We know the stress COVID-19 is putting on the healthcare industry. Physicians along with other healthcare workers are on the frontline battling this dangerous virus. Many are probably working overtime with little or no time off. The rate of infection continues to rise, along with the death rate in United States. Daily you hear horror stories from healthcare workers about the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and the long hours of work. Our physicians need to be paid equitably to work under this hazardous environment. The US Department of Labor defines hazard pay as follows:
“Hazard pay means additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship. Work duty that causes extreme physical discomfort and distress which is not adequately alleviated by protective devices is deemed to impose a physical hardship.”
We know our physician colleagues are working under great peril, we need to compensate them appropriately. This situation is not new to healthcare workers, we last experienced the Ebola scare in 2014-2015 and the 2009 H1NI pandemic. But, the impact of the corona virus seems to be more sustained. We know that our young physicians are at high risk, but the older physicians are at even greater risk. Many physicians are being asked to come out of retirement to help during this crisis. As we ask our physicians to take greater risks, we need to consider how we can pay them hazard compensation and compensate those that become infected or quarantined that will not be able to work. As practice plan executives in charge of rolling out compensation plans and maintaining them, we have always relied on the utilization of physician compensation surveys, such as Sullivan & Cutter, MGMA, ECG and AMGA to name a few. In this situation, we must be more innovative. We need to develop exemptions under the compensation plan to address productivity issues resulting this situation and remain compliant the commercial reasonableness and FMV regulations. We need to support our precious resources: our doctors and other healthcare providers. Engaging knowledgeable experienced experts to consult and review your compensation plan, given the current circumstances, will be essential.
Let us help you navigate these uncertain times.