A Mission-Based Productivity Compensation Model for an Academic Anesthesiology Department

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INTRODUCTION:We replaced a nearly fixed-salary academic physician compensation model with a mission-based productivity model with the goal of improving attending anesthesiologist productivity.METHODS:The base salary system was stratified according to rank and clinical experience. The supplemental pay structure was linked to electronic patient records and a scheduling database to award points for clinical activity; educational, research, and administrative points systems were constructed in parallel. We analyzed monthly American Society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) unit data for operating room activity and physician compensation from 2000 through mid-2007, excluding the 1-yr implementation period (July 2004–June 2005) for the new model.RESULTS:Comparing 2005–2006 with 2000–2004, quarterly ASA units increased by 14% (P = 0.0001) and quarterly ASA units per full-time equivalent increased by 31% (P < 0.0001), while quarterly ASA units per anesthetizing location decreased by 10% (P = 0.046). Compared with a baseline year (2001), Instructor and Assistant Professor faculty compensation increased more than Associate Professor and Professor faculty (P < 0.001) in both pre- and postimplementation periods. There were larger compensation increases for the postimplementation period compared with preimplementation across faculty rank groupings (P < 0.0001). Academic and educational output was stable.DISCUSSION:Implementing a productivity-based faculty compensation model in an academic department was associated with increased mean supplemental pay with relatively fewer faculty. ASA units per month and ASA units per operating room full-time equivalent increased, and these metrics are the most likely drivers of the increased compensation. This occurred despite a slight decrease in clinical productivity as measured by ASA units per anesthetizing location. Academic and educational output was stable.

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