Tips to overcome logistical hurdles with part-time docs

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For a multitude of reasons, more physicians are seeking part-time practice while more practices are becoming amenable to offering it. But for most practices, the question isn't so much, "Will we offer part-time?" but "How will we offer part-time?" A recent article from American Medical News discusses how groups can overcome some common hurdles.

"At a minimum, groups need to think through the economic implications, call schedules and compensation," said Jon-David Deeson, a healthcare consultant and part owner of Pershing Yoakley & Associates in Knoxville, Tenn.

The list of details is long between the practice, the doctor who wants to work part-time, and other physicians in the practice. For instance:

  • How many hours is considered part-time?
  • What benefits, such as health insurance and retirement funding, will be available to part-timers?
  • How much call will part-time doctors take compared to full-time colleagues?
  • What meetings will part-time doctors attend?
  • How will part-time compensation be determined: hourly, based on a portion of collections, using relative value units, with a productivity bonus?
  • How will fixed and variable overhead expenses be assigned to part-time doctors?
  • Can a part-time physician become a partner in the practice?

Another problem, more difficult to address on paper, is how to assuage any resentment from full-time doctors' about part-time arrangements made for others. Some physicians try to preempt tension by being flexible about their schedules when their colleagues are in need. For example, part-time physicians with Gwinnett Pediatrics in Duluth, Ga., work an extra half-day in the winter, when lots of children come in with respiratory illnesses. In addition, doctors who need a set schedule are required to make at least one of their days a Monday or a Friday so that full-time doctors have the option to take long weekends.

"Anything can be worked out if the determination is there," Dr. J. Gregory Stovall, senior vice president of medical affairs for Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics based in Tyler, Texas, told amednews.

To learn more:
- read the article from American Medical News

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