Are there benchmarks for critical access hospitals (CAHs) with respect to the number of FTEs in the Laboratory department based on the volume of tests processed?
Answer 1: I’m not sure there would be a specific benchmark for CAH lab FTEs. It should be the same regardless of the classification of facility, and instead be based on the scope of services offered in the lab. Several sources are available from the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Here is a link to one study that has tables with staffing ratios.
I would think that if you are looking at profitability in a CAH lab, the focus should be on utilization by payer. Since cost is the key, lower Medicare utilization would require funding from other sources if you have a large number of uninsured patients or underinsured patients with high deductibles.
This answer was provided by: David A. Williams, partner, Horne LLP, Ridgeland, Miss., and a member of HFMA’s Mississippi Chapter.
Answer 2: I have not worked for a CAH, but would explore the option of outsourcing as opposed to providing services directly.
This answer was provided by: Matt Levsen, associate CFO, University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Mo., and a member of HFMA’s Show-Me of Missouri Chapter.
Answer 3: Here are the actual labor productivity stats from a well-run CAH lab for January-August 2014. Notice the seasonal variation: Hours per lab procedure are lowest during the busiest (winter) months.
Labor Productivity Rates: CAH Lab
This answer was provided by: Christoph Stauder, principal, Stauder Consulting, LLC, Beaverton, Ore., and a member of HFMA’s Oregon Chapter.
Answer 4: While I’m not with a CAH, here is a great article I use to assess staffing.
This answer was provided by: Curtis H. Bernstein, managing director, Valuation and Transactions Group, Altegra Health, Miami Lakes, Fla., and a member of HFMA’s Colorado Chapter.
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