According to a poll by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), ongoing workforce issues have caused medical groups’ staffing ratios to decline and their labor costs to rise.
A Decline in Staffing Ratios
The 2022 Medical Group Operations and Finance Survey contains data from more than 24,000 medical professionals working in 5,600 clinics. The results showed a drop in staffing ratios while an increase in personnel costs. Clinical staffing full-time equivalents (FTEs) per provider for medical groups decreased by 11.3 percent as compared to pre-pandemic levels. The decline was especially evident for jobs with a high turnover risk, like medical assistants and assistants.
Rise in Expenses
Overall staffing costs rose by 15% as staffing shortages intensified. The number of patients increased from the pandemic’s early months, but not the workforce.
In a news release sent to RevCycleIntelligence.com via email, AMGA consulting chief operations officer Rose Wagner, RN, MHS, FACMPE, made the following statement: “The changes in staffing ratios in key direct patient care roles highlight the ongoing challenges faced by medical groups as they have managed the volume recovery post-COVID without the same staffing resources to provide care.”
Resulting Benefits for Physicians
On the other hand, the increase in patient volume also increased the revenue for medical groups. Primary care doctors in particular benefited from the revenue gains brought on by the modifications to the work relative value unit (wRVU) weight that CMS enacted in 2021. The agency raised the wRVUs for outpatient and common office evaluation and management (E/M) services.
Medical groups have faced multiple operational hurdles, including workforce issues, over the past few years. Related challenges include patient volume recovery, a decline in staffing FTEs due to labor shortages, CMS wRVU weight modifications, and other concerns.
Evaluating the Data
Moving forward, organizations must operate as efficiently as possible in the midst of increasing labor shortages, rising supply costs, and the CMS conversion factor’s continued decline. Although some may consider the last few years to be stable, it is critical to thoroughly assess the year’s results.
Financial difficulties faced by healthcare organizations in 2022 are expected to persist this year, according to analysts. The frequency of healthcare bankruptcies increased by 84 percent between 2021 and 2022 as a result of rising prices and a labor shortage, according to a study.
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RevCycle Intelligence (2023, January 26). AMGA: Medical Groups Faced Workforce Challenges, High Expenses in 2022. Retrieved from: https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/amga-medical-groups-faced-workforce-challenges-high-expenses-in-2022.