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Physician Practices Struggle to Find Support Staff

Primary care practices have lost 40% of support staff since 2019
By Bruce Japsen

PHYSICIAN-OWNED primary care practices are still reeling from a loss of full-time equivalent support staff since the beginning of the pandemic, down 40% per doctor with little indication the situation will improve into next year.

Physician-owned practices had just 3.0 full-time equivalent support staff per physician in 2022 compared to 5.08 FTEs per doctor in 2019 as the COVID-19 pandemic and the so-called “Great Resignation” took a combined toll on doctor practices across the country, according to a report this fall from the Medical Group Management Association.

“The lingering post-pandemic staffing shortages continue to challenge medical groups across the country as they miss out on revenue without adequate support staff,” says Ron Holder, chief operating officer at MGMA. “On top of that, many practices are missing the prompt payments they once enjoyed, which further impacts the bottom line and forces medical groups, hospitals and health systems to look for creative solutions in navigating these challenges.”

MGMA’s data, which comes from its annual “DataDive Cost And Revenue” report is drawn from more than 4,000 medical groups, doctor practices and other healthcare providers across various specialties and practice types. Like other industries, healthcare has been hit hard by the ongoing economic trend of workers quitting their jobs though studies show healthcare, education and hospitality industries have been hit the hardest.

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