After a long eight years, unemployment has declined to near pre-recession levels. But, also during that time, the healthcare industry has significantly shrunken its footprint — reducing medical staff in response to downward market forces and declining reimbursements. For many small independent practices, that means doing "more with less," a mantra they have been embracing for several years.
Susan Apold is an adult nurse practitioner who has practiced for 18 years as part of a small, solo-physician practice in New Rochelle, N.Y. It is the type of practice she likens to the fictional medical practice of Marcus Welby, MD. "We know our patients, we know their history, they have been with us for many, many years, and are doing quite well," says Apold. Yet, low reimbursements and limited staff and resources to invest in billing and coding hamper the practice's financial viability, she says.
"[In] this practice there has been a lot of conversation about whether this is a sustainable model, because [other local physicians] were selling their practice and joining larger groups," she says. But the practice survives, Apold adds, in part due to her ability to see her own patients and free up the physician to bring in additional revenue — through seeing hospital and nursing home patients.
Your practice likely struggles with the same issues. To help, we asked our experts to tell us how smart staffing can help a practice become more productive and efficient. Here's what they said.