While many hospital administrators require cardiologists to provide call coverage to maintain admitting privileges, some administrators compensate all physicians, including cardiologists, for call coverage. Forms of compensation include pier diem payments, contracted rates, or reimbursements to providers that treat indigent patients who are unable to pay for services. However, in most hospitals the ability to generate referrals—and thus downstream revenue—offers a sufficient financial incentive to encourage cardiologists to participate in call coverage. This brief examines the call coverage systems at four hospitals, only two of which compensate cardiologists for call coverage shifts.
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