Existing compensation is a determinant, Smith says. "If we had a vascular surgeon in there doing that job, that rate would it be higher. But if he's making $1 million a year, we probably wouldn't pick him to be the medical director."
Regardless of the details of specific compensation packages, physician practices in this new era of measurable outcomes should understand that they will have to provide more pay for medical directors as their role becomes more complex, time-consuming, confrontational—and valuable.
"There are two things we are trying to do with our medical director: drive down costs and improve the quality of care," Smith says. "The groups that are moving forward as certified medical homes are already compensating medical directors more based on increased hours and increased revenues into the practice. We've already started to see the change."