SOURCE: ECG Management Consultants, Inc.

ECG Management Consultants, Inc.

December 01, 2009 14:05 ET

ECG Management Consultants, Inc. Releases Findings From Its Third Annual National Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation, Production, and Benefits Survey

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - December 1, 2009) - ECG Management Consultants, Inc., one of the nation's premier healthcare management consulting firms, today announced findings from its third annual National Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation, Production, and Benefits Survey.

ECG's pediatric survey analyzes and reports information from nearly 2,000 pediatric subspecialist providers representing 41 subspecialties. The survey comprises critical data such as detailed pediatric compensation and production metrics by subspecialty and region, including total compensation, gross professional charges, net professional collections, and work and total RVUs. Data is also reported on specialty-specific benefit expenses and malpractice premiums, recruiting efforts by specialty, work standards, and other operating statistics. The pediatric survey provides participants with benchmarks for pediatric subspecialties that are typically not available or are based on adjusting adult standards, including benchmarks for surgical and hospital-based pediatric subspecialties. As a result of the changes made to CMS's RVU schedule in 2007, clearly defined and understandable RVU benchmarks are imperative for compensation planning. Further, today's challenging recruiting environment is making retention and reliable benchmark data more critical.

General findings in the 2009 pediatric survey based on 2008 data are as follows:

--  2009 compensation per WRVU increased as a result of overall
    compensation gains and declining physician work effort, indicating that, in
    general, organizations are paying physicians more for their work effort.
    
--  Hospital-based subspecialties reported the largest compensation per
    WRVU increase at 7.2 percent over 2008 levels, driven by gains in
    compensation against relatively flat productivity.  Lower reported WRVUs
    and higher compensation resulted in a 4.1 percent increase in compensation
    per WRVU for medical subspecialties, while compensation per WRVU was
    relatively unchanged in surgical specialties.
    
--  There was a 7.4 percent decline in WRVUs in medical subspecialties,
    driven by productivity losses in general pediatrics, pulmonology, and
    gastroenterology.  WRVU production in hospital-based subspecialties was
    relatively flat compared to 2008, while surgical subspecialties reported a
    slight gain in WRVUs at a 1.7 percent increase over 2008 levels.
    
--  When compared to hiring efforts in 2008, the number of positions being
    recruited per organization dropped from 9.1 to 5.5 in 2009; this may
    largely be attributed to a general freeze in planning and growth efforts as
    a result of the economic downturn.
    
--  The level of difficulty in recruiting pediatric subspecialists
    remained high, and the recruiting cycle was longer when compared to last
    year's survey.  Top-recruited pediatric subspecialties included
    hospitalists, gastroenterology, general surgery, and orthopedics.
    
--  In 2009, the average benefit expense per physician FTE increased 8.3
    percent over the 2008 survey.  Despite this increase, benefits as a
    percentage of compensation remained relatively unchanged, which indicates
    that increases in benefits are proportional to increases in compensation.
    
--  Seventy percent of the pediatric subspecialties reporting appointment
    wait times failed to meet the industry standard of two weeks for scheduling
    a clinic appointment.
    

"Competition for scarce pediatric subspecialists and surgeons continues to drive compensation higher," said Mr. Kenneth A. Roorda, Senior Manager and leader of ECG's Children's Hospitals practice. "Although the recent economic downturn initially may have slowed recruitment efforts, pediatric organizations are now continuing strategic planning efforts that require medical staff growth, resulting in the hiring of fewer available pediatric subspecialists and surgeons."

"We are very pleased with the level of participation in our 2009 survey. The survey grew by nearly 20 percent from 2008 to 2009," said Ms. Maria C. Hayduk, Senior Manager with ECG and head of its custom survey and proprietary research efforts. "For 2010, we have received early commitments from nearly 20 past participant organizations, which is a sign that, once officially launched, the 2010 survey will contain the most comprehensive pediatric subspecialty compensation and production industry benchmarks available."

ECG Survey Methodology

The National Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation, Production, and Benefits Survey is developed in partnership with local healthcare leaders and ECG's physician compensation and production experts. Extraordinary lengths are taken to ensure data quality and validity. Raw survey data is reviewed by ECG's professionals, who identify outliers for verification by the survey's participants; if data cannot be validated, it is removed. At the conclusion of this process, ECG converts the raw data into succinct, proprietary 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 www.ecgmc.com.

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