Employing Doctors: The Cheapest Routes For Hospitals And What It Means For Patients

Doctors make enormous salaries. Hospitals are cornered to keep costs down. So, how do hospitals pay for all the doctors that are needed? They start with healthcare compensation valuation solutions, which include all the following:

Need-Based Care

Instead of a continuous salary for doctors that are not needed all the time, hospitals arrange to hire these doctors on an as-needed (or PRN) basis. For example, a surge in patients with cancer diagnoses requires an oncologist to be present more often, or the addition of a part-time oncologist. Wages are paid to these doctors based on hours on the job, not on a standard salary. As compensation for a lack of a regular salary, the hospital provides a nicer benefits package. The hospital pays less, and the patients receive the care that they need.

Part-Time Specialists

It does not make sound financial sense to hire dozens of specialists to work full time when many of them may only work four or five months out of the year. Some specialists, such as heart surgeons, are more vital and, therefore, require a full salary. Other specialists, such as endocrinologists and rheumatologists, are not needed quite so much. Their schedules are filled by needs and referrals, which allows them more free time than a heart surgeon. Hiring them part-time makes good financial sense. 

Independent Referrals

Doctors not associated with a health network, or who have their own practice, can work with hospitals to receive patient referrals. These doctors work independently of the hospital but are willing to treat patients for which the hospital does not currently have a specialist or on-call doctor. The hospital still bills the patient's insurance, but then sends a portion to the independent doctor. In this way, the hospital is saving money by not having a full-time or even part-time doctor of that particular specialty on staff and not having to pay the enormous salary. The independent doctor still gets paid for services rendered, but not on a salary or hourly basis.

Outsourcing Billing Agents for Doctor's Pay

Finally, hospitals can cut another expense by outsourcing billing to outside agents. Doctors receive their paychecks when the money is collected by these agencies and transferred to respective hospitals. The hospitals do not have to pay for billing department salaries, which is important for hospitals that regularly experience slow periods with few patients. Patients benefit because their doctors never know which patients are paying their bills, and which ones are not.