Every employee in your practice is critical to its success, but in an era marked by new performance mandates and integrated care, the physician-administrator team plays an increasingly vital role.
The most productive management teams leverage each other's strengths. They collaborate toward a common goal and inspire their staff to deliver the highest quality of care.
But simply pairing a physician and a nonphysician manager together does not guarantee success.
They must work well together, communicate their vision clearly, and be deliberate in fostering an environment of mutual respect.
"This may be the most critical part of a practice," says Ken Hertz, a medical practice consultant with the Medical Group Management Association Health Care Consulting Group, noting the lines that once separated the business and clinical sides of a practice have long-since blurred. "The back office and clinical side are now totally integrated so it's almost become seamless."
To meet performance measures established by public and private payers, he says, physicians and office managers must merge their collective expertise to survive.
"From the clinical side, there is such a large amount of data and information that needs to be captured and analyzed and reported that it's critical for the physician and administrator dyad to be highly functioning," says Hertz.
Indeed, the push for quality improvement is here to stay. Beginning in 2019, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will replace Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and the Value-Based Payment Modifier system with a single program: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS.
MIPS will reimburse physicians based on their composite score for quality, efficiency (cost controls), Meaningful Use of EHRs, and clinical practice improvement.
"As physicians need to be more involved in business processes, it is essential that one physician or more be delegated as a liaison who works directly with the administrator," says Susan Childs, a medical practice consultant with Evolution Healthcare Consulting in Rougemont, N.C. "When physicians and staff work together, they can continually update processes as well as identify problems sooner, instead of catching them on the back end."