More Doctors Now Receiving On-Call Pay

The number of physicians receiving compensation for being on-call is increasing, with more than a third (35%) of those surveyed saying they receive on-call compensation daily, and 21% receiving a one-time payment annually on-call duty, a new study found.

Invasive cardiologists had the highest median daily rate of on-call pay at $1,600 per day, while general surgeons earned a median of $1,150 a day and urologists received $520 per day, according to the Medical Group Management Association’s Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data.

“Despite the variability of on-call compensation based on location, specialty, group size and other factors, physicians now are more likely to be compensated for on-call coverage than in the past, and the amount is increasing year to year,” said Jeffrey B. Milburn, MBA, CMPE, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group said in a statement. “Physicians realize the value of their time and services and are negotiating compensation for on-call coverage.”

The size of the practice also affected on-call compensation, the study found. OB/GYN physicians in single-specialty practices received double the rate of median on-call pay ($500 per day) than their peers in multispecialty practices ($250 per day). 

Invasive cardiologists had the largest gap in pay, with single-specialty providers receiving 33% more, or a median of $1,000 per day on-call than those practicing in multi-specialty groups ($750 per day).

The opposite was true for anesthesiologists and general surgeons, who tended to receive higher on-call pay if they belonged to larger practices. For example, anesthesiologists earned a median of $450 per day in groups with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent doctors, compared to $660 per day in groups for practices with up to 75 physicians. General surgeons in groups with 25 or fewer doctors earned a median of $1,000 per day, while doctors in larger practices of up to 75 physicians received $1,475 per day on call.

Nearly all physician specialties surveyed received higher holiday on-call pay rates than weekend rates, the study said. Radiologists received $700 more for a holiday rate than a weekend rate;  orthopedists earned a median compensation of $1,025 for holidays; and OB/GYN physicians reported a median on-call holiday rate of $125.

Source: Medical Group Management Association.