Rethinking ED Call How to balance physician, hospital, and community needs

A recent visit with a hospital and its medical staff struggling with the challenge of physician coverage of unassigned patients for the emergency department (ED) and inpatient consultations was troubling. For that hospital, discussions between some physician groups and the hospital degenerated into anger, threats, and broken trust. The physician demands for ED call compensation easily outstrip the hospital’s entire bottom line. Yet some of the physicians have said if their compensation demands aren’t met, they will stop taking call at the end of the month, regardless of what the bylaws require.

Why did this happen, and what can be done by hospital and medical staff leaders to prevent a similar experience in your hospital (or to turn it around if it’s already happened)?

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