SOURCE: ECG Management Consultants, Inc.

November 26, 2007 19:07 ET

ECG Management Consultants, Inc. Releases Findings From Its Illinois "Provider Compensation, Production, and Benefits Survey"

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - November 26, 2007) - ECG Management Consultants, Inc., one of the nation's premier healthcare management consulting firms, today announced the release of its third annual Greater Chicago and first Illinois "Provider Compensation, Production, and Benefits Survey."

ECG's survey analyzes and reports information from over 1,100 healthcare providers representing 33 physician subspecialties and 5 midlevel provider specialties in the state of Illinois. The survey includes critical data such as compensation-to-production ratios, including work and total relative value units (RVUs), procedure code distributions, trends in recruiting by specialty, and specialty-specific benefit and malpractice comparisons. This information, coupled with ECG's interpretation of market trends, enables survey participants to assess their performance relative to the competitive local market.

"Our medical group is pleased with the evolution and content of ECG's survey," said Mr. Mike Pacetti, the chief financial officer of DuPage Medical Group. "As the study expands to include additional provider organizations, it will improve the information that assists us in understanding state and regional compensation and production trends. These trends provide critical information for our group to understand the many challenges in physician recruitment, retention, and development."

General findings in the 2007 survey based on 2006 data indicate the following:

--  Compensation relative to production increased for greater Chicago
    physicians as a result of compensation gains on flat or declining
--  Primary care physicians will produce between 16 and 22 percent more
    work RVUs under the 2007 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) than they
    did under the 2006 Medicare PFS.  Subspecialty physicians will produce
    between 0 and 22 percent more work RVUs under the 2007 Medicare PFS.
--  Malpractice premiums have declined in the state as a result of tort
    reform and the residual effects on the insurance provider market.  As of
    2007, there are 12 insurance providers in Illinois, compared to only 6 just
    2 years ago.  Malpractice expenses decreased by nearly 17 percent for
    OB/GYN physicians and by more than 25 percent for general surgeons over
    2006 report data.
--  Physician benefits expenses were stable at $32,930 per physician FTE
    for greater Chicago physician organizations, while the Illinois average was
    slightly higher at $33,546.  The stabilization in benefits costs is a
    result of fewer benefits being offered to physicians rather than being a
    result of lower premiums.
--  The majority of provider organizations are recruiting primary care
    physicians but are reporting significant challenges in filling open
    positions.  The most highly recruited specialties in Illinois include
    family practice without OB and internal medicine -- hospitalist.
--  Health system-employed groups continue to experience significant
    losses (approximately 14 percent of collections), while independent groups
    are reserving approximately 1 percent of collections for working capital.

"Competition for physicians is presenting challenges for provider organizations, in both urban and rural settings," said Ms. Maria C. Hayduk, a Manager at ECG. "As a result of a shortage of physicians and the expansion of hospitalist programs and service lines within integrated health systems, physician recruiting and retention have become the priorities for Illinois provider organizations."

"Physician operations and compensation systems need to reflect local market conditions and nuances in order to be effective," said Mr. James W. Lord, a Principal at ECG. "Many surveys report good national data, but few are able to capture the local economics. This information is critical for physicians and administrators who recruit nationally but operate locally. ECG developed its greater Chicago survey in 2005, in partnership with 10 area physician organizations, and expanded the survey to Illinois in 2007. ECG conducts similar customized surveys for other states, subspecialty groups, and healthcare systems. Our Illinois survey is built on an understanding of 3 years of data analysis and trends. Those groups that participate in the survey have a clear understanding of local issues and trends necessary to drive rational business decisions."

ECG Survey Methodology

The "Provider Compensation, Production, and Benefits Surveys" are developed in partnership with local healthcare leaders and ECG's physician compensation and production experts. These experts go to extraordinary lengths to ensure data quality and validity. Raw survey data is reviewed by ECG's experts, who identify outliers for verification by the surveys' participants -- if data cannot be validated it is removed. At the conclusion of this process, ECG converts the raw data into information.

About ECG Management Consultants, Inc.

ECG offers a broad range of strategic, financial, operational, and technology-related consulting services to healthcare providers. ECG provides specialized expertise in developing and implementing innovative and customized solutions that effectively address hospital/physician relationships, strategic and business planning, specialty program development, information technology, and the complexities of the academic healthcare enterprise. ECG has offices in Seattle; Boston; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; and St. Louis. For more information, visit

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