The Benchmarks Committee has had a busy 2006 so far. Many thanks to the 400-plus hospital medicine groups that completed the 2005-06 SHM survey, “The Authoritative Source on the State of Hospital Medicine,” as well as those of you who participated in the follow-up survey to clarify questions around additional revenue or supplements to program income.
We had some behind-the-scenes work on the survey. After the first pass of data analysis, it became clear that there was something amiss with the responses pertaining to the supplemental income questions. Only 47% of programs reported that they received additional income from hospitals or other sources. This seemed incompatible with what we know about current payment rates for fee-for-service work. A quick discussion took place among the committee and we decided to resurvey the group with more precise questions on exactly how finances flow into a program. As you have seen, the additional results bore out our suspicions. With the revised survey tool, 97% of the programs (when re-queried) reported receiving income above and beyond fees from direct patient care.
It was a Herculean task of digesting and formatting the data into usable form. SHM Senior Vice President Joe Miller deserves many thanks for poring through the data and creating something that all of you can use to better your programs.
Now, a few words about the recent annual meeting in Washington, DC: The work of the Benchmarks Committee was highlighted by SHM CEO Larry Wellikson, MD, in a plenary session on the first day of the meeting. An insightful panel discussion followed in which panel members Bob Wachter, MD (representing academic hospital medicine), Mary Jo Gorman, MD (corporate hospital medicine), and John Nelson, MD (community hospital medicine) gave some insightful commentary on the results of the survey and then fielded questions from the audience.
In between sessions at the conference, the committee held its annual face-to-face meeting and discussed plans for the year.
Under the guidance and editorial excellence of committee member Leslie Flores, the Benchmarks Committee continues to make strong progress with the dashboard project. As you may recall, this project will document and describe 10 commonly used dashboard metrics, including sample reports. There are plans for this material to be published as a supplement to The Hospitalist later this year.
The committee discussed the type of surveys conducted by SHM. A recommendation came out of our meeting to change from large-scale, all-encompassing, biannual surveys to smaller annual surveys. The annual survey would alternate its focus every other year between evaluating individuals’ productivity and compensation, and the characteristics of hospital medicine groups. Each survey would also have the flexibility to address specific timely questions that might focus on a specific research or hot topic of the day. The goal is to get our first trial survey out by the end of 2006, which would focus on group characteristics.
Lastly, a big thank you to our outgoing chairperson, Teresa Jones. Her hard work and organizational skills are going to be a tough act to follow.
Dr. Kealey is chair of SHM’s Benchmarks Committee
Advocacy Day Educates Lawmakers about Hospital Medicine
By Eric Siegal, MD
As reported in the SHM Meeting Reporter (see July The Hospitalist, supplement 1), SHM’s first Legislative Advocacy Day was an overwhelming success. More than 70 members from 29 states visited Capitol Hill on May 3 to educate lawmakers and their staffs about hospital medicine and SHM’s proposals to improve the quality of care in our nation’s hospitals.