MGMA: Medical Practices Designated As “Better Performing” Emphasize Cost Management, Productivity and Patient Satisfaction

Organizations deemed “better-performing medical practices” by the MGMA Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data excelled in four performance-management categories: profitability and cost management; productivity, capacity and staffing; accounts receivable and collections; and patient satisfaction. The practices designated as better performers in these areas were culled from 2,518 respondents to the MGMA 2014 Cost Survey.

Profitability and cost management
In this category, better-performing multispecialty practices reported a lower total operating cost as a percent of total medical revenue than other groups (55.91 percent compared to 70.42 percent).

“Medical practices that actively monitor their operating costs and use benchmarking data and tools to assess their performance are positioned for long-term success and sustainability,” said Todd Evenson, MGMA vice president of data solutions and consulting services.

Accounts receivable and collections
Medical groups designated as better performing reported collecting receivables more quickly than their peers. Better-performing multispecialty practices indicated that only 8.05 percent of their total accounts receivable (A/R) was in the 120-plus day category.

Evenson asserts that “this metric is a strong indicator of healthy financial management, and better-performing medical practices have the right procedures and processes in place to do this efficiently.”

Productivity, capacity and staffing
Better-performing medical practices in this area implemented operational efficiencies to ensure strong provider productivity, including employing non-physician providers such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified nurse anesthetists, as well as ensuring efficient patient flow throughout the practice. For instance, better-performing multispecialty practices indicated that they leverage work from clinical support staff at a higher ratio, a reported 6.33 clinical support staff per full-time-equivalent (FTE) physician versus 4.31 in other groups.

“Healthy medical practices understand that investing in the right staff pays off,” noted Evenson.

Patient satisfaction
Almost 81 percent of medical practices deemed better performers indicated that they used patient-satisfaction surveys. Compared with other practices, better performers were more likely to assess patient satisfaction in their practice and did so more frequently.

MGMA also observed that better-performing medical practices: 

1. Advertise and market their practice more at community health fairs and screenings, and send letters and postcards to referring physicians.

2. Reported less bad debt due to fee-for-service (FFS) activity per FTE physician. Multispecialty groups reported $11,361 less in bad debt than other practices.

3. Conduct patient satisfaction surveys that include questions to assess appointment availability (51.68 percent), overall experience (55.03 percent), physician communication style (40.27 percent) and recommendation of practice to others (46.31 percent).

4. Report a lower patient no-show rate (4 percent) compared to others (4.25 percent).

The MGMA Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data survey report is compiled using data from the MGMA 2014 Cost Survey pertaining to profitability and cost management; productivity, capacity and staffing; A/R and collections; and patient satisfaction. The report features organizations’ success stories and details on how they tackled issues to achieve their status as better performers. Access additional key findings from the report.

MGMA data analysis: Attributes of successful practices

Note: MGMA surveys depend on voluntary participation and may not be representative of the industry. Readers are urged to review the entire survey report when making conclusions regarding trends or other observations.

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