As health care professionals and office administrators know, more than half of a primary care practice’s revenue typically supports operating expenses. Specialty practices spend only slightly less. Physician-owned multispecialty practices reported total operating costs had increased by nearly 15 percent per full-time physician in 2015, according to data gathered by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). This materially exceeded the more than 10 percent increase in total revenue those practices reported the previous year.

Total operating costs are mounting throughout the industry, creating a financial stalemate for practices moving towards value-based care, as well as those seeking ways to grow patient volumes and revenue.

Payroll, staffing, malpractice insurance, rent/mortgage payments and IT investments – all integral factors for running a successful business – are reported as the biggest hits to a practice’s bottom line. But costs like rent and insurance, aren’t scalable during a slow season or dip in patient volume, and practices poised for growth cannot neglect important IT expansion like information exchange software and web-based patient portals.

But what about staffing and payroll?

A specialized health care staffing agency can help a practice scale a solution that maximizes payroll dollars, facilitating profit that can be redirected to strategic growth initiatives. In fact, in a 2015 survey, 68% of healthcare administrators said they used locums tenens physicians in favor of permanent placements, followed by 13% using temp talent to meet rising patient demand, with just under 12% using agency talent for additional help during peak office times.

Essentially, this trend illustrates the desirable benefits of flexibly hiring and paying professionals when there’s demand – instead of paying a surplus of permanent salaries when the waiting room is empty.

In addition to getting a handle on the dollars spent on support operations and optimizing staff usage, a staffing agency can also facilitate the use of lower-cost, high-versatility employees like nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. This is a cost-effective staffing option, and it also allows a practice to become more competitive, for example, with the vast number of mini-clinics at local grocery stores and pharmacies.

If increased patient volumes dictate a need for more administrative personnel, a staffing firm can also quickly fill those positions with temporary or temp-to-hire additions.

Add it all up, and working with a reputable staffing agency like the Lee Group is a great way for a medical practice to enhance operations and reduce operational expenditures through flexible, scalable staffing options that position the business for sustainable growth.

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