Most COVID-19-related staff compensation cuts were limited, temporary

MGMA Stat - July 1, 2020

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Compensation & Benefits

MGMA Staff Members

The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders: “Has your organization reduced staff compensation amid COVID-19?” The majority (67%) answered “no,” while “33% answered “yes.”

For respondents answering “yes,” a majority (92%) noted that the staff compensation decreases were temporary, while 8% responded that the changes would be permanent.

The poll was conducted June 30, 2020, with 1,105 applicable responses.

These limited staff compensation decreases since the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States reflect one aspect of the severity of operational and financial impacts from shutdown orders and diminished volumes:
  • In April, 97% of practices reported experiencing negative financial impact directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, with an average of 55% decrease in revenue since the start of the crisis.
  • A May 19 MGMA Stat poll revealed that 82% of respondents reported that some or all of their providers’ compensation was impacted by the crisis.
  • A June 26 MGMA Stat poll found that 61% of healthcare leaders said their compensation dropped amid COVID-19.

Decreases in compensation have been just one method for practice leaders to manage severe decreases in revenue and increases in overhead as organizations scrambled to secure cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The U.S. healthcare industry shed 1.4 million jobs in April, including more than 243,000 in physician offices and about 135,000 in hospitals. Countless practices, systems and hospitals also reported extensive furloughs throughout the early months of the pandemic before slowly returning providers and staff as states began to reopen in late spring.

Access MGMA’s Medical Practice COVID-19 Recovery Toolkit
Pre-pandemic years saw growth in staff compensation
The 2020 MGMA Management and Staff Compensation Report, based on 2019 data, reflects information prior to the significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In general, staff compensation for key nonphysician roles in medical practices were on a sizable upward trend since 2015:
  • Registered nurse (RN) total compensation rose 22.94% from 2015 to 2019, while triage nurse compensation rose 25.36% in the same period.
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN) compensation rose 14.26% from 2015 to 2019.
Regional differences for staff compensation
The compensation report also found that hourly rate compensation between the highest- and lowest-paying states can vary by $9 to $10 per hour for front desk staff, $10 to $20 per hour for medical assistants and up to a $35-per-hour difference for RNs (ranging from $25 to $60 per hour).


MGMA data 
The 2020 MGMA Management and Staff Compensation Report represents comparative data from more than 164,000 management and staff positions in 3,400 organizations. The report is based on a voluntary response by MGMA member and nonmember practices. On Jan. 6, 2020, MGMA opened the 2020 Compensation and Production Survey, which collected data on management and staff compensation (in addition to providers) reflective of 2019. The collected data is reported online in the 2020 MGMA DataDive Management and Staff Compensation. Information from MGMA surveys are published in MGMA DataDive
MGMA Stat
Would you like to join our polling panel to voice your opinion on important practice management topics? MGMA Stat is a national poll that addresses practice management issues, the impact of new legislation and related topics. Participation is open to all healthcare leaders. Results of other polls and information on how to participate in MGMA Stat are available at: mgma.com/stat.
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