Working On Call – What’s the dough?

Call is something that many physicians do.  It’s the wonderful time period when a physician’s office is closed for the day.  Patients sometimes need medical care during these off hours because sometimes a cold or inflamed appendix doesn’t care what time it is.

Call can consist of handling phone calls, of going to the hospital to admit patients, of performing emergent surgeries, or even of delivering babies.  Call can be compensated in addition to your income or it can be included in your overall package.  For example, my call consists of 7 days straight of handling phone calls after hours every 3-4 weeks and it is included in my contractual income.

Working call can bring in a significant amount of extra income.  That’s helpful for all those lovely loans we have.  So what’s the going rate?  The MGMA 2013 On Call Compensation survey found that the median pay ranges from $75 dollars to $2,400 dollars per day.  Primary care doctors were reporting $150 per day whereas surgeons were mostly reporting $1,000 per day.  Would you work extra hours for these rates?

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