The medical assistant is the only model for primary care staffing can be the most cost-effective for practices relying on fee-for-service revenue. But the this model will not be able to support value-based care and other sophisticated revenue arrangements, Premier recently reported.
Physicians will have to reevaluate and tweak the arrangements of their clinical care teams as they explore the opportunity of taking on more risk for the patient populations they serve a balancing act that the industry’s forward-thinking executives have already accepted and following.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is moving practices to value-based care with its Quality Payment Program, established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA.
The analysis found that 22% of family medicine and primary care clinics used a medical assistant-only model; 54% were staffed with a combination of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) along with medical assistants; and 24% were staffed with RNs, MAs, and LPNs.
The success of primary care staffing models key to value-based care and risk-based model will be an investment. Costing practices is a medical assistant-only model. However, investing in the perfect staffing model should pay off as practices will be qualify for incentive payments.
In the early phases of the value-based care evolution, hospitals and health systems focused on the acute setting. This represented the largest savings opportunity. This left medical groups and their practices on the outskirts of the value-based care evolution, leading to wide variation in operating models and gaps in value-based care capabilities.
Medical groups and associated practices will have more chances to participate in value-based care models as the shift away from volume evolves. Therefore, assessing the practice’s staffing model as soon as possible is key to value-based and risk-based care success.
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