Administrative burdens lead to rise in practice spending, report finds

October 3, 2014

A new survey from the MGMA shows that practices are spending more money on business operations staff.

Medical practices spent more on staff in 2013 than the previous year, according to a new report from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

The report, “Cost Survey: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data,” found that practices are spending 4.6% more on total business operations staff, including those who work in general administration, information technology, managed care administration and patient accounting. The survey found practices spend a median of $52,099 per full-time employed (FTE) physician to support business operations staff.

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While part of the rise in spending may be attributed to medical practices hiring more skilled and experienced staff members, the MGMA says the increase in administrative burdens is also a contributing factor.

“It’s extremely disappointing that medical practices are increasingly being forced to allocate more staff resources to manage onerous government regulations and processes,” Anders Gilberg, MGMA senior vice president of government affairs, said in a written statement. “The complex and overlapping requirements of current Medicare PQRS, meaningful use, and value-based payment modifier programs are cases in point, ironically increasing administrative reporting costs for practices instead of supporting their efforts to improve patient care.”

The survey gathered data from 2,518 group practices. It found that physician-owned practices have more support staff per FTE physician than hospital-owned practices. Primary care single-specialty practices reported 4.94 support staff members per FTE physician, compared with 3.5 for hospital-owned primary care practices.

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