Home Career A look at call pay for hospitalists

A look at call pay for hospitalists

January 2015

Published in the January 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

FOR YEARS, hospitals have had to shell out more and more money to specialists to persuade them to take call. (See “Surgicalists: Why aren’t they in your hospital?“) The birth of hospital medicine was supposed to help drive down hospitals’ need to bring physicians in for call, but the reality is that a good number of hospitalists still take call. Here’s a look at who’s taking call “and if they’re being paid for it “from the 2014 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey. All data are for full-time adult hospitalists.

Who’s getting paid?
According to our data, 42% of hospitalists report taking call, but most of them aren’t paid to do so. Only 9% report receiving call pay.

The average call pay is just under $800. About one-third say they’re paid under $500, while one-third earn between $500 and $999, and one-third receive over $1,000.

Here are additional details from our data:

  • Group size. Not surprisingly, fewer hospitalists working for larger groups take call. While 60% of hospitalists in groups with one to four physicians take call, that percentage drops to 36% of hospitalists in groups with more than 15 physicians.Hospitalists in smaller groups, however, are more likely to be paid for taking call. At groups with four or fewer physicians, 16% of hospitalists receive call pay. Only 6% in groups with 10 to 15 physicians are paid to take call.
  • Geography. By region, hospitalists in the Southwest are most likely to take call “73% “but only 9% report earning call pay. Hospitalists in the Midwest are also more likely to take call, with just over half taking call and 12% being paid to do so. In the Northeast, by comparison, less than one-third of hospitalists take call.
  • Employer type. Hospitalists employed by hospitals are the least likely to take call, with only 35% taking call on a paid or unpaid basis. Among hospitalists working for national hospitalist management companies, just 37% take call “and only 3% earn call pay, well below the mean.Who are the biggest call-takers? Among hospitalists in multispecialty/primary care groups, 57% take call. Physicians in local hospitalist groups are right behind them, with 53%.Hospitalists in multispecialty and local groups are also the most likely to be paid. Thirteen percent of hospitalists in multispecialty/primary care groups receive call pay, as do 12% of hospitalists in local groups.