A medical group that works to improve the 'patient service culture'

March 1, 2004

In response to low patient satisfaction surveys and patient attrition as high as 40% in a 2 year period, the Central Brooklyn Medical Group (CBMG) is seeking to revamp its "patient service culture," reports MD Practice Alert (12/3/03). To that end, the 180-physician multispecialty practice is implementing financial incentives for physicians and operational changes.

Discovering that lengthy waits for physician access contributed to patient attrition, CBMG is motivating physicians to cut wait times for appointments and increase face time with patients through compensation plans. Financial incentives include rewards for CBMG physicians who close down or avoid starting outside practices or jobs, or who obtain good patient satisfaction and clinical quality scores. For CBMG primary-care physicians, the group is implementing a "subcapitation" plan, which would pay the PCP a reduced rate whenever his or her patients visit other physicians or go to urgent care. Specialists are also offered a financial incentive, called "contact capitation" compensation, which rewards them for seeing new patients quickly.

In addition, CBMG is also installing an appointment tracking system, raising staff levels, and implementing an electronic medical records system.

CBMG leaders believe the initial outlay of costs will help retain patients and ultimately boost profits. It is estimated that an extra $6 million in revenues per year will be made by cutting patient attrition in half. Moreover, the improvements in patient service will likely bring in new patients—and the revenue that comes with them.