What To Consider If You Are Considering Mid-Level Non-Physician Providers

Non-Physician Providers would seem like the perfect prescription for a busy practice to cure patient overflow and long wait times while increasing practice income, however it can take time to integrate the NPP into your practice and add to your documentation worries as well as billing and coding headaches. 

Mid-Level providers like Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners can increase patient satisfaction and the quality of care at a lower cost, but be aware that it takes time, training, and effort to guarantee your medical practice sees an increase in productivity, cash flow and the revenue stream. 

Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) recent survey found that physician practices with more support staff per FTE physician report a 34% to 55% increase in productivity in addition to higher revenues. NPPs are likely to take on administrative as well as quality aspects of health care delivery. They can free up doctors to see more patients, and seek efficiencies which drive increases in revenue. NPPs preform patient outreach and improve their experience. Delegating to NPPs is key for high-growth medical practices and seems like a win-win, but you need to do your homework first for a successful outcome.

The first steps in your decision to move forward with hiring a NPP should be to consider: 

•  Instances when services can be provided by NPP with or without Physician’s direct supervision, 
•  Can the NPP themselves supervise ancillary staff,
•  Gauge how quickly complete integration can be achieved – by physicians, by patients, 
•  Can NPPs handle follow-up appointments with patients,
•  Will NPPs handle quick, urgent patient requests and conditions so patients can get in for same-day treatment,
•  If you will be able to build a better appointment schedule to keep your patient flow up without bottlenecks and long wait times,
•  Who will address training the NPP, introducing the NPP to patients, and evaluating their performance,
•  Will your office be able to handle the additional documentation necessary regarding treatment, who rendered the services, were they necessary, plan of treatment, and supervisory requirements, etc? 

Also take into consideration that there is stigma often associated with non-physicians on both sides of the examining table; so providers must be upfront with patients, informing them that an advanced practice practitioner will be seeing them, and upfront with other doctors that they need to embrace the NPP as part of the team. The profile of the medical practice team of providers is changing – the point is that to better your bottom line, he NPP should be operating at the top of their skill-set as much as possible. When your schedule is packed, the more tasks they are performing at the top of their pay-level, the more revenue will be streaming in and the happier everyone will be, including your partners!  Optimizing an appointment schedule is one of those tasks which is balance of art and science. An NPP 9or two) can help you keep appointment wait times down and allow same-day walk-ins.

It’s the perfect storm – Just as the population ages, there will be an increased need for medical practitioners, but the number of practicing physicians is expected to fall through the next 15 years due to retirements and slow growing medical school enrollment/graduation. Fortunately, the numbers of NPPs like nurse practitioners and physician assistants are increasing throughout the entire health care enterprise. 

: Total expenses have risen much faster for physician-owned practices as compared to other healthcare delivery options. An NPP may be the prescription needed so physicians can stop migrating to health systems. Medicare billing policies, has evolved to address the growing involvement of NPPs and their new prominence in the healthcare industry. Please take the time to review the sister article in our newsletter addressing this exact topic written by guest contributor Jean Acevedo of Acevedo Consulting. Fuoco Group and its strategic partners are all about helping you to boost your bottom line while providing excellent medical care to your patients. Call toll free 855-534-2727 to find out more about how we can help YOU!