About 64% of 814 physician-executives surveyed said they struggled to find specialists for on-call duty in emergency rooms, and 46% said they now paid extra for what once was viewed as an obligation. Only about 29% of the respondents said they had no trouble finding specialists for on-call duty. The American College of Physician Executives, which conducted the poll, said it was one more indicator that hospitals are being hurt by a shortage of specialists. A few respondents described extra pay for on-call service as "blackmail" or "extortion." Yet, about half of the hospitals that did not pay specialists for on-call duty were considering doing so, according to respondents. One respondent described on-call pay as inevitable, saying: "Physicians have incredible financial pressures to stay in practice. All they can sell is their time. There is no reason for physicians alone to shoulder the entire burden of community healthcare." Read the survey results. -- by Michael Romano
Shortage of on-call specialists is widespread: survey
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