Connections for Success



How to Benchmark NPPs in Your Practice

Using nonphysician providers (NPPs) can be an effective way for practices to prepare for the expected influx of 30 million new patients receiving health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s new Health Insurance Marketplaces and expanded Medicaid programs. However, for the use of NPPs to work, you must benchmark NPP performance by identifying performance metrics that reflect your practice’s critical success factors and then using these metrics to set goals and measure progress toward them.

Performance Metrics

In a typical practice, NPP performance metrics fall into five categories:

  1. Day-To-Day Practice
    Does the NPP meet deadlines? Is he or she up to date and accurate with charting and dictation? Are billing forms completed promptly and fully? Does he or she prepare effective referral letters and other correspondence?
  2. Practice Development
    How effective is the NPP at attracting new patients and retaining existing ones? Is he or she a source of ideas for practice improvements, and willing to assist with administrative matters?
  3. Practice Style
    The ideal is a strong, production-oriented work ethic. Does the NPP work efficiently, being sensitive to the cost of resources he or she utilizes? Does he or she demonstrate enthusiasm and flexibility during the daily work routine?
  4. Clinical Performance
    The NPP must have appropriate knowledge and skill, and maintain them through continuing education. Can he or she ensure patient compliance with directives and coordinate care effectively?
  5. Interpersonal Skills
    Does the NPP interact well with patients, clinical staff, management, referral sources, vendors and suppliers?

All of the above characteristics should be measured objectively — quantitatively whenever possible, otherwise qualitatively.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has looked at the deployment of NPPs by physician practices and collected data that can help you benchmark effectively. Among the MGMA’s members, there’s an average of 0.31 NPPs for each full-time physician, with NPP costs of 4.05% of practice revenue and total provider (NPP and physician) costs of 41.75% of practice revenue. See the chart below, “Key practice metrics involving NPPs,” for more metrics you can use for benchmarking.

Focus on the Numbers

The best-managed physician practices employ NPPs. To get the greatest benefit from them, thoughtfully supervise their performance using appropriate benchmarks.

Key Practice Metrics Involving NPPs

  Nurse Practitioner Physician Assistant
Collections $203,309 $282,528
Work RVUs 2,692 wRVUs 3,180 wRVUs
RVUs 5,730 RVUs 6,139 RVUs
Salary $93,977 $92,635 (primary care)

Source: 2013 MGMA Physician Compensation and Production Survey

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