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Recent Study Suggests Increase in Healthcare Revenue isn’t Necessarily Passed On 

06 Mar, 2024 F.J. Thomas

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Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – The average hourly wage for someone who works front desk or registration in a healthcare office is between $13.69 and $20.34.  Although the wage is minimal, workers are still required to take the same HIPAA and OSHA training as higher paid staff and clinicians, and can be held fined personally if they accidently commit a HIPAA violation. By comparison, the average hourly wage for fast food workers is around $13.43, and they are not personally responsible for following federal guidelines. 

There has been a lot of controversy the last couple of years regarding decreases in physician reimbursement. According to statistics from the AMA, physician reimbursement has dropped 26 percent since 2001, and yet the cost to operate a practice is forecasted to increase by 4.6 percent this coming year. 

If physicians were to receive an increase in their revenue, would that increase be passed on to the lower earning support staff such as registration workers? Not necessarily, according to a recent study published last month in JAMA Network

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania compared the earned annual income of healthcare workers in 30 states that expanded Medicaid in comparison with 16 states that did not expand Medicaid. The researchers also compared receipt of employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicaid, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits. 

The review sample included 1,322,263 workers from 2010 to 2019. The researchers found that Medicaid expansion was associated with a 2.16 percent increase in annual income, but that increase was driven primarily by higher earning staff, such as registered nurses, physicians, and executives. The researchers found that lower earning workers did not see a significant increase in their annual earnings. 

Additionally, the researchers found that Medicaid expansion was associated with a 3.15 percentage point increase in the probability of a healthcare worker receiving Medicaid benefits. The largest increase was seen among the lowest paid workers which included health aides, orderlies, and sanitation workers. The researchers saw a significant decrease in employer sponsored plans, and increases in utilization of Medicaid nutrition assistance programs following Medicaid expansion. 

Overall, the researchers concluded that Medicaid expansion was associated with increased healthcare revenue and compensation, but only among the highest earners in healthcare. The study highlights the need for more in depth review of the association of revenue, reimbursement rates, and ultimate outcomes for healthcare workers. 


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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