The uninsured rate has increased. What does this mean for our hospitals?

By: Leah Worthy

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The annual U.S. Census Bureau report found that the number of Americans without insurance rose in 2018 for the first time in a decade, increasing by about two million people. It’s reported that a rise in uninsured Americans places increased stress on emergency departments. Research done by the Kellogg School found that for every additional uninsured individual, a local hospital will incur another $900 of annual expense. The same research team also found that most of this burden falls on non-profit organizations, many of which are already struggling to survive in today’s environment. 

 

What does this mean for call pay?

 

A previous rise in uninsured patients, coupled with the passage of EMTALA, created the initial demand for call pay. Since uninsured rates are on the rise again, and hospitals are competing with one another for physician talent, it’s clear that the demand for call pay will not subside any time soon. For hospitals that don’t have a call compensation strategy in place, this expense could become a financial liability.

 

Sustainability for the future

 

That’s why thoughtful call compensation design is so important to the financial futures of our hospitals. In order to ensure the sustainability of our call pay programs, MaxWorth’s Call Pay Solution incorporates a cost-recovery platform that enables hospitals to recover a portion of their call pay expenditures. 

 

Attract and retain physicians

 

We also believe in offering physicians unique rewards that will give hospitals an advantage in recruitment and retention. Our Physicians’ Advantage Plan, which is offered through our Call Pay Solution, gives physicians the opportunity to invest their call compensation on a pre-tax basis. Since attraction and retention are major expenses, improvement in these areas can provide a boost to a hospital’s bottom line.

 

The power of physician participation

 

Our program also establishes a Physicians’ Call Committee. Physician involvement empowers a medical staff to see to the ongoing success of the program no matter how many times a hospital undergoes changes in leadership or ownership.

 

If the number of people covered by health insurance continues to decline, the need for call pay will only become more prevalent. In order to make sure a hospital’s financial future is not threatened by this mounting expense, it’s important to establish a call pay program that’s both sustainable and meaningful to physicians.

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