Sitting Down with Our Industry Experts: Andrew Maller

April 17, 2024

At VMG Health, we’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge. Our experts present at in-person conferences and virtual webinars to bring you the latest compliance, strategy, and transaction insight. Sit down with our in-house experts in this blog series, where we unpack the five key takeaways from our latest speaking engagements.

1. Can you provide a high-level overview of what you spoke about at the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators/American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Annual Meeting? 

The course itself, Physician Compensation Trends for Employed and Owner Providers, had two main focal points. We discussed current compensation and benefits trends for employed providers in group practices, as well as tips for assessing the feasibility of adding new providers in today’s challenging recruitment environment. We also discussed common income and expense sharing models for owner providers in group practices. 

2. What do you think the audience was the most surprised to learn from your presentation?

The biggest surprise for attendees was just how competitive the current recruitment environment is for practices looking to hire new providers. There truly is a supply and demand imbalance, meaning that there are more practices looking to hire providers than there are available ophthalmologists looking for positions. The combination of this challenge with influences from private equity–backed companies has resulted in higher, guaranteed starting salaries for providers on the job market.

All of this is happening while practices are facing declining reimbursement and ever-increasing operating expenses, making the challenging decision to hire a new provider even more complicated.

Many practices I work with feel that this is a challenge to them specifically, based on geography or practice situation. However, the reality is that ophthalmic practices across the country are all struggling to recruit.

3. How do you think your presentation helped healthcare leaders better prepare for challenges? 

One of the key topics of discussion focused on developing a thorough feasibility analysis when determining whether the timing is right to hire a new provider. Practices can exponentially increase their likelihood of making the right decision by taking a disciplined approach in assessing the revenue opportunity for the new provider, their estimated compensation, and other incremental overhead costs. The hiring decision should not be made based on a gut feeling, but instead through a review of objective data points given the potential positive (or negative) impact to the practice.

4. What resources would you suggest for those interested in learning more? 

BSM Connection for Ophthalmology has a several fantastic resources for practices in the recruitment process, including the New Provider Feasibility Analyzer and the Key Contract Considerations Guide for ophthalmologists and optometrists, which provide guidance on compensation and benefit trends. The Provider Recruitment section of the website also includes a Contract Review Worksheet and a sample Letter of Understanding, although we always recommend practices work with legal counsel to ensure appropriate documentation is completed.

For information regarding income and compensation models, our experts have written articles related to income-sharing models for group practices. VMG Health also offers a Provider Needs Assessment.

5. If someone takes only one message from your presentation, what would you want it to be?  

With all areas of practice management, leaders must make business decisions using a disciplined approach. That starts with being educated and realizing the challenges that exist right now when it comes to provider recruitment.

As it relates to owner income and expense-sharing models, the takeaway is the need for transparency. Practice administrators and executives are often the ones charged with administering the compensation model, so the key is to remain neutral and transparent throughout the entire process.

Our team serves as the single source for your valuation, strategic, and compliance needs.  If you would like to learn more about VMG Health, get in touch with our experts, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn.  

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