Half of health execs use patient satisfaction as physician incentive

With quality performance tied to hospital reimbursements and revenue, leaders are using those same scores to decide how to pay their physicians. Fifty-seven percent of healthcare executives and clinical leaders use quality metrics as an incentive for physician compensation, with 50 percent now using patient satisfaction as incentives, according to a HealthLeaders Media report released this week.

"I believe there will always be productivity measures [for incentives]; however, there will continue to be a growing use of quality and patient satisfaction scores as incentives in compensation models," said Dr. Alan Kaplan, vice president and chief medical officer of Iowa Health System, in the report.

Sixty-five percent of those leaders surveyed said they anticipate physician compensation will remain relatively flat with increases of 1 to 4 percent. Many of them (59 percent) said healthcare reform was a deciding factor in how physician compensation was structured.

"We are finding more frequently that [administrators] need physicians to participate in administrative discussions because they help us drive our goals to meet the future demands of healthcare reform," said lead advisor of the report and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey D. Limbocker of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La., in a press release Monday.

With half of healthcare execs rewarding physicians for quality performance, it might point to a trend in shifting compensation models.

"We foresee a transition from a straight-fee-for-service model to one that rewards the creation of value and management of a population's overall health," one administrator of a small health system said in the report.

The report also noted that more than a fifth (22 percent) of physicians had no or little say in creating their compensation models.

For more information:
- read the press release
- check out the report (.pdf)

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