September 2013

Partner Compensation
By Jim Knaub
Radiology Today
Vol. 14 No. 9 P. 4

How do the partners in your group divide income?

Physician income and partnership questions are topics rarely discussed in an open forum. I understand why and have no problem with that stance, but I also know that you’re curious about what other radiologists make and how their groups share income. That’s why Radiology Today asked three medical practice management consultants what they are seeing in their work with radiology clients. Their general consensus: Radiologists have a greater propensity than other medical specialists to share income equally, but they probably need some kind of base pay and bonus structure to keep income equitable and the practice maximally productive. Our feature on page 16 shares different approaches to salary and bonus calculation, leadership compensation, possibilities for less-than-full-time partners, and approaches for handling partners who want to scale down their workload as they approach retirement.

As groups grow larger and more subspecialized, there may be meaningful production differences that are not related to differences in how hard individual radiologists in the group are willing to work. For example, a mammography reader, an interventional radiologist, and a neuroradiologist all can be very busy and still have significantly different production levels. But a radiology group needs all those jobs handled to fully serve a hospital or health care system.

The consultants’ ideas won’t tell you how your group should share revenue as much as they will suggest what you and your partners should consider in developing an income-division approach and provide some models to experiment with in the process.

One significant new consideration for income division is how implementation of the Affordable Care Act may affect how groups divide revenue. Discussions about the importance of measuring quality seem to be everywhere. Good radiology groups have been providing quality service and care all along, but assessing that quality has largely been a qualitative matter of convincing referrers, hospitals, and payers. The shift toward measuring quality is the new wrinkle.

Incentivizing quality and outcomes in their income-division plans makes good sense for groups, even if just a modest portion of a group’s bonus pool is allocated to quality and outcomes measures to start.

People tend to do what they are incented to do. Smart income division can help align compensation with what will help a good radiologist group thrive in the coming years.

Enjoy the issue.