MGMA survey: More providers compensated for on call coverage

May 5, 2011

Providers who indicated they received on call compensation, including urologists, were more likely to be compensated daily or annually in 2010 compared with previous years, recent survey results indicate.

Providers who indicated they received on call compensation, including urologists, were more likely to be compensated daily or annually in 2010 compared with previous years, recent survey results indicate.

Thirty-five percent of providers reported receiving on call compensation daily and 21% reported receiving an annual payment for on call coverage in 2010, according to the Medical Group Management Association’s on call compensation survey. Urologists earned $520 per day for on call coverage. Invasive cardiologists reported the highest median daily rate of on call compensation at $1,600 per day on call, while general surgeons earned a median of $1,150 per day.

Practice type and size affect a physician’s on call compensation. For example, obstetrician/gynecologists in single-specialty practices received median compensation that was twice that received by their peers in multispecialty practices ($500 vs. $250). General surgeons in medical groups with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent physicians earned a median of $1,000 per day, and those in groups with 26 to 75 full-time-equivalent physicians earned $1,475 per day.

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

Holiday and weekend on call rates also varied by specialty, and almost all reporting physician specialties received higher holiday rates than weekend rates.