MGMA: Hospitalist Productivity Improves with Lower Base Salary

Article

Findings from a report by the MGMA and SHM suggest that base salary impacts productivity and overall compensation for hospitalists.

New data suggests that base salary impacts productivity and overall compensation for hospitalists. According to the State of Hospital Medicine: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data produced by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), the lower the proportion of total compensation paid as base salary, the higher both productivity and overall compensation tend to be.

Hospitalists who received 50% or less of their compensation as fixed base salary reported the highest median work relative value units (wRVUs)—a term that refers to the ‘work’ component of the relative value unit system published by Medicare—at 5,407, compared to their colleagues. Those who received 51% to 70% of their compensation as base salary performed 4,591 wRVUs, compared to 3,859 wRVUs for hospitalists who received 71% to 90% of their compensation as base salary. Individuals who received 91% to 100% of their compensation as base salary reported 3,571 wRVUs.

“Hospitalists are one of the fastest growing medical specialties and many of these physicians are being directly employed by hospitals,” said Jeffrey B. Milburn, Health Care Consulting Group. “The compensation methodology has evolved from a straight base salary to base salary plus incentive, based on production and quality metrics.”

The reported median wRVUs were higher for physicians in practices that were not hospital-owned than for physicians in hospital-owned practices, and physicians working in practices that provide on-call coverage at night generated more wRVUs than physicians working in practices that provide on-site care at night.

Internal medicine hospitalists reported median compensation of $215,000, while family practice hospitalists received $218,066, and pediatric hospitalists reported compensation of $160,038. The report also indicates compensation varies based on geographic location, practice teaching status, and practice size.

"This new data will prove tremendously helpful to hospitalists and healthcare executives," said William Landis, MD, chair of SHM's practice analysis committee. "While it is important to keep in mind that wRVUs cannot measure every work effort, this survey data will definitely support better decisions about how hospitalist practices are resourced, and it will ultimately promote delivering the best possible care to hospitalized patients across the country."

For more information:

  • State of Hospital Medicine: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data
  • MGMA Survey Report: Practice Management Compensation Generally Static
  • Doctor's Average Take-home Pay: $27.72 an Hour
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