact the legal and medical field.

 

References

Conger, K. (2013). Supreme Court Decision on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Case Ends

Research Uncertainty. Retrieved From: http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2013/01/08/sup

reme-court-decision-on-human-embryonic-stem-cell-case-ends-research-uncertainty/.

 

Fisher, L. (1987). The Suicide Trap: Bouvia v. Superior Court and the Right to Refuse

Medical Treatment. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol21/iss1/5.

 

Gray, F. D. (1998). The Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Montgomery: New South Books.

 

Roe V. Wade: Its History and Impact. (n.d.) Retrieved from:https://www.plannedpa

renthood.org/files/3013/9611/5870/Abortion_Roe_History.pdf.

 

Teitelbaum, J. & Rosenbaum, S. (2007). Gonzales v. Oregon: Implications for Public

Health Policy and Practice. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl

 

Six Remedies for Improving Your Financial Health

Six Remedies for Improving Your Financial Health

Congratulations, You’ve made it! The countdown is over, the Times Square Ball has dropped and the sweet smell of black-eye peas are on the stove to remind you that a new year is here. Yes, you have been graced with another 365 days to try it again, get it right and excel.

During this time of the year many reflect back on unfinished business from years past to evaluate where they fell short or had personal challenges achieving success. Can I let you in on a little secret? Beating yourself up because you missed the mark on a goal or two is not going to get you on track faster. It will only prolong your progress and reduce your confidence. Now is the time to renew your passion, regain your strength and revitalize your plan.

I’m sure if you asked any of your closest friend’s what they plan to accomplish in 2016 they would probably utter one of the top 3 New Year’s Resolutions most people adopt: lose weight, become a better money manager or try something new. Unfortunately, the reason why many New Year’s resolutions are dismantled by Valentine’s Day is because they either failed to put a plan in place that would account for any of life’s mishaps. Or they lacked a support system that would help keep them accountable and on track with their goals.

Improving your financial health is no different than improving your physical health when it comes to identifying the problem, developing a plan and monitoring your status to check for improvements over time. Sure, when dealing with money you’ll find the terminology may be different in addition to understanding the technical aspects of how money works. But if you can follow a treatment plan you’re already 10 steps ahead in the game. Now, let’s take a look and examine Six Remedies for Improving Your Financial Health in 2016.

#1: Examine Your Thought-Life

When I was first introduced to the idea of the Vision Board by Life Coach, Tony Robbins I thought to myself what a fun idea. It seemed simple enough. All you needed was a few magazines, scissors, glue, a poster board and most importantly a big imagination. But soon after that thought, my memories took me back to when I was a little girl driving in the car with my mom in neighborhoods we didn’t live in. She’d say to me, “one day our house is going to be there.” And I’d say, “where in the forest?” And she’d say, “yes smart aleck in the forest.” Before you knew it the forest was cleared and contractors would be breaking ground to build our new house. I must admit, as a youngster I thought my mother was crazy. But as I matured into a woman, I realized my mother gave me the freedom to dream big. It didn’t matter to her what I or anyone else thought. When she was determined to do something, she did it.

Have you given yourself the freedom to think big? If so, what are you doing with those thoughts?  I encourage you to put those thoughts to paper in 2016 and create a plan for what you want. Yes, you can get what you want regardless of who’s in office or what your current situation looks like. Is your goal to be debt-free this year? Do you see yourself better educated on your retirement or stock portfolio? Do you want to start a business or increase your savings or investing goals? Whatever you want you can have.  But in order to get it you need to make sure you’re surrounded by positive people who will inspire and support you to become your best. I’m personally challenging you to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. See yourself in places you never thought you would be or affiliated with people you thought were beyond your reach.  Yes, it can be a little intimidating at first, but you have to tell yourself you belong there just as much as they do. And when you get there you can say, it all began with just a thought.

#2: Analyze Your Cash Flow & Debt Management Habits

Shortly after graduating college I learned very early on the better you manage what you earn and spend the more opportunities you make available to yourself. What do I mean by that? The Holy Bible says it best, “the rich rule over the poor and the borrower is a slave to the lender? If you don’t manage your money well, it will manage you. Cash Flow & Debt Management is not an area that can be ignored. It is the foundation of sound financial planning and will indicate how successful you will be in your overall planning. Most find this area difficult to master because it connects more so to our emotions. This is exactly why companies pay millions of dollars to advertise during the Super bowl. They know if you can see yourself in that New 2016 Mercedes Benz, you’ll eventually make it down to the dealer just to take a look and before you know it you’re signing a $72,000 contract. Of course they knew your student loans were in forbearance and that you had major credit card debt. But you told yourself you deserved it. Now your emergency fund, disability coverage and life insurance is all wrapped up in your car note or forced to be put on a credit card that is accumulating more debt. My only prescription for this debilitating financial disease is “discipline.” It’s certainly o.k. to reward yourself for your hard work and sacrifice. But to the extent that it cripples your financial future is dangerous. Having a detailed spending plan will allow your financial professional to identify opportunities for improving your cash flow. This could include debt management solutions such as refinancing, debt consolidation or assessing your tax withholding. By creating a spending plan and curbing your emotions you may find areas where you can trim the fat and discover that you had more money than you originally thought.

#3: Perform A Tri-Annual Credit Check

We live in a nation that treats credit like cash. But let’s be real, there are distinct differences between the two. Yes, cash still rules the world, but its fraternal twin credit only has access and that’s based on several conditions. In order to maintain a good credit history, you should stay below 50% of your credit limit and maintain a good payment history. These two factors alone account for the largest scoring component of your score. Lenders also want to see that you have a good mix of credit which includes home loans, car loans and student loans. Solely having charge cards and credit cards with no assets can affect 15% of your score. The length of your credit history is also as equally important as establishing new credit. If you have a long credit history, it is essential that you do not delete lenders that you were in good standing with. Doing so could decrease your score. The scenario would be no different if you worked for a former employer for 10 years and left on good terms with positive feedback from management and your co-workers. If you knew you could count on them to say wonderful things about you, why would you leave them off of your application as a reference? You wouldn’t, so treat your good credit history the same.

During 2007-2010 we saw a major correction in the stock market as it reacted to the subprime mortgages crisis which triggered millions of delinquencies, foreclosures and an unprecedented number of job losses. Although the economy has improved since then, let’s not forget that an over extension of credit got us in over our heads. Remember to manage your credit limits and incorporate those expenses within your budget. And don’t forget to check your credit reports through Experian, Equifax & Trans Union annually through www.annualcreditreport.com. It’s best to order your reports every 4 months rather than simultaneously. This way you will be a to identify any fraudulent activity that didn’t appear in the previous months.  If you’re not proactive with managing your credit, you may find financial freedom maybe further away than you desired.

#4 Take Preventive Measures & Plan for The “What If’s” in Life

When it comes to planning for the “what if’s” in life some people say I don’t know where to start, but I’m going to start soon. Then “going to” from one year goes to “going to” the next year. And in the meantime and in between time you’ve stood in the Starbucks line or bought that expensive purse and gave away your “what if” money. Then “life happens” and the proactive plan that you were “going to” put in place is now a reactive response to a death, an unforeseen illness or unexpected lay-off.

Yes, planning for the what if’s in life can be a bit overwhelming, but it is necessary. If you want to become a better money manager this year you must make up in your mind what you value and create beliefs and habits that support sound financial practices.  When we discuss life insurance we know that our loved ones are irreplaceable. But when they get sick or pass away we not only bear the emotional burden of them not being here, but also the financial burden from the loss of their income. I’m sure you may have known someone who had no medical power of attorney or will and saw firsthand how much chaos and confused followed because there was no financial plan in place. If you don’t currently have life or disability insurance outside of work or a financial plan in place that brings it all together, what is preventing you from being in the same situation? During the next several weeks I will be hosting several webinars addressing various financial topics that will help motivate you to plan for the what if’s in life. These webinars are free to paid members and require registration in advance.

#5 The Remedy for Overcoming Investing Fears is Education

A few weeks ago, I presented a retirement seminar to millenniums at their employer and posed the question, when you think of the word RETIRE what does it mean to you? Initially, their responses started off with being old, not having to deal with traffic when going to work and of course spending more time with family and friends. Then I restated the question and made it more personal by putting an emphasis on the word YOU. This time their responses were much different. Before you knew it they began to paint a more colorful picture of how they would live in retirement. Someone shouted Jamaica, another said I want to pursue my passions and purpose and finally I heard someone say I don’t want to be too old, I’d like to retire at 50.  I too feel that when, where and how you decide to live in retirement is personal. After all you’re the one who has made the sacrifice, so it should be up to you to retire on your own terms. But too many of us fail to answer the question that we must all answer one day and that is how will you replace the money you receive from our paycheck today to pay for the cost of goods and services 10, 20 or even 40 years from now. Experts say that you need to be saving an average of 10% -15% of today’s income to replace 75% to 85% of your paycheck to live in retirement. And women should be more aggressive savers since we live an average of 5 years longer than men.

However, knowing the facts is not enough. Too often I hear investing is too complex and I don’t want to lose money.  But that same person will load up on lottery tickets to try to win their way to retirement while losing in the process. Let’s be honest, we live in a time where information is accessible by a click of a button. Google and Siri will deliver what you need if you just ask. There are also plenty of other resources such as Yahoo Finance, Morningstar.com and CNN Money that will help increase your understanding on the technical aspects of money. But you have to change your mindset and be willing to invest in learning something new.  Yes, investing does have a downside. Securities can lose value due to market performance. But the fact still remains that stocks have always out performed cash and bonds. If investing is a topic that you would like to learn more about check out our website for our recommended readings or contact us for a free portfolio analysis at www.impactfulsolutionsgroup.com.

#6 A Healthy Dose of Tax Tips

With a new year comes new tax laws and regulations set forth by the IRS. This ever-changing landscape of taxes is growing increasingly difficult to understand how legislation affects clients and could possibly impact their financial future. That’s why I am constantly seeking ways to share the latest knowledge I acquire with you regarding every aspect of financial planning including taxes.

Usually during this time of year, I get particularly concerned for those who are seeking a big return at any cost. Be careful in choosing a tax professional who only promises you a high return, but does not educate you on how they arrived at those numbers. Take your time in seeking sound financial professionals who have your best interest at hand.

As a full-service financial planner I believe it’s imperative to work in collaboration with other professionals such as your CPA and Attorney.  If you are in need of a Tax Professional, you may contact my office and I will be happy to service all of your financial planning needs.

Here are a few tax tips you can use as you prepare to file your return for 2015. 1. If you bought a house in 2015 make sure you provide your tax professional with all of your closing documents. You will be able to write off any points you’ve paid at closing in addition to any mortgage interest you’ve paid throughout the year. 2. If you’re a business owner you still have until April 15 to establish and fund a SEP IRA. As the employer, you can contribute up to 25% of the participant’s compensation or a maximum of $53,000 (for the 2015 and 2016 tax years), whichever is less.* Contributions are deductible as a business expense and are not required every year. Employees who are in the plan can also make personal contributions. 3. Anyone can open and contribute to an IRA even if they contributed to the 401(k) or 403(b) plan at work. If neither you nor your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, your deduction is allowed in full. The contribution limit for 2015 and 2016 is $5,500, or $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older. 4. If you have started to pay back your student loans, you may be able to reduce your taxable income by up to $2,500 of the student loan interest you have paid for you, your spouse, or your dependent. This also includes the one-time “loan origination fee” charged by your lender. To qualify for the deduction, the student loan on which you paid interest must be a commercial loan taken out exclusively for the purposes of paying for education. The loan may only apply to a student who is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. The student must be you, your spouse, or your dependent. 5. The annual fee for not having insurance in 2015 is $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975 for a family), or it’s 2% of your household income above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status – whichever is greater. If you did have health insurance in 2015 be sure to submit your 1095A along with your W2 or 1099 to your tax professional so you will avoid those penalties.

It is my hope that these “Six Remedies for Improving Your Financial Health in 2016” has motivated you to examine the way you think about money and eradicate any bad money habits that may have adopted over the years. If you feel that you are on the right path to financial success, but there’s still room for improvement, I invite you to activate you BNR membership and gain access to all of the financial benefits that are available to members. Once you receive access you will be able to join our financial webinars at no cost in January & February and receive my Wealthy Living Financial Journal for only $10.00 in addition to other discounted benefits. I salute you for the courage to renew your passion, regain your strength and revitalize your plan. Remember to surround yourself with people who are committed to helping you become your best. And before you know it you’ll be helping someone else maximize their goals and improve their life.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Just Published!

The Minority Nurse Winter 2017-2018 issue is now available. Read the latest issue of Minority Nurse today.

Challenges Facing Nursing Students Today

Selecting the Right Nursing School

Why Nursing School Grades Don’t Matter

Surviving the First Year as a Nurse

Read Now

You have Successfully Subscribed!