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Hiring non-physician providers (NPP) such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other so-called physician extenders does increase the cost of running a practice, found a study by the American Medial Association’s Center for Health Policy Research.
But because of the increased productivity and efficiency NPPs can bring to the practice, physicians in solo and group practices employing NPPs increase their net income by an average of 18%, estimates the AMA.
With an average salary of $55,000 to $60,000 for physician assistants, "employment of NPPs raises practice costs, but the resulting increased efficiency may reduce per unit costs or the price of services," says the AMA.
Indeed, another study by the Medical Group Management Association of Englewood, CO, found that the salary of a typical physician assistant only consumes about 30% of his or her related patient billings. In comparison, salaries of podiatrists consume 34%, OB/GYNs 35%, and internists 43% of the practice revenue they generate.