For immediate release on October 24, 2016

ECG Management Consultants’ 2016 Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation Survey Shows Continuing Upward Compensation Trend

St. Louis, MO – October 24, 2016 – The trend of increasing compensation for pediatric subspecialists and surgeons continues. ECG Management Consultants’ 2016 Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation Survey reports the most significant compensation increase in four years at 4% over 2015. Another notable finding of the 2016 survey is the first increase in WRVU production in four years. Over half of the specialties reported an uptick in WRVUs compared to 2015.

While WRVUs remain the most common indicator used to incentivize physicians, the 2016 survey indicates that organizations are feeling the impact of value-based reimbursement and other alternative payment systems. The proportion of organizations using quality measures in compensation plans increased for the third straight year to 56%, and the percentage of organizations using patient satisfaction measures jumped to 31%. Organizations are tying a small but steadily growing proportion of total compensation to these measures, with an average of 3.8% tied to quality and 1.2% to patient satisfaction for 2016.

“Our member organizations have a history of tracking these metrics and incorporating them into their compensation plans. But this year the proliferation of new payment models, the passage of MACRA, and a general shift toward value has motivated children’s hospitals to adjust compensation models more proactively,” said Ken Roorda, ECG Principal and leader of the firm’s Children’s Hospital practice. “The broad representation of organizations and specialists across the country in the survey means that these and other survey findings truly reflect the current trends in pediatric physician practice,” added Roorda.

ECG is a national consulting firm that works exclusively with healthcare providers. The firm’s custom surveys emerged from years of working with medical groups and academic departments to redesign compensation plans. Today, ECG’s custom surveys are a core service encompassing a wide range of areas. The Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation Survey is recognized as the leading market resource, with the most comprehensive source of provider performance data available in the market. Now in its tenth year, the survey reports detailed compensation and productivity data from nearly 8,000 pediatric providers, including almost 2,000 advanced practice providers (APPs), with benchmarks from 57 pediatric specialties.

Beyond just collecting and reporting on compensation and production, ECG’s survey accounts for additional factors that affect a provider’s performance and ability to generate income, including compensation planning, methodologies, provider benefits, recruiting, retention, operating policies, and healthcare IT practices.

Other key findings from this year’s survey include the following:

  • Increases in compensation outpaced overall higher levels of WRVU production, resulting in a nominal overall production-adjusted compensation increase of 1.8% over 2015.
  • Benefits as a percentage of physician compensation increased by less than 1%. Many organizations are shifting some portion of premium expenses to their providers to mitigate the rising cost of benefits.
  • For the first time since the 2012 survey, the number of positions being recruited has increased, with survey organizations recruiting for 11 open positions on average, which is nearly two more than the 2015 average. Pediatric specialists remain in short supply and the difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates persists, with over half of positions remaining open for at least six months. Competitive recruiting packages are more important than ever.
  • Compensation for pediatric nurse practitioners (NPs) increased by 3.1% over 2015 levels, and WRVU production jumped by nearly 10% for these APPs. Further, primary care NPs are generating WRVUs that are nearly two-thirds the WRVUs of a primary care physician.
  • Despite a drop in average commercial reimbursement, survey organizations are targeting commercial reimbursement at 200% of Medicare in 2016. This higher reimbursement is necessary to offset low payment rates from Medicaid, which account for close to half of gross professional charges in the 2016 survey.

Survey Methodology

ECG’s Physician Compensation Survey and Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation Survey analyze and report information from more than 34,000 healthcare providers representing 142 physician specialties and 17 APP types across the nation. The surveys contain critical provider performance trends such as physician compensation methodologies, compensation and production benchmarks, primary care panel size, CPT procedure code distributions, physician and APP benefit trends, and additional key performance metrics (e.g., payor mix, recruiting rates by specialty, patient access). This information, coupled with ECG’s interpretation of market trends, enables survey members to assess their performance relative to the competitive local market.

ECG’s surveys can be accessed via ECGVault, a proprietary online benchmarking website made available exclusively to the 46 member organizations of the 2016 Pediatric Subspecialty Physician Compensation Survey.

About ECG

ECG is a strategic consulting firm that is leading healthcare forward using the knowledge and expertise built over the course of four decades to help clients see clearly where healthcare is going and to navigate toward success. With deep expertise in strategy, finance, operations, and technology, ECG builds multidisciplinary teams to meet the unique needs of every client – from discrete operational issues to bigger-picture strategic and financial challenges. Working as trusted partners with hospitals, health systems, medical groups, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and healthcare payors across the country, ECG delivers smart counsel and pragmatic solutions to the critical challenges facing healthcare providers. ECG’s national presence includes offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.