PCMHs Offer Higher Operating Costs, But Greater Revenue

Although operating costs per patient are higher in patient-centered medical homes, medical revenue per patient is also higher than other practices.

Practices are continuing to invest more in patient-centered care models, and one way is to become a patient-centered medical home (PCMH).

Although operating costs per patient are higher in PCMHs, revenue is also higher, according to new data from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

The Cost Survey for Primary Care Practices report from MGMA revealed that PCMHs reported higher operating costs per patient than those who were not a PCMH, but medical revenue per patient was also up.

“It’s possible to be truly patient-centered in any model of delivering care,” Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP, MGMA-ACMPE president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Regardless of model, it requires a proper structure and foundation — the right providers and staff — to truly provide quality and cost-effective care to patients.”

According to MGMA, the reason PCMHs reported increased operating costs is partly due to the fact that PCMHs need a greater number of providers and staff to optimize the care delivery model.

The PCMHs in the report had a median of 29 full-time equivalent support staff per 10,000 patients. For those who are not PCMHs, the median was 18.5 full-time equivalent support staff members. PCMHs also reported more full-time equivalent providers.

“It’s encouraging that physician practices are working to care and support their patients in new and innovative ways, even if it means a greater investment up front,” Turney said. “Especially in an environment of such fiscal uncertainty, it’s evident that doing what’s best and investing in patients remains the top priority.”