"Having a care coordinator onsite doing outreach to the patient increases primary-care utilization, which allows us to have better understanding and control of blood work outcomes, medication management, and specialist referrals," says nurse Janet Duni, a population care coordinator at Vanguard Medical Group in Verona, N.J. "Those three things really influence the level to which a patient is engaged, and how their disease process is monitored and the outcomes of their disease processes." Duni adds that having care coordination onsite at her practice has decreased its patients' emergency department use and inpatient stays. For more on care coordinators and what Duni's role entails visit http://bit.ly/Emerging-Roles.
PAs no longer 'an experiment'
About 25 percent of our 2013 Staff Salary Survey respondents said they employ a physician assistant (PA) at their practices. That percentage is likely to grow in the coming years, says Mary Barber, senior executive vice president of marketing at Cejka Search. In fact, a 2012 survey by the physician and advanced practitioner recruiting organization found that 63 percent of medical groups plan to hire more physician assistants this year.
Ann Davis, a nonpracticing PA in Grass Valley, Calif., says that practices are not only adding PAs to their ranks, they are also utilizing them "more to their full abilities." "We're not an experiment anymore," says Davis, who is the senior director of state advocacy and outreach at the American Academy of Physician Assistants. "It's pretty common that folks are understanding all of the benefits in the patient care and the high-acuity care that PAs can provide — the future's very bright for the profession."
For more on how the PA role is changing, visit http://bit.ly/PA-Growth.
* Are your staff salaries in line with your peers? Find out with our 2013 Staff Salary Survey data.
Due to declining reimbursements, many practices are freezing staff salaries, reducing benefits, and asking staff to do more. Here's how to foster a positive practice environment despite these challenges:
• Provide monetary bonuses, paid time off, and/or flexible scheduling to staff members who demonstrate exceptional performance.
• Be open about the financial challenges your practice faces and make it clear that staffers are part of the solution.
• Share praise, acknowledge service, and say thank you to staff members regularly.
Aubrey Westgate is an associate editor at Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Physicians Practice.