Staff costs for cardiology or cardiovascular-thoracic surgery practices jumped by about 14% in 2001, according to a survey by the Englewood, Colo.-based Medical Group Management Association. The practices also experienced an increase in operating costs and professional liability premiums, the annual cost survey reported. Median operating costs rose about 16% to $422,659, and support staff costs per full-time-equivalent physician climbed from about $193,400 to approximately $220,100. The number of staff required per FTE physician also increased slightly, from 4.9 to 5.1, the survey said. Liability costs, meanwhile, rose an average of about 12% per FTE physician, a figure expected to be far higher when the MGMA releases the survey for the 2002 calendar year. A large part of the increase was due to the cost of the expensive equipment used by many of these practices in an era when complicated procedures are being performed on an outpatient basis. "In many cases, the sophisticated equipment required to perform these procedures can be very costly and moreover, the technical staff required to operate these labs command higher salaries to run the labs," said Frederic Simmons Jr., a member of the MGMA's survey committee and administrator of Clearwater (Fla.) Cardiovascular and Interventional Consultants. -- by Michael Romano
Heart services providers' staff costs on the rise
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