A group of Massachusetts hospitals have started paying some specialist doctors for on-call emergency department shifts, potentially shifting the traditional balance of power between the facilities and physicians. In the past, many hospitals both within and outside the state have adamantly refused to pay on-call physicians. But now a growing number of the state's hospitals are violating existing practice, which dictates that specialists accept on-call shifts in return for their admitting privileges. Participants in this new trend include Hyannis, MA-based Cape Cod Hospital, which pays $500 to $1,000 per shift to many specialists, a step which should cost the hospital $2 million this year. True, on-call pay isn't so unusual in the hospital community at large. In fact, more than one-third of hospitals have begun to offer on-call payments, according to the American Hospital Association. But these payments are unusual in Massachusetts, whose teaching hospitals, in particular, rely on residents to handle call in the ED. Teaching hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, however, has made on-call payments to physicians for years, particularly if they have to spend the night at the hospital.
To learn more about this trend:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe