Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Health Care Hiring Continues to Expand during Weakened Economy

Sullivan Cotter Survey Finds that Nearly Three-Quarters of Hospitals and Health Care Systems Report Increased Physician Staffing Levels

January 10, 2012 -Chicago - A survey released by Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc. (SullivanCotter), a nationally-recognized compensation and human resource management consulting firm, reports that most hospitals and health care systems increased their physician staffing in 2011 and plan to continue to do so in 2012.

This finding is contained in SullivanCotter's2011 Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey Report, now available for purchase.The survey contains data from 424 health care organizations representing 66,400 health care providers and is considered the industry standard.

According to the survey, over the past 12 months, nearly three-quarters of the survey participants reported they increased their physician staffing levels; adding 12 specialists and nine primary care physicians to their staffs on average. Additionally, three-quarters also indicted they plan to increase their physician staffs and mid-level providers over the next 12 months.

"These data are consistent with the labor market shift in physician employment that has been occurring over the past few years," noted Kim Mobley, practice leader for physician compensation. "We expect this trend to continue for some time. This shift in the labor market has resulted in what has become a highly competitive labor market for physicians as organizations and physicians align to provide services in a high quality, more efficient manner."

Widely acknowledged as the industry standard for physician data,the 19th Annual edition of the survey report represents the most comprehensive physician database among major commercially-available surveys of its kind. It contains data from 424 health care organizations representing 66,400 health care providers. Total cash compensation (TCC) and productivity data are reported on over 212 physician, PhD, mid-level provider (MLP) and administrative MD and PhD specialties as well as 8 medical group executive positions.

This year's comprehensive report also includes TCC levels paid to Staff Physicians, Program Directors, Medical Directors/Division Chiefs and, for select specialties, Department Chairs. The survey reports productivity data (wRVUs) collections and gross patient charges as well as productivity ratios (TCC to collections, TCC per wRVU, TCC to gross patient charges and collections per wRVU).

Other Key Findings

The survey also found that health care organizations are using increasingly sophisticated compensation plans. Many are basing incentives not just on productivity, but also on physician performance, most often tied to patient satisfaction (74%) and/or quality (72%). Although the amount of compensation typically tied to physician performance has been about 3-5%, it is expected to increase to about 7-10% of physician total cash compensation. According to Mobley, this trend is expected to continue as health care organizations adopt more sophisticated plans and align their physician compensation strategies to future reimbursement methodologies.

Other physician compensation trends to note include: the continued use of on-call pay, as 65% of health care organizations reported paying at least some physicians for call coverage (up from 54% in 2010); the use of non-compete agreements, as reported by two-thirds of the survey participants; and the use of hiring bonuses, as reported by nearly three-quarters of the survey participants.

The2011 Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey Report is now available for purchase. The cost to health care organizations who participated in the 2011 survey is $500. The cost for organizations agreeing to participate in next year's survey is $950, while the cost of health care organizations not wishing to participate next year is $2,000. Non-health care organizations must call for the price. A CD containing the survey data tables is included with the purchase of the survey. To order a copy of the survey, please visit www.sullivancotter.com or contact Jill St. Aubin, Survey Project Coordinator, at jillstaubin@sullivancotter.com.

About SullivanCotter

SullivanCotter specializes in the assessment and development of total compensation and reward programs for physicians and executives in the health care industry. Since 1992, SullivanCotter has worked closely with health care organization executives, boards and compensation committees to devise innovative compensation solutions that attract and retain leadership talent while satisfying not-for-profit missions and regulatory requirements. A leader in independent consulting, benchmarking, trends and analyses, SullivanCotter has also developed the most widely recognized physician and executive compensationsurveys in the United States. For more information, visit sullivancotter.com or call (888) 739-7039.

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