Abstract for: Facilitating Clinicians’ Learning About How to Spend Their Time to Avoid Burnout and Maintain Clinic Fiscal Solvency

Community-based outpatient health clinics in the United States often rely on reimbursement for clinical services based in part on the amount of time spent with clients. However, services cannot be submitted for reimbursement without clinical documentation. In a busy clinic, it is often easy to fall behind in documentation and accumulate billable hours faster than the hours can be submitted for reimbursement. The backlog of hours that need to be submitted can endanger the clinic’s financial solvency and increase clinicians’ feelings of burnout. This model is being designed to help clinicians and their supervisors anticipate how best to allocate time across billable hours and unbillable hours (such as note-writing, supervision time, and traveling to see clients) to avoid an escalating backlog. Preliminary results suggest that more efficient note writing or more time devoted to writing notes is needed to avoid a backlog compared to usual practice. Key next steps include: 1) modeling the dynamics of time spent serving the current client caseload based on a client’s time in treatment and 2) shifting the model purpose from submitting a goal number of billable hours to instead meeting a weekly financial goal of reimbursement dollars received.