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Focus on advanced practice clinicians – compensation and cost savings

A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review underscores the growing importance of advanced practice clinicians (APCs) – nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, etc. – in an evolving climate of health care reform that includes, among other things, accountable care organizations and value-based reimbursement. 

The article, written by two senior staff at Integrated Healthcare Strategies (http://www.ihstrategies.com), looks at the current traditional salary model in place for APCs and provides snapshot data on base salary and total compensation.  Comparative data by occupation and specialization (family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, emergency medicine, surgery(general/orthopedic/cardiovascular), hematology/oncology, and cardiology) is then further compared to physician compensation by specialty to underscore the cost savings represented by utilizing APCs.  The authors also include brief scenarios showcasing how these cost savings can be realized in hospital emergency departments, physician offices, and remote locations.

The last third of the article looks at some ways to improve the compensation model currently in place for APCs:

1) Like physicians, compensation for APCc should vary by specialty;

2) Incentive plans should be designed to reward achieving stated goals

3) CME benefits should be tailored to reflect licensure requirements

Source: O’Hare, Susan and Young, Aurora.  Compensation plans for advanced practice clinicians: implementing a healthcare model for the 21st century.  Becker’s Hospital Review.  December 21, 2011.  http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/compensation-issues/compensation-plans-for-advanced-practice-clinicians-implementing-a-healthcare-model-for-the-21st-century.html [free registration may be required]

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