Physician Compensation Models Are Upside Down

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , July 11, 2013

The research was included in the firm's annual poll of over 2,500 doctors in a report entitled the "2013 Physician Practice Preference and Relocation Survey," which focused on workforce trends and practice preferences.

Whether they are entering volume or value-based contracts, hospital negotiations with physicians are likely to be tense. Generally, physicians remain dissatisfied with their income levels, based on 2012 salaries, and blame declining reimbursements and "administrative hassles" for stagnant compensation, according to Medicus.

As Dean Clinic continues its value-based journey, Samitt concedes most organizations still work in the volume world. Yet, "one of the early things we found in our journey is that you can't pay your physicians for volume in a value-based world." He added that the hospital system did have the proverbial "one-foot in the boat and one in the canoe. You are going against the grain (volume) and we took on a very bold endeavor within our organization to redesign our compensation models."

From his perspective, "the world is evolving from volume to value," Samitt says. Generally, though, "it's in a bit of a schizophrenic place."

Dean itself moved from such a place, and has landed nicely, but not without difficulties, Samitt says. He emphasized the importance of technology and capturing the data. "We shouldn't incent what we can't change and can't measure what we can't capture. We can't capture with antiquated technology," he says.
"It's really about whether we are focusing on the right thing," Samitt says. "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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