Both physicians and hospital administrators want to deliver quality patient care, yet often run into obstacles outside of their control. Frequently it seems they are on opposite teams. What if these groups could come together and tackle problems head on, providing higher patient satisfaction, efficiencies and better outcomes for both physicians and hospitals?
But, from a business perspective, these agreements are not without potential financial pitfalls and compliance risk.
The term co-management is used in a couple of different ways, but in this case refers to a hospital paying any physician to co-manage daily operations of a medical specialty service line. It’s all about aligning both the physicians and the hospital on the same side, to improve the service line. This type of agreement is structured so a portion of physician compensation is tied to the quality and efficiency of the hospital service line. It is like a medical directorship across many physicians, on steroids. The expectation is you get into the nitty gritty aspects of the service line that can be improved by working together.
Common specialties that lend themselves well to this type of agreement are the cardiac and orthopedic service line. Typically, a consultant is then brought in to structure the deal and explain how the agreements can be set up. The hospital takes the full financial risk in these agreements, so they have to be comfortable with the deal. There is sometimes a lack of trust between the parties, so a neutral party setting up the agreement is important.
The physicians and the hospital leadership sit down to discuss challenges around that service line so they can work together to solve them. This may include protocol compliance, program development, increasing patient satisfaction and efficiency measures such as surgical block utilization. A list of goals, with things that can be measured KPIs and benchmarks, is created.
The final agreement is often called an “all-party agreement” – meaning, both hospital and physicians sign the same agreement. The goal is to improve the service line by letting the physicians co-run it. They sit at the table and discuss staff, supply, patient flow and other problems. The target goals are clearly laid out at the start and after a year, if the goals are met and KPIs improve at a rate that’s defined by a fair market value company, there will be a sum of money divided between participants. The earnings are usually significant enough to impact real change. The goal is to incentivize the group to meet these benchmarks.
The benefits of co-management agreements
Potential pitfalls of co-management agreements
So, how can hospitals make the process of paying on co-management agreements as transparent as possible? One way is to incorporate automation with your physician time tracking.
Co-management agreements will inherently include different rates for different specialists who might be part of the agreement. It is also critical all physicians be part of a group agreement, where they are able to share in the same pool of hours.
Automation, including Ludi’s own DocTime® Suite, allows you to assign various rates under one contract.
Picture this: you have set up a co-management agreement to improve patient outcomes in the cardiology department. Your physicians are working together with the hospital to increase efficiencies and improve clinical outcomes. Your thoracic surgeon arrives at the hospital and you hand her a piece of paper to log her time. But why? Paper time logs and outdated contract management systems are the exact type of obstacles co-management agreements are supposed to solve!
Help your physicians manage their time logs as efficiently as possible with automation. It’s a win-win for everyone, and a must for complex agreements that are built to align with your physicians. Don’t alienate them!