Getting Hospitalist Compensation Right

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , February 7, 2011

Moreover, Amin says, when hospitals or health systems contract with a group, the physicians may not strive to improve the institution overall.

2. Compensation Trends—While the model you select is important, naturally the salary is also important. Be aware that salaries for these physicians are on the rise and your compensation structure needs to acknowledge that, else you risk losing these docs going to your competitors. The Medical Group Management Association's (MGMA) annual survey showed the median compensation for internal medicine hospitalists was on the upswing, landing at $215,000 per year not including benefits.

That salary was a whopping $32,000 increase over the median compensation these physicians earned just one year prior ($183,900) and a $44,000 bump from the median salary they earned just five years ago. Additionally family practice hospitalists received a median compensation of $218,066 and pediatric hospitalists reported compensation of $160,038 (note, the report also indicates compensation varies based on geographic location, teaching status and practice size).

When establishing a compensation model for hospitalists, Amin suggests hospital leaders look at more than work relative value units (wRVUs). "I don't think it's the best way to assess a hospitalist's performance, because they can't really control what comes in the door—some days they have 15 patients and other days it's 12," he says.

Amin suggests looking at the group as a whole and determining what the approximate number of patients is for the group. Then consider other responsibilities that you want them to tackle, such as teaching, committees or leadership.

"Put a package together that not only looks at wRVUs but also incentivizes them to do better coding and billing," he says.

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