CMI and wRVUs
Although the SoHM does not capture information on patient acuity or CMI, we speculate that the relationship between CMI and wRVUs may be more or less linear at lower levels of acuity. However, once level III E/M billing is achieved (assuming there is no critical care provided), wRVUs/encounter plateau, even as acuity continues to increase. This plateau effect may be seen more often in high-acuity AMC settings than in community hospitals.
So, in our opinion, compensation models based solely on wRVU production would not do justice for hospitalists in AMC settings since these models would fail to capture the extra work involved with very-high-acuity patients. SoHM 2018 shows the financial support per wRVU for AMC is $45.81, and for the community is $41.28, an 11% difference. We think the higher financial support per wRVU for academic practices may be related to the lost wRVU potential of caring for very-high-acuity patients.
In an academic setting, hospitalists are reforming the field of hospital medicine and defining the ways we could deliver care. They are the pillars of collaboration, education, research, innovation, quality, and safety. It would be increasingly crucial for academic hospitalist leaders to use comparative metrics from SoHM to advocate for their group. The bottom line can be explained by the title of the qualitative study in JHM referenced above: “Collaboration, not calculation.”3
Dr. Chadha is division chief for the division of hospital medicine at the University of Kentucky Healthcare, Lexington. He actively leads efforts of recruiting, scheduling, practice analysis, and operation of the group. He is a first-time member of the practice analysis committee. Ms. Dede is division administrator for the division of hospital medicine at the University of Kentucky Healthcare. She prepares and manages budgets, liaisons with the downstream revenue teams, and contributes to the building of academic compensation models. She is serving in the practice administrators committee for the second year and is currently vice chair of the Executive Council for the Practice Administrators special interest group.
1. State of Hospital Medicine Report. https://www.hospitalmedicine.org/practice-management/shms-state-of-hospi...
2. Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Academic Medical Centers: Joining forces with community providers for broad benefits and positive outcomes. 2015. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/arti...
3. White AA et al. Collaboration, not calculation: A qualitative study of how hospital executives value hospital medicine groups. J Hosp Med. 2019;14(10):662‐7.