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Healthcare Practice Strategies – Summer 2012 - Leveraging Non-Physician Providers

Practices that utilize non-physician providers (NPPs) generally enjoy better overall financial performance, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

Yet, the NPP model requires a commitment to orient, educate and integrate these mid-level providers into the practice. Consider these drivers of success — and whether your NPPs are being utilized effectively:

Their value is understood. Hiring a mid-level will certainly bring in less revenue than adding a physician, but not as little as you might think. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, mid-level providers can perform up to 90 percent of a primary care physician’s work and generate about 70 percent as much in revenue.

They are utilized properly. Prepare specific job descriptions/skill requirements for each mid-level you hire. This will ensure that your nurse practitioner, for example, is performing triage, giving shots and counseling patients — not rooming patients and checking blood pressure.

They are compensated appropriately. Successful practices treat NPPs as health-care providers, not employees. Thus, pay is incentive-based (i.e., a competitive base salary with financial incentives around volume, quality outcomes, cost containment, etc.).

They are properly integrated. Intro-duce your NPPs to patients as colleagues, making sure patients understand that their request will always be honored should they desire to “see the doctor.”

They are worked into the practice’s flow. Educate your office staff and billers on the laws and specifications of NPPs so that they fully understand the mid-level’s role, capabilities and impact on practice workflow.

They are part of a business plan. If money is tight and you’re not really that busy, don’t hire a mid-level. Adding an NPP should always be a strategic business decision based on a sound business plan.

Healthcare Practice Strategies – Summer 2012 Issue

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