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Breaking Down MSOs in Healthcare: What They Are and How They Can Benefit Your Practice

what is an mso in healthcare

As a healthcare provider, caring for patients is your main priority.  Unfortunately, a long list of non-clinical duties on top of your role as a physician can quickly lead to burnout and diminished capacity. While administrative responsibilities aren’t going away any time soon, there is one solution to reserving your time and attention for patients in need — working with an MSO. 

What is an MSO in healthcare?

MSO stands for Management Services Organization. An MSO offers a variety of management and administrative services to hospitals, clinics, and other types of medical practices. Not only can MSOs manage your practice’s backend responsibilities, but their high aggregated volume also means MSO members have access to significantly discounted services and supplies thanks to preferred pricing

Leaning on the support of an MSO to handle non-clinical obligations means allowing the physicians in your practice to focus on what they do best— caring for patients. 

Ways an MSO Can Benefit Your Practice

Administrative Support. 

Between billing, medical coding, managing claims, and tracking revenue, administrative responsibilities are an important part of running a well-functioning healthcare business. As time-consuming as administrative duties are, they’re an integral part of any practice’s success. 

An MSO in healthcare can oversee each of these administrative tasks and more. As a result, the MSO you partner with can help to not only reduce administrative burdens, but also streamline operations, standardize services, and improve efficiency within your organization. Examples of additional administrative services an MSO may offer include:

  • Reporting
  • Credentialing
  • Utilization Management
  • Call Centers
  • Network Development and Management

Compliance and Regulatory Support

Regulations and compliance requirements continue to grow within the healthcare industry. MSOs can help hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers with the regulatory compliance oversight and management necessary to follow industry standards, maintain appropriate documentation, and adhere to legal and ethical guidelines. 

Financial Management

Providers who lean on the financial management support of an MSO often achieve improved financial reporting and analysis, smarter budgeting, billing consolidation, and reduced overhead costs. These benefits and more can optimize revenue and lead to more informed financial decision-making. 

Technology and IT Support

Support from MSOs doesn’t stop at administrative tasks and management. In fact, many MSOs offer IT and technology assistance. Solutions may include an electronic health record (EHR) system, improved data security, health information system management, and communication/information sharing and streamlining. 

Human Resources and Staffing

Helping employees feel safe and satisfied within their roles is an essential responsibility of managing any organization— and can shape the overall culture of your healthcare facility. MSOs can take the burden of personnel management out of the hands of providers and handle human resources functions such as:

  • Recruitment 
  • Payroll 
  • Benefits
  • Staff Training 

Network Development and Contracting 

MSOs can help with duties in network developing and contracting with other companies. Most MSOs have previously established networks of healthcare providers and can assist medical practices in expanding referral networks, contracting insurance companies, and negotiating reimbursement rates.

Practice Growth and Marketing

Depending on the MSO, some may offer marketing services aimed at developing and advertising your health system’s brand, boosting online presence, and other communication strategies to market services, providers, and other aspects of your practice that may attract new patients

Different Types of MSOs in Healthcare

There are two basic types of MSOs. 

The first provides some or all the services listed above, allowing practices to remain independent of the MSO. The second type of MSO purchases assets and leases them back to healthcare providers. In this type of structure, physicians continue seeing patients as normal but under the condition of relinquishing ownership of administrative duties or tangible assets such as office spaces. 

Before signing any agreement with an MSO, it’s important to fully understand the terms of the contract. Carefully consider any limitations, expectations, and termination protocols if you choose to end the agreement in the future. 

An MSO Can Benefit Your Healthcare Practice— and Patients, Too

Outsourcing administrative and management duties to an MSO means physicians in your practice can focus on what they do best— caring for patients. These entities specialize in managing non-clinical responsibilities of healthcare establishments, improving efficiency and streamlining services. 

As you choose the MSO that’s right for you, research those that align with your practice’s unique needs, goals, and philosophies. Finding the right MSO for your practice can help providers concentrate on patient care, improving patient satisfaction and outcomes in the long run. 

Learn More About PACT

PACT, a partner of Hartford HealthCare was established as Physicians Alliance of Connecticut (PACT) in 2013 to rebuild and preserve private medical practice in Connecticut. We are a multi-specialty physician group in which every member has a voice, and each division is given as much autonomy as allowed by law. 

In 2020 we began operating under the Hartford HealthCare umbrella as an independent medical practice. This partnership, which maintains our values and approach, strengthens our resources and geographic reach. The results of our approach can be seen in financial benefits, increased efficiency and time savings, and ultimately an improved work/life balance.


Learn More About Becoming a Member of PACT