Practices with NPPs Perform Better Financially

April 8, 2014
Laura Joszt

In the last 15 years, medical practices have increased the use of nonphysician providers in an attempt to extend the reach of physicians, enhance revenue, and increase patient satisfaction.

In the last 15 years, medical practices have increased the use of nonphysician providers (NPPs) in an attempt to extend the reach of physicians, enhance revenue, and increase patient satisfaction.

The use of NPPs continues to be one way in which physician practices are trying to deliver care in a value-based environment. According to the Medical Group Management Association’s report Nonphysician Provider Utilization in the Future of US Healthcare, organizations employing NPPs to enhance revenue can later reinvest the money back into the organization.

“Medical practices are evaluating the roles of staff and may be considering employing NPPs in their practice,” Laura Palmer, MGMA senior industry analyst, said in a statement. “This staffing model is being implemented more frequently because it allows NPPs to work at the top of their licensure and ensures physicians more time to devote to complex cases. Staffing a practice in this way can improve access options for patients.”

In multispecialty practices, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) NPPs per FTE physician increased by 11% from 2008. In the past 5 years, cardiology, family medicine, and surgery practices have all reported increased use of NPPs.

According to the MGMA analysis, medical practices with NPPs typically perform better financially, possibly because the practice can increase its capacity to serve patients and enhance its access to providers.

“While it’s encouraging to see that practices who invest in employing nonphysician providers benefit financially from such arrangements, medical groups are driven by the desire to serve patients and improve their satisfaction with their experience,” Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE, MGMA president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Being successful in a value-based environment will require practices to innovate and staff their organizations thoughtfully to ensure patients have access to their providers and are satisfied with their experience.”