Determining how much medical office staffing you need can be a tough code to crack. There is no exact science to it, but there are industry guidelines that can point you in the right direction.
Every medical practice is different and has different needs, so finding what works specifically for your office is key. Here are some tips and guidelines to follow to help you determine how many people to hire:
Research Medical Office Staffing
Your first step should be to research and find reliable sources to point you in the right direction. the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Practice Support Resources (PSR), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) all should have some good data that you can look over. When researching, you want to find the answers to these 2 questions:
1. Do we have enough people to do the work?
2. Are your staffing costs in line with other practices in the same field and size?
To answer those questions, you want to look for data points that address the percentage of revenue spent on support staff salaries and the how many support staff is needed per full-time-equivalent (FTE) physician.
Remember: While it’s important to research these data points, your office is unique and has different needs. Take your research as a starting point, and don’t be afraid to adjust if needed.
Support Staff to FTE Physicians
This ratio is crucial to determining how much staff is needed in your medical office as it tells you how many full-time staff will support one doctor. You can calculate the ratio with this method:
1. Figure out how many doctors work full time in your practice.
2. For the doctors working less than full time, divide their average number of hours by what you consider full times hours. For example, let’s say a doctor works 30 hours per week and you consider a full work week to be 40 hours. So 30/40 is .75, meaning that doctor’s FTE status is .75.
3. Now, calculate your total number of FTE physicians by adding the doctors from steps 1 and 2 together. So, if you have two full time doctors and one that works 30 hours a week, your total number of FTE doctors would be 2.75.
To determine your total number of FTE support staff, follow the same process and then you will arrive at your ratio of FTE support staff to FTE physicians. Using your research, this can help you determine how many people are needed in your office.
In most cases, other factors and special circumstances will affect medical office staffing– numbers alone will not calculate this. Your office will probably require both medical support staff as well as admin support staff. Don’t forget to take these job duties into consideration:
• Front desk and phone staff are needed at most practices. They will need to check patients in and out, schedule appointments and more. As your practice grows, you may need to have one person dedicated to answering the phones.
• You may need one person dedicated to referrals if you are a primary care office with more than three or four doctors.
• Billing can be outsourced or processed in-house, it’s up to you. Typically, one FTE employee is needed for every two physicians.
• Depending on the size of your practice, you may need a manager. If you have a lot of support staff, you may want to consider hiring one.
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