The Business of Pediatric Plastic Surgery: An Institutional Perspective of Pediatric Plastic Surgery Divisions in the United States
Joseph Mocharnuk*, Elizabeth A. Moroni, Joseph Losee
Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeons offer unique services that contribute value to their respective institutions in the areas of patient care, medical education, and research. Often these values are not adequately reflected in billing and reimbursement. The goal of this survey study was to evaluate billing, collection, and compensation patterns in U.S. pediatric plastic surgery divisions and to identify and offer potential solutions to reimbursement challenges.
A survey was distributed via Qualtrics to 36 U.S. pediatric plastic surgery divisions. Requested information included faculty salaries, compensation models, RVUs, surgeon demographics, training background, and distribution of clinical and other professional responsibilities. The collected data was anonymized and analyzed using RStudio (Version 1.3.1093).
Twenty-two programs responded with complete data. Complete responses were evenly distributed across geographical regions. Most responding institutions were academic teaching hospitals (86.3%), representing a total of 84 pediatric (or partially pediatric) plastic surgeons.
The average reported starting salary for a fellowship-trained pediatric plastic surgeon was $385,476 (SD: $74,915, Range: $175,000-$500,000) and $339,923.00 (SD: $67,670, Range: $150,000-$400,000) for a non-fellowship-trained pediatric plastic surgeon, with no significant difference between the two groups (p-value = 0.07805). Across institutions, the average estimated starting wRVU benchmark for a full-time (1.0 FTE) clinical faculty member was 5,551 (SD: 1,707, Range: 2,250-8,272). When asked what would be an equitable and realistic wRVU benchmark for a full-time pediatric/craniofacial surgeon, the average response was 5,847 (SD: 853, Range: 4,250-7,309).
Our study provides baseline measures and standards for compensation and wRVUs in pediatric plastic surgery. Concurrent analyses focused on surgeon-specific data and aimed at devising robust predictive models for compensation based on clinical and administrative responsibilities are underway.
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