Trauma Hospitals Pay a Premium for On-Call Coverage, Medical Direction Services, According to New Report from MD Ranger, Inc.

Feb. 8, 2010, Burlingame, Calif.--According to MD Ranger, Inc.'s inaugural Physician Contract Benchmarks Report for Call Coverage and Medical Direction Services, trauma hospitals pay physicians 30 percent more for call coverage services than non-trauma hospitals. Medical directors at designated trauma centers were also paid more than their counterparts at non-trauma hospitals, although trauma status accounted for rates just 6 percent higher for these services, a difference that could reflect more complex, time-consuming administrative duties at all hospitals.

"Physician expenses are increasing rapidly across the board, especially at trauma centers, and our data confirm that trend" said Penny Stroud, founder and CEO of MD Ranger. "More and more, hospitals are paying physicians for on-call coverage and medical direction duties they used to perform as part of their medical staff duties."

Physician expenses at trauma hospitals in California have increased 8 percent per year since 2001, to an average of almost $13 million per hospital in 2008, up from $7.1 million, according to MD Ranger's analysis of data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. At non-trauma hospitals, the increase has been over 16 percent per year, to $4.9 million per hospital in 2008 from $1.8 million in 2001. Payment for these services accounted for more than $1.6 billion in California hospitals alone, growing to 3.6 percent of hospital expenses in 2008, from 2.7 percent in 2001.

MD Ranger's report also found the following trends in payment rates for call coverage and medical direction services:

  • Hospitals paid the highest rates for on-call coverage for trauma surgery, at a median rate of $2,434 per day, and lowest for psychiatry, at $121 per day.
  • Only 19 percent of hospitals provided additional compensation for on-call physicians who treat uninsured patients.
  • Medical directors of cardiovascular surgery received the highest median annual payments, at $79,976 per year, while the lowest payments went to noninvasive cardiology directors.
  • Independent hospitals paid on average 19 percent less than system-affiliated hospitals for call coverage services.
  • Medical directors were most commonly paid in hourly rates, with hospitals paying more for surgical specialties, at a median rate of $177 per hour, than for either medical specialties ($145 per hour) or hospital-based ($150 per hour) specialties.
  • Regional location of a hospital had no effect on the rates paid for call coverage or medical direction services.

MD Ranger is a new company that reports benchmarks for a comprehensive scope of physician services based on contract terms submitted by MD Ranger subscriber hospitals, in addition to data collected by the founders in their fair market value work with affiliated firms Cattaneo & Stroud, Inc. and HealthWorks, Inc. The MD Ranger database and benchmarks represent over 4,000 contracts from 191 hospitals in 17 states.

This is MD Ranger's first annual report, which was created to serve hospitals' need for comprehensive, accurate information to use when evaluating physician contracts. Future reports will also cover hospital-based service groups. MD Ranger subscribers include large hospital systems and independent hospitals.

"Our reports are the most comprehensive tool that exists for call coverage and medical direction benchmark rates. We look forward to giving hospitals the information they need to negotiate the complex market factors involved in on-call compensation and directorship duties," said Stroud.

MD Ranger provides a subscription benchmarking service for hospitals to better manage physician contracts for call coverage, medical direction, and administrative services. MD Ranger's easy-to-use reports contain benchmarks based on reliable market data from our robust database of contracts. Learn more at

# # #