Creating a call committee built to last

By: Kyle Worthy

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As call pay continues to be a top concern in healthcare, hospitals are discovering the importance of having a process in place for determining and documenting on call compensation rates. At a recent seminar, the health law experts at Horty Springer discussed the benefits of having a physicians’ compensation committee. Committees not only aid in keeping contracts compliant and consistent, they also instill a sense of trust and fairness in the medical staff.

That’s why, when we’re working with hospitals to build effective call pay programs, the first step in our process is to establish a Physicians’ Call Committee. But our work doesn’t stop there. As many hospitals have found out, having a committee is simply not enough.

 

Why Committees Fall Apart

 

There are several reasons call committees tend to fall apart. Oftentimes, physicians don’t feel supported by their administration, and they believe the committee process is intentionally adversarial. Without a unifying strategy in place, individual interests begin to outweigh the desire for a collective good.

Issues also arise when the committee has little to no influence over decision-making. When administrations don’t take a committee’s recommendations seriously, deals are made behind the committee’s back, rendering it ineffective.

 

How is our Physicians’ Call Committee different?

 

We design our call committees with these potential roadblocks in mind. Our process establishes a platform for collaboration between administrations and physician leaders to ensure that physicians are truly given a voice in the process.

Dr. Tom Oliver of Winchester Medical Center said, “The creation of the call committee was important to the success of the program. The hospital felt strongly that while funding of the program would be the hospital’s responsibility, decisions on specialties to be included/excluded should be decided by the call committee based upon available funding each year. It was felt such an arrangement would improve the objectivity of the process.”

While collaboration strengthens our call committees, perhaps the biggest factor in their ongoing success is our Physicians’ Advantage Plan.

 

How a benefit plan can support committee longevity

 

Our Physicians’ Advantage Plan helps unify efforts since it benefits both physicians and administrations. This element of mutual interest is absent in the traditional approach to call pay.

The plan also supports the committee by fostering a sense of goodwill among stakeholders. It allows the hospital to offer its doctors unique benefits they could not acquire on their own. And since these benefits are long-term in nature for both the hospital and its physicians, this boost in goodwill goes a long way towards establishing a positive hospital culture.  

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