Call Pay: It's not just about the money

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Whenever we suggest that call pay isn’t really about the money, the idea is met with skepticism. This is understandable given that on the surface, the money matters quite a bit. Doctors are demanding to be paid more, and many have even refused to take call in the wake of reduced reimbursements. But in our experience, there are typically underlying issues at play that spark agitation around the issue. More often than not, physicians are actually seeking recognition and respect.

 

Revealing underlying issues

 

Our Physicians’ Call Committees are designed to unearth the underlying issues of call pay in order to address them in a collegial environment. For example, in a recent call committee meeting, one member shared that he felt disrespected by his peers and administration. As a result of a disagreement with administration, his specialty group had stopped taking call altogether. Prior to the committee meetings, the rest of the medical staff didn’t seem to understand or care about the situation. During the committee’s discussion of burden, this physician had the opportunity to explain the situation to his peers and how it had impacted his colleagues in his specialty group. There was an overwhelming response from the other physicians, and the committee voted to include his specialty in a higher tier group, which signified a greater burden. The physician stood to express his appreciation to the group for their recognition. His voice had been heard, and it was deeply meaningful to him. After this, there was a shift in attitude in the room. The committee members now understood that their participation in the process would lend itself to a supportive atmosphere, a deeper understanding of the burden of other specialties, and better working relationships among their peers. And all of this occurred before money was ever discussed. 

 

The power of participation

 

This experience illustrated the importance of physician participation. By providing a platform for open and honest discussion, we are able to explore the issues at the heart of call pay. The money is important, but it’s seldom the sole motivating factor. When the deeper issues are addressed up front, the resulting compensation program is more beneficial for all parties involved. To learn more about our Physicians’ Call Committee, download our white paper today.

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