A new, extensive survey on medical-staff structure, composition and activities scheduled for release this week will serve as a baseline for future surveys every two years, its developers say. But with economic uncertainty and healthcare reform on the horizon, the 2008 edition may end up looking like a black-and-white print in a digital photo world.
Economy might skew baseline medical staff survey
This report could end up being the anomaly that differs from subsequent reports, said Carlin Lockee, managing editor at the San Diego-based Governance Institute whose Medical Leadership Institute program produced the survey. Given the current environment, its hard to make predictions. Our objective was to set a baseline so we can see where the movement occurs.
The 107-question Hospital and Health System Medical Staff Survey was sent to 4,954 acute-care hospitals last year, and it was completed by 599 institutions, or 12% of the total, including 531 not-for-profit hospitals and 68 for-profit facilities.
According to the survey, the average medical staff had a 77-to-23 male-to-female ratio, with about 32% being 45 years old or younger, 36% being 46 to 55 years old, 25% 56 to 65, and 6% being older than 65.
Lockee said that she was somewhat surprised that only 52% of the respondents employed a vice president of medical affairs or chief medical officer, with 56% of not-for-profit hospitals having someone in this position compared with only 25% in responding for-profit institutions. Also, only 19% employed someone other than a vice president of medical affairs to direct quality and performance programs. Someone held this post in 20% of the responding not-for-profit hospitals compared with only 11% in the for-profit organizations.
The survey delves into such minute details as the frequency, length and quorum requirements for different levels of staff meetings as well as the amount of dues staff members pay (mostly between $100 and $299) and what the dues are used for (staff officer stipends, social events, and books and periodicals for the staff library).
The survey also found how governing board approval was required for elected medical staff officers at approximately 58% of the responding hospitals, with 79% of for-profit facilities having this requirement compared with 55% of responding not-for-profits.
Lockee said she found two more findings somewhat surprising: how 28% of the respondents didnt require board certification for medical-staff membership, with 35% of the for-profit respondents requiring this and 27% of the not-for-profits; and how 45% of the respondents said that they had no formal leadership training program for new or current medical staff leaders, with 51% of the for-profit respondents and 44% of the not-for-profits lacking such a program.
Im not in the prediction business, Lockee said. But it will be interesting to see if theres an increase in the number of vice presidents of medical affairs or physicians in charge of quality.
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