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Spring 2008

The 2008 MGMA Cost Survey for Single Specialty Practices

Joe Laden
Business Manager, Anesthesia Associates of Louisville (Ky.)

You are at the negotiation table with your hospital administrator to discuss your subsidy request. You slide your proposal over to the other side of the table. The hospital’s subsidy verification consultant takes your proposal and at the same time pulls a copy of the MGMA Cost Survey from her briefcase and says, “Let’s see how your numbers compare.”

Do you panic, not knowing if the cost survey will support your proposal, or do you smile with confidence because you know your numbers line up favorably with MGMA’s data from similar practices?

If your practice is to be measured against others using the MGMA Cost Survey, it is imperative that you participate in the survey and have your numbers counted. The higher the participation rate, the more useful the survey will be.

Your participation in the survey will result in many benefits, including:

  • MGMA members receive free copies of survey reports in which their organization participates. The nonmember price of the Cost Report is $500, and the price to members who did not participate is $285.
  • You will obtain a free customized ranking report benchmarking your practice against its peers.
  • You will qualify for discounts on the Cost Survey Report CD. The interactive report CD has additional information and stratification not available on the printed report.
  • You may participate in the MGMA “Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups” and receive a free copy of this report. (Nonparticipating MGMA member cost, $300; non-member cost, $515.) Better performing groups may be highlighted in this publication and receive an award certificate.

The MGMA Cost Survey for Single Specialty Practices can be used to benchmark your practice against other anesthesiology practices nationwide. Some of the practice parameters that can be compared are:

  • Charges and collections per provider
  • Revenue (collections) per ASA unit
  • CRNA costs
  • Fringe benefit costs
  • Billing costs
  • Costs per case and per ASA unit
  • •Accounts receivable aging and days in A/R
  • Charges by payer
  • Number of support staff and costs per anesthesiologist
  • Financial support for operating costs (hospital subsidy)

For those of you who regularly complete the MGMA surveys, you should encourage your colleagues in anesthesiology to do the same. This applies especially to colleagues who have not completed the survey in the past and who have called you asking for survey information.

A high participation level by anesthesiology groups in the past has allowed the MGMA to produce an anesthesia specific cost report in conjunction with the MGMA Anesthesia Administration Assembly (AAA). If participation levels remain high, the Cost Survey for Anesthesia and Pain Management Practices will be available in 2009.

Data from your practice’s billing and accounting systems will be needed to complete the cost survey. Practices that have outsourced billing, accounting, and management should ask for the assistance of their service provider to complete the survey. A few practice management systems produce special reports tailored to MGMA survey requirements. If there are any questions about completing the survey, the MGMA staff is willing to assist via telephone or email.

The Cost Survey is available in PDF, as well as Excel-based, and online web based versions. The online web-based version is preferred because of the extensive real-time editing features and because your data is input directly to the MGMA resulting in greater accuracy. You can complete the web-based cost survey in multiple sessions and from any location with internet access. Online help is available while you are answering the survey questions. Data from your prior survey is also available online.

Since this article was written, the May 2 deadline has passed. If you have completed your questionnaire, you will receive your Cost Survey report by mail. If not, you may order a copy of the report from the MGMA.