The impact of call coverage on a hospital’s reputation

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Hospitals tell us that nearly 80 percent of their patients come through their emergency departments. That means that the majority of patients are directly affected by which service lines are available on call. Therefore, this availability (or lack thereof) has an impact on the community’s perception of a hospital’s quality of care. 

 

The problem with shipping

 

Patients who are shipped to another facility face several challenges. When they’re far from home, they can become disoriented. They’re also likely to feel isolated since it’s more difficult for their families to visit and care for them.

 

One CEO’s wake-up call 

 

Last week MaxWorth visited with the CEO of a mid-sized community hospital. This CEO shared a story with us about a patient who had suffered a bad fall in his home that resulted in a compound fracture in his arm. When the patient arrived at the hospital’s emergency department, there wasn’t an orthopedist on call, so he was shipped hours away to the nearest trauma center. When he arrived at the trauma center, the staff there was appalled at the lack of care he had received from his community’s hospital. After he recovered, the patient approached the hospital’s CEO. He wanted to know if his experience was typical. To make matters worse, he was one of the hospital’s board members. 

 

The importance of 365 coverage

 

Stories like this one speak to the fact that securing call coverage is important for many reasons. Beyond its financial impact, call coverage also affects access to care and the health of the community. It can also make or break a hospital’s reputation.

 

Call coverage can be a cultural issue as well. While not all hospitals can have 365 coverage in every specialty, gaps that exist due to policy disputes, poor relationships with administration, and disagreements over call pay can result in a toxic work environment. This ultimately has a negative impact on recruitment and retention. 

 

How MaxWorth can help 

 

Our solutions support medical staff alignment and ensure the sustainability of compensation programs. When an organization achieves these two objectives, it greatly improves its ability to secure 365 coverage. With a fair and transparent process that invites physician participation, we’re able to build trust between staff and administration. And by designing programs with sustainability in mind, we’re able to help organizations stabilize their call pay budgets. When a call pay program is sustainable and predictable, organizations often have the freedom to include more specialties, getting them closer to their goal of achieving 365 coverage.

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