10 things to know about on-call coverage

Here are 10 key statistics about on-call coverage for hospital executives.

1. There are several methods of compensation for on-call specialists, according to the MGMA 2015 Physician Compensation and Production Report respondents:

• Daily stipend: 35.87 percent
• Hourly rate: 27.44 percent
• Per shift: 13.58 percent
• Annual stipend: 12 percent

2. The average compensation for primary care physicians varies by region of the country; in the South, physicians make $750 on average per day when they’re on-call. In the Midwest, PCPs make $500 per day and in the West PCPs on-call receive $360 on average. In the East, on-call PCPs make just $125 per day.

3. Daily on-call pay varies by specialty as well. For example orthopedists receive around $1,200 per day for on-call pay while neurosurgeons and interventional cardiologists receive on-call pay exceeding $2,000, according to Sullivan Cotter’s 2014 survey.

4. More than half of the distribution of on-call pay goes directly to individual physicians while others are put into organization-wide pools. Here is the breakdown:

• 68 percent report funds paid to individual physicians
• 26 percent report funds provided to the medical group for distribution
• 5 percent report having an organization-wide pool of funds distributed at the service level
• 1 percent report having an organization-wide pool of funds distributed at the department level

5. Hospitals sometimes have difficulty meeting emergency department and trauma call panel requirements. Compensation as a result has been growing; on-call expenditures at non-trauma center crew from $1.2 million in 2012 to $2.1 million on average in 2013. At trauma centers, the average on-call pay expenditures grew from $3.2 million in 2012 to $4.5 in 2013.

6. Compensation for hospital-based on call physicians at trauma centers was the highest at $38.46 per hour; non-trauma centers reported $31.25 for hospital-based physicians. Surgical physicians received $33.33 per hour for being on call at trauma centers, compared with $25 for surgical physicians at non-trauma centers.

7. More than one-third — 37 percent — of practices report on-call compensation for excess call only; another 28 percent receive compensation for concurrent call coverage.

8. Twenty-four percent of physicians report call coverage per procedure or activation fees.

9. Per diem payment rates for call coverage services were up an average of 5 percent year-over-year, according to the 2015-2016 MD Ranger report cited in Healthcare Finance.

10. The five specialties most likely to get paid for call coverage were general surgery, orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN, urology, neurology and general cardiology, according to MD Ranger.

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