Revenue Cycle Management Blog | GroupOne Health Source

The Consequences of Employee Turnover in Medical Practices

Written by Kaitlyn Houseman | April 23, 2014

Whether a practice is small or large, employee turnover seems to be a main concern facing medical practices today.  Not only is employee turnover in medical practices increasing the operating expenses, but it is also creating a damper on your patients’ relationships with your practice.

Managing employee turnover is a critical aspect in the current healthcare environment.  Medicare and many private insurers are beginning to factor patient satisfactions scores into their reimbursement calculations.  Patients are looking for a familiar face when they enter your office or someone to treat them with kindness and respect. 

It can be difficult for a practice to reach this level of patient satisfaction and personal relationship if your practice is constantly replacing employees.  There will always be something lost in the process of retraining a new employee. It could be the relationship the employee has built with patients or the knowledge they have gained about the practice processes/workflows while working there. Patients are looking for that personal relationship and managing turnover will help give them the experience they desire.

As Patient Centered Medical Homes continue to develop and grow, the retention of clinical staff is also becoming more apparent.  According to a 2011 Physician Retention Survey from Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association found a turnover rate of 12.6 percent for both nurse practitioners and physician assistants, more than twice the combined, adjusted physician turnover rate of 6 percent.  It will be a challenge moving forward to maintain care teams including nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

High employee turnover in medical practices can also affect medical billing and provider revenue.  Finding Certified Professional Coders and medical billing staff with expertise is not always easy.  The work of reducing errors in coding and billing, denial management, HIPAA compliance, ICD-10, and incentive programs knowledge can only be work performed by experts in this field with extensive experience.

Calculating your turnover rate

To calculate the rate of staff turnover in your practice, divide the number of employee departures your practice has experienced in the last five years by the number of staff members you’ve employed over the last five years.  Then, multiply that number by 100.  A 15% turnover rate in five years is reasonable; 20% or more is considered high.

Losing medical practice staff is inevitable. However, turnover should be avoided rather than treated. Here are a few things you can do to reduce medical practuce staff turnover.

  • Solicit feedback and address employee issues
  • Reward excellent work
  • Pay appropriate compensation
  • Ensure job satisfaction
  • Invest in your staff with education and encourage professional growth
  • Create a safe, loyal, kind culture at your office