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Acad Med. 2001 Jul;76(7):693-9.

Primary care compensation at an academic medical center: a model for the mixed-payer environment.

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Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization (BWPO), Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The authors' academic medical center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, developed a primary care physician (PCP) salary incentive program for employed academic physicians. This program, first implemented in 1999, was needed to meet the financial imperatives placed on the institution by managed care and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997; its goal was to create a set of incentives for PCPs that is consistent with the mission of the academic center and helps motivate and reward PCP's work. The program sought to simultaneously increase productivity while optimizing resource utilization in a mixed-payer environment. The salary incentive program uses work relative-value units (wRVUs) as the measure of productivity. In addition to productivity-derived base pay, bonus incentives are added for efficient medical management, quality of care, teaching, and seniority. The authors report that there was significant concern from several members of the physician staff before the plan was implemented; they felt that the institution's PCPs were already operating at maximum clinical capacity. However, after the first year of operation of this plan, there was an overall 20% increase in PCP productivity. Increases were observed in all PCP subgroups when stratified by professional experience, clinical time commitment, and practice location. The authors conclude that the program has succeeded in giving incentives for academic PCPs to achieve under the growing demands for revenue self-sufficiency, managed care performance, quality of care, and academic commitment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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