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Survey: Physician Compensation Evolving Thanks to Nonclinical Demands

April 25, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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As physicians’ role changes in the evolving healthcare landscape, their added complex administrative roles has been increasingly reflective in their compensation according to a recent study from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). The study, Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data,” provides benchmark information that is reflective of the primary compensation drivers for directorship activities.

Generally the report found that the more complex the nonclinical roles, the higher amount of money the physician received in a stipend. Those with responsibilities for community relations or strategic development reported a higher median annualized stipend ($25,000) than their peers who were responsible for other nonclinical, directorship duties, according to the report. Surgical specialty directors responsible for documentation and care planning, monitoring quality and appropriateness of medical care, or physician relations and/or representation reported an annualized stipend of $36,000. Nonsurgical subspecialists with provider of last resort/call availability or regulation, licensure, and credentialing responsibilities earned a higher median annualized stipend ($44,586) than their peers with other duties.

According to the report, time spent on nonclinical directorship activities varies greatly. The majority of respondents to this survey reported that their duties were only a component of total work time. Almost 50 percent indicated they spent fewer than six hours per week on directorship activities. As such, benchmark data reflected stipend amounts for non-clinical effort.

Because of the increasing focus on quality initiatives, the survey began asking this year’s participants to report total annualized stipend amounts by quality metrics tied to their directorships. Those in Pulmonary medicine indicated an 80 percent difference in annualized stipend based on whether or not quality metrics were tied to their duties.  

“It appears that reimbursement for medical practices will be more closely tied to quality metrics in the future, so the medical director’s most important duty will likely be that of the 'quality monitor,'” Jeffrey W. Smith, CEO of Pottstown (Pa.) Medical Specialists Inc, said in a statement. “As practices enhance the way they gather data through their electronic health records and practice management systems, the medical director, along with practice administrators, can review data tied to their quality metrics and be instrumental in monitoring the practice’s efforts, which could ultimately improve care and reduce costs.”

The MGMA "Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data" is the most robust and comprehensive report of its kind, containing data on 1,399 medical directors in 266 medical organizations.

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