Physician input leads to fairness
Hospitals often rely on Fair Market Value (FMV) surveys to help them determine how much to pay physicians for services like taking unassigned call. While these surveys are a good place to start, they’re also problematic. Most of the hospitals we visit would only be able to pay a few specialties at FMV rates, and doing so would not only deplete their budget, it would exclude other equally-burdened specialties, fostering an environment of resentment.
FMV: it’s only fair if there’s enough to go around
Since not everyone can be paid at FMV, decisions have to be made regarding who should be paid, and how much their per diems are going to be. Unfortunately, most administrations do not have a standardized process in place for making these decisions. The specialties that are most vocal in demanding to be paid are often the ones who end up receiving call pay. This inevitably pits specialties against one another and erodes trust between administration and staff. Without a defensible process in place, it’s hard to justify why some burdened specialties are not included in a hospital’s call pay program.
At MaxWorth, we believe there’s a more inclusive, transparent, and fair way to determine who gets paid for taking call: Get input from your doctors.
The Physicians’ Call Committee
The Physicians’ Call Committee brings physicians together to establish a fairness standard for call pay rates at their hospital. This standard is based on each specialty’s call burden taking into account criteria such as the frequency and intensity of their unassigned call.
The committee gives physicians a voice in the decision-making process and provides them with a platform to openly discuss the needs of the emergency department with their peers. It also removes the lack of transparency that so often breeds contempt when call pay is handled with single-specialty negotiations. Not only is this a fairer approach, it also limits the number of call-pay related issues administrators have to face.
Fairness trumps dollar amounts
Having a process in place for determining a call pay budget can create fairness, but it cannot make everyone happy. When physicians better understand one another’s call burdens, they often choose to include as many specialties as possible even if it means that everyone earns a little less. The committee establishes a sense of community through a shared goal of building a fair program. Physicians walk away from the experience with an appreciation for the fact that their own call pay per diem has been established in a fair manner, even if the dollar amount isn’t what they initially hoped for. Even those who aren’t included in the program tend to accept the outcomes because they know their burden was taken into consideration and that the results were arrived at through a standardized process.
To learn more about MaxWorth’s Physicians’ Call Committee, download our white paper, Call Pay Solution: Stabilizing budgets with a fair and sustainable approach. Or, if you’d like to speak to a physician who has served as a call committee leader, we’d be happy to put you in touch with one.
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