As the regulatory and administrative burden on physician practices increases, so too has the expense of paying employees needed to perform this work.
Respondents of Medical Group Management Association's (MGMA) Cost Survey: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data, reported a 4.6 percent increase in spending on total business operations staff--including general administrative staff, information technology staff, general/patient accounting staff and managed care administrative staff—per full-time-equivalent (FTE) physician since last year.
This translated to a median cost of $52,009 per FTE physician to support total business operations staff among multispecialty practices, according to the report. This finding suggests that practices respond to today's challenges by placing a high priority on hiring employees with expertise in managing and reporting metrics for disparate government quality programs, negotiating payer contracts, and understanding new plans offered on the insurance exchanges. But it also places undue hardship on medical offices because they are forced to allocate more resources to government regulations and processes, noted MGMA analysts in an announcement.
Other key findings from the report included the following:
- Physician-owned practices used more total support staff than hospital/IDS-owned practices, regardless of practice type.
- Primary care and surgical single-specialty practices in the Midwest earned almost four times more than their counterparts in Southern regions. Surgical single-specialty practices earned more in each of the geographic sections than primary care and nonsurgical single-specialty practices.
- Patient-centered medical home (PCMH) practices spent $42.56 more per patient in total general operating costs than non-PCMH practices, but earned $65.54 more per patient in total medical revenue after operating cost.