MD Ranger Releases Third Annual Physician Compensation Reports

Payments for call coverage and medical direction increase as hospitals face increasing pressure

April 25, 2012

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BURLINGAME, Calif.--MD Ranger released its third annual physician contract benchmarks reports today. The reports detail compensation rates for on-call coverage, medical direction, leadership, and administrative services, hospital-based physician services, and diagnostic testing and other services. The data comes from more than 220 hospitals nationwide, and covers more than 90 physician services.

This year's benchmarks show that a majority of call coverage and medical direction payments did not change, but those that did rose significantly. Call coverage contracts that did increase rose by an average of 8.8 percent. Medical direction rose by a comparatively modest 1.6 percent.

Penny Stroud, CEO of MD Ranger, said, "Our new reports confirm that payments to physicians for call coverage, and medical direction continue to rise. With pressure on physicians to accept lower payments from Medicare and insurance companies, hospitals are facing tremendous pressure to pay physicians for the time they spend on a variety of non-clinical activities."

Analysis of the more than 5,000 physician contracts found that a hospital's trauma status has the most significant impact on call coverage payment rates, a finding consistent with previous years. Trauma hospitals pay 22 percent more for call coverage services, on average, than hospitals that are not designated trauma centers. Trauma Surgery was again the highest-paid call coverage service, joined this year at the top by Orthopedic Trauma Surgery, both with a median rate of $2,320 per day.

This year, MD Ranger is reporting payment and hours benchmarks for 10 non-director administrative and leadership services, including physician time spent on electronic health records initiatives, teaching and research duties, committee work, infection control, and leadership positions such as Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff. Payments for these services average $150 per hour.

Significant findings from the 2011-2012 physician contract benchmarks include the following:

Call Coverage

  • Trauma centers pay a 22 percent premium for coverage. Restricted call commands a 40 percent premium.
  • Weekend call rates were 30 percent higher than weekday call, although only 4 percent of contracts paid a different rate for weekends.
  • Multi-campus arrangements were 25 percent less costly per campus than single campus arrangements, down from a 40 percent differential in 2010-2011.

Medical Direction, Administrative, and Leadership Services

  • Increasing hospital size by 100 beds increased compensation by 16 percent per hour.
  • Independent hospitals typically required 50 percent more hours of their medical directors than hospitals in a system.
  • Heart Center directorships are the highest paid non-hospital-based specialty.
  • Surgical specialties command the highest hourly rates, at $200 per hour at the median compared to $150 an hour for other specialties.

Hospital-Based Physician Services

  • Anesthesia continued to be the highest-paid hospital-based service, with an average stipend of $707,000 for comprehensive coverage of the service.
  • The percentage of contracts that included incentive payments as a portion of compensation remained constant at 7 percent. In almost a third of these contracts, the incentive payment made up over half of all compensation for the service.
  • Almost 20 percent of hospital-based services contracts included a provision for payment for care of patients without insurance.

MD Ranger gathers comprehensive data on all physicians contracts at each subscriber and provides detailed benchmarks based on the data. The company's database contains over 7,000 contracts from 220 hospitals across the country.

About MD Ranger

MD Ranger is a leading provider of data-driven physician compensation benchmarks that help hospitals, physicians and health systems determine appropriate compensation rates, negotiate competitive contracts, and comply with federal regulations. The company's proprietary database and benchmarks reduce the complexity and costs of establishing fair market value for on-call arrangements, medical directorships, administrative services, diagnostic testing services, and hospital-based medical groups. For more information, visit

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