As nurse practitioners, without crunching the numbers, most of us could have predicted that we save medical practices money. Our salaries are lower than those of physicians and we perform many of the same job functions. So, naturally, there is a savings involved. Although physician organizations are fighting to limit the role NPs play in healthcare, numbers show the better business plan is to embrace nurse practitioners and the subsequent increase profits.
Physician organizations worry that the trend towards nurse practitioner independence and the influx of NPs into the job market will hurt their future employment prospects and prestige. Smart docs, however, are embracing these changes and using these trends to their advantage.
Recently, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) looked at the effect that non-physician provider (NPP) utilization has on medical practices finding that NPPs prove quite profitable. Practices employing nurse practitioners perform better financially, and generate higher physician income. For example, one MGMA report shows that orthopedic surgeons who do not utilize NPPs can expect to earn slightly less than $450,000 a year on average, while orthopedic surgeons employing NPPs may see a salary increase to nearly $550,000.
Not only can physicians who work with nurse practitioners profit from this business model personally, operating costs for practices making use of nurse practitioners are lower. 68 percent of better-performing medical practices employ nurse practitioners, or other non-physician providers. Non-physician providers improve patient satisfaction, increase patient volume, and free up physicians to focus on tasks that can’t be performed by other providers helping a practice to function more efficiently.
Thanks to numbers like these, nurse practitioner employment is on the rise. More and more medical practices are realizing the benefits of using NPs and using the role to their advantage. Even if you don’t own your own clinic or plan to venture into the business side of healthcare, recognizing the benefits you have as a nurse practitioner on the overall business structure of a practice is important. This knowledge empowers you to negotiate a salary and contract appropriately, and make a case for value to prospective employers.
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