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Less-frequent call is more important than higher pay.

Physicians are more concerned about the burden of taking call than about how much they get paid for providing coverage at hospital emergency departments, according to a survey by the American Medical Group Association and a consulting firm.

About 50 medical groups - most of them independently owned, large, mul-tispecialty groups - participated. Dr. Donald W. Fisher, president and CEO of the AMGA, said most of the data on physicians' opinions on call coverage have been anecdotal. The AMGA survey, conducted with ECG Management Consultants, quantifies better what's actually happening, he said.

ECG senior manager Sean T. Hartzell said in a statement: "the survey confirmed what we are seeing in the market, which is that the lifestyle intrusion of call is being tolerated less and less by physicians, and they are seeking ways to decrease their call coverage burden."

When physicians were asked to choose between reduced call burden or payment, 58% of those surveyed said it was more important to reduce call burden. More than half the respondents said their call burden was high.

The survey also asked physicians for some potential solutions to reducing call burden.

Respondents said the advent of hospitalists - which they regarded as favorable - was a potentially important way to reduce call burden. The majority of respondents said use of nocturnists would be helpful. And 70% said offering preferred scheduling on the day after call would be a good way to address call burden.

According to the AMGA, the survey shows that a big gulf exists between hospitals and physicians' on call burden. Paying physicians may provide a short-term solution, but "does not address the more difficult, long-term problem of reducing call burden," said the group in its statement.

According to the AMGA, its members deliver health care to 110 million patients in 49 states.

To access the free report online, go to https://ecommerce.amga.org/iMISPublic/Core/Orders/product.aspx?catid=12&rprodid=2022.

FROM A SURVEY BY THE AMERICAN MEDICAL GROUP ASSOCIATION

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Author:Ault, Alicia
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:328
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