ANESTHESIA PRACTICE COST AND REVENUE DATA
April 4, 2011
Whether you are negotiating a contract or developing a new compensation model – or preparing to participate in an ACO – you need evidence to support your business decisions. You may derive information from a number of different sources including colleagues, conferences, industry journals and internal information systems as well as external benchmarking reports. All resources complement one another yet few match the credibility of the Medical Group Management Association’s annual Cost Survey for Anesthesiology and Pain Management Practices (conducted in collaboration with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and featured in a number of presentations at the recent MGMA-Anesthesia Administration Assembly [AAA] Annual Conference).
The MGMA Cost Survey report contains a wealth of information designed to meet the needs of today’s professional administrators – not just anesthesia practice CEOs and administrators, but also hospital, surgery center and even health plan administrators. It is familiar to many managers, executives and consultants. Everyone who engages in contract negotiations or strategic planning for anesthesia services should be aware of this resource. You may gain insights from a variety of performance metrics including:
- Provider Compensation
- Production (ASA Base and Time Units)
- Staffing Costs and FTE
- General Operating Costs (such as professional liability insurance)
- Days Gross FFS Charges in A/R
- Stipends per Hospital/Anesthetizing Location
MGMA-AAA and ASA collaborated to determine the most significant drivers of anesthesia practice performance. As a result, the data are segmented into several meaningful categories such as size (FTE physicians), staffing model (care team versus physician only) and geographic region as well as the level of governmental payer revenue relative to the total practice revenue. This means you can identify more discrete comparisons and make better decisions. If you are considering whether to change your staffing model, for instance, the data in Figure 1 below could validate and place a benchmark value on your sense of the differential in net revenues when the ratio of CRNAs/AAs to anesthesiologists changes. Supplement that information with the geographic differences shown in Table 1, and it is clear that a West Coast anesthesia practice in which the physicians never or rarely medically direct nurse anesthetists should not be expected to be generating the same income as a Southern practice in which the anesthesiologists normally oversee four concurrent cases.
All of the data cited here are from the most recent Report, which was published in 2010 based on 2009 data. Some of the values are much more robust than others, based on the number of respondents for each question, and their geographic locations. No other reported survey results represent as many anesthesia practices as does the MGMA Cost Survey Report.
|Collections for Anesthesiologists' Professional Charges by Geographic Section|
These external benchmark data may be deployed in a number of different ways. Consider the activities that have a significant impact upon the group’s ability to provide quality and cost-effective care while maintaining practice profitability. On the cost side, it is intuitively apparent that larger groups should benefit from the efficiencies of size, and the survey bears this out (Table 2):
|Total Operating Cost as a Percentage of Total Medical Revenue|
|10 or Fewer
|11 to 30
|31 or More
You may be in the midst of contract negotiations. Data contained within the MGMA report may be used to bolster your position in these efforts. For example, ASA base and time units may be used to measure productivity and thereby be deployed to calculate figures such as total medical revenue per ASA unit. In turn, the Cost Survey report provides external benchmarks that allow comparisons. Armed with this information you may easily calculate expected total medical revenue (MGMA’s total medical revenue per ASA unit benchmark multiplied by your practice’s ASA unit production) versus your actual total medical revenue. This may indicate a shortfall relative to your peers and aid in advocating for additional for remuneration for services and coverage. See Table 3 below for an example.
Table 3: National Average and Actual Revenues
* While the MGMA-AAA Cost Survey Report gives the median revenue per unit across all payers, with Medicare and in some states Medicaid dragging down the statistics, many anesthesia groups use the managed care conversion factors reported annually in ASA’s commercial fee survey for a similar comparison, or for use in payer negotiations. The national medians in the 2010 ASA survey ranged between $60.77 and $64.00. Regional statistics vary, of course. (Byrd JR, Singh L. Survey Results for Commercial Fees Paid for Anesthesia Services – 2010. ASA Newsl. 2010; 74(10):44-47).
The MGMA Cost Survey report retails for $560 (to non-MGMA members), but any anesthesia administrator, MGMA member or not, can obtain a free copy of the results of this year’s survey by completing the questionnaire for your practice now. Beyond the cost savings, the benefits of participating include obtaining an online ranking report that compares your practice’s data to that of your peers, and receiving the survey data up to six weeks before they are available to non-participants for purchase.
To complete the survey before the deadline of April 22, 2011, go to MGMA’s online survey portal at www6.mgma.com. Once you register with the site, you will locate the 2011 Cost Survey Questionnaire under the “Available Surveys” section heading. Many administrators choose the option of printing the online questionnaire, collecting the data offline, and the returning to the survey to enter the data into appropriate fields.
We are giving you the survey participation information again, and strongly encouraging you to complete the questionnaire, because it is important to have as many responses as possible. We use the Cost Survey report ourselves and we know that you will find the information valuable too. Enough said!
President and CEO