RPA survey shows nephrology practices hiring more staff
CHICAGO — Results from a benchmarking survey released here show that nephrology practices are hiring staff, particularly nurse practitioners, while income from patient care has remained flat or has fallen.
“Practices are investing in technology and people,” Jennifer Huneycutt, CPA, CMPE, an executive director at Metrolina Nephrology in Charlotte, North Carolina, said at the Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting. “The biggest driver of your operating expenses is going to be your personnel.”
Huneycutt manages the bi-annual Nephrology Practice Business Benchmarking Survey Report for the RPA. The survey is sent out to its membership every other year to gather data on practice size, income and expenses. The 2018 report, which is based on data collected in 2017, is available at www.renalmd.org.
Huneycutt said 128 practices responded to the survey, representing 1,686 nephrologists. While the number of nephrologists represented was higher, the number of practices responding to the survey was less, Huneycutt said.
Average net practice revenue per nephrologist has been going down for the last three surveys, moving from $744,880 per full-time equivalent nephrologist in the 2013 report down to $679,010 in the 2017 survey. Meanwhile, overall operating expenses per nephrologist for the practices surveyed, including salary and benefits, moved from $324,130 in 2013 to $340,220 in 2017. Physician compensation jumped, on average, from $315,690 in 2013 to $332,840 in 2017.
According to the survey, the average medical practice revenue generated per nephrologist was $576,630 in 2017. Just under half of that came from care of patients with ESRD (about 82 patients per nephrologist, 71 of which were on in-center dialysis). Revenue from treating hospital patients also provided a good income stream for practices. Overall, practices saw an average of 1,935 hospital encounters per nephrologists, 183 of which were initial consults and 1,752 which were follow-up visits and/or inpatient dialysis treatments.
However, practices also hired more advanced practitioners to assist in patient care, and average salaries nationally were at $128,784, including compensation and benefits, Huneycutt reported. Huneycutt’s Metrolina practice has more than 29 nurse practitioners, she said. – by Mark E. Neumann
Huneycutt J. Utilizing data to improve practice performance. Presented at the Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting; March 28-31, 2019; Chicago.
Disclosure: Huneycutt reports no relevant financial disclosures.