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Hospitals to cover doctor losses in new agreement

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 5:13 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 12:40 AM
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Providing round-the-clock coverage for trauma in the operating room or in imaging at Georgia Regents Medical Center can leave physicians wanting for payment. The health system’s board voted for an agreement Wednesday to help them make up the difference.

The plan is worth more than $500,000 but officials won’t say exactly how much.

The hospital contracts with the company that represents Georgia Regents’ physicians to provide clinical and administrative services, said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, the president of Georgia Regents University, CEO of its health system and chairman of the system’s boards.

Physicians in anesthesiology, radiology and cardiovascular services were covered in the deal because of their role in providing round-the-clock coverage, said David S. Hefner, the executive vice president for clinical affairs.
“These are fundamental to keeping our doors open, to providing great clinical care,” he said. For the physicians, however, “it is a challenging environment in terms of reimbursement,” Hefner said.

“And it becomes doubly challenging when you have an adverse payer mix,” he added.

For physicians in those services, it can be difficult to collect enough professional fees to cover salary, benefits and overhead, he said.

“There is a gap,” Hefner said. The gap has been covered in different ways, but the contract ratified Wednesday puts it all in one agreement, he said.

“This is merely a way to now begin to focus it, organize it and be able to tightly manage it better going forward,” Hefner said.

The vote was required because it involved an agreement between the health system and the physicians’ group of more than $500,000, said general counsel Susan James. She would not provide the exact amount, and it was not discussed during the board meeting.


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