Using Organizational Philosophy to Create a Self-Sustaining Compensation Plan Without Harming Academic Missions

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Abstract

Problem

Academic physician reimbursement has moved to productivity-based compensation plans. To be sustainable, such plans must be self-funding. Additionally, unless research and education are appropriately valued, faculty involved in these efforts will become disillusioned, yet revenue generation in these activities is less robust than for clinical care activities.

Approach

Faculty at the Department of Medicine, University of Florida Health, elected a committee of junior and senior faculty and division chiefs to restructure the compensation plan in fiscal year (FY) 2011. This committee was charged with designing a new compensation plan based on seven principles of organizational philosophy: equity, compensation coupled to productivity, authority aligned with responsibility, respect for all academic missions, transparency, professionalism, and self-funding in each academic mission.

Outcomes

The new compensation plan was implemented in FY2013. A survey administered at the end of FY2015 showed that 61% (76/125) of faculty were more satisfied with this plan than the previous plan. Since the year before implementation, clinical relative value units per faculty increased 7% (from 3,458 in FY2012 to 3,704 in FY2015, P < .002), incentives paid per faculty increased 250% (from $3,191 in FY2012 to $11,153 in FY2015, P ≤ .001), and publications per faculty increased 15% (from 2.6 in FY2012 to 3.0 in FY2015, P < .001). Grant submissions, external funding, and teaching hours also increased per faculty but did not reach statistical significance.

Next Steps

An important next step will be to incorporate quality metrics into the compensation plan, without affecting costs or throughput.

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