Defining the Value of a Pediatric Neurosurgeon

Lisa Beebe, MBA

In our rapidly changing healthcare environment, it is critical to define the value that pediatric neurosurgeons provide to group practices and to hospitals. Historically, data specific to pediatric neurosurgery has been inconsistent, inaccurate, or diluted by general neurosurgery data. NERVES (Neurosurgery Executives Resource Value and Education Society), the national neurosurgery practice managers and administrators organization, is planning to remedy this shortfall by gathering detailed data pertaining to this subspecialty.

NERVES is partnering with organized pediatric neurosurgery with the goal of gathering data that will help place a value on the work and contributions of pediatric neurosurgeons through an annual socio-economic survey of neurosurgery practices around the country.This is the largest survey collection tool of its kind, and is considered to be the “gold standard” for benchmarking and practice data for neurosurgery and its many subspecialties. The national survey is conducted by a third party administrator and complies with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Antitrust enforcement policy in healthcare as well as enforcement policy on provider participation in exchanges of price and cost.

In the results of the most recently published annual survey, of the 580 neurosurgeons who participated, only 49 neurosurgeons, or 8.4 percent, identified their practice as 100 percent pediatric. In future surveys, NERVES hopes to capture more pediatric neurosurgery data and include those who identify as less than 100 percent pediatric. Highlights of the recent data reported for pediatric neurosurgeons are in the table below.

In an effort to further define key pediatric neurosurgery practice metrics that support the organizational goals of the Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery, NERVES is working with organized pediatric neurosurgery to gather additional data points that capture the specific practice environment of pediatric neurosurgery. This data will be used to understand variances between pediatric neurosurgery and other specialties, measure and define the value of work, and identify the contribution to hospitals where pediatric neurosurgeons practice. Questions planned for future surveys include:

  • What is your required weekly call per year obligation? 1:2 or 1:4
  • Do you cover pediatric neurosurgery call only or include adult?
  • Are you being compensated for the days of call you take over the median?
  • What are your current clinical obligations compared to you peers?
  • What is you compensation compared to your peers?
  • Is your practice physician owned or hospital owned?
  • Are you an academic practice?
  • How much fund flow (annual pass through revenue) does the hospital provide your practice for program development or support?
  • What is the OR Case Volume you are expected to produce for your level of clinical FTE?
  • Does your hospital provide incentives to reduce costs or Total Medical Expense (TME)?

With respondents in every region of the United States, the NERVES survey is a powerful tool to collect and report detailed metrics related to neurosurgery and, specifically, pediatric neurosurgery. Whether the practice is academic, private, rural community, or urban, this data can provide the benchmarking levels pediatric neurosurgeons need to understand how their practice is performing, as well as the value of their performance, which can then be leveraged with hospitals and payors.

NERVES needs help in collecting as much data as possible. In the next few weeks the NERVES survey questionnaire will be distrib-uted. Please take the time to participate in this important gathering of data. You do not need to be a member of NERVES to partici-pate in the survey; however, you and your practice administrators are encouraged to join. Learn more about NERVES and join at www.nervesadmin.com.