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MGMA: Physicians Taking On-call Compensation in Growing Numbers

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 22, 2011

On-call compensation for physicians is growing, a Medical Group Management Association survey shows.  

MGMA's Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data shows that more providers who said they get on-call compensation were more likely to be compensated either daily or annually than in years past.

Thirty-five percent of providers reported receiving on-call compensation daily for the days they were on call and 21% reported receiving an annual payment for on-call coverage in 2010. Invasive cardiologists reported the highest median daily rate of on-call compensation at $1,600 per day on call. General surgeons earned a median of $1,150 per day and urologists earned $520 per day for on-call coverage, the survey showed.

Practice type can affect a physician's on-call compensation. OB/GYN physicians in single-specialty practices received median compensation that was twice that received by their peers in multispecialty practices ($500 versus $250, respectively). Invasive cardiologists reported a 33% difference in median on-call compensation between single-specialty ($1,000 per day) and multispecialty groups ($750 per day), the survey showed.

Practice size also influenced compensation for on-call coverage. Anesthesiologists made $450 per day in groups with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent doctors, compared to $660 per day in groups with 26-75 FTE doctors. General surgeons in medical groups with 25 or fewer FTE doctors earned a median of $1,000 per day, and those in groups with 26-75 FTE physicians earned $1,475 per day, the survey showed.

"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," Jeffrey B. Milburn, with MGMA Health Care Consulting Group, said in a media release. "Physicians realize the value of their time and services and are negotiating compensation for on-call coverage."

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