Author: Andrew E. Wakefield, MD
Neurosurgery Executives’ Resource Value and Education Society (NERVES) is very appreciative to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons for giving us this opportunity to explain a little about who makes up our organization and what we are about. NERVES is an organization composed of 300 neurosurgery administrators and practice managers from across the United States. Our members are managers of various practice models from academics to private practices, and from hospital-employed to multispecialty groups. Our members help manage practices as small as one neurosurgeon to groups of more than 30 neurosurgeons. Many of the groups employ other specialties such as pain management, and have ancillary services such as an ambulatory surgery center or a freestanding imaging center to support the care of their patients and add supplementary revenue and value to their practices.
NERVES was established in 2002 under the recommendation and guidance of the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. The organization was created for the purpose of supporting organized neurosurgery by providing resources for managers and administrators that did not previously exist, or that was provided by associations trying to serve all medical specialties. Mark Linskey, MD and Greg Przybylski, MD were the two neurosurgeons who helped shepherd NERVES in its early years, and assisted in the drafting of the organization’s first set of bylaws.
NERVES holds an annual meeting the weekend prior to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting in the spring, and continues the network and dialogue throughout the year with an active list-serve where members ask questions and exchange information.
One of NERVES’s greatest contributions to organized neurosurgery, aside from the pooling of knowledge, is the annual Socio-Economic Survey which is in its ninth year of publication. The survey touches on every aspect of the business of neurosurgery from compensation to call pay. The NERVES survey has the distinction of having the largest number of neurosurgeons represented of any survey, currently compiled with 415 in the most recent publication. The data gathered over the past nine years allows for trending and analysis that is not only interesting, but helpful in answering questions and aiding future planning. From the most recent survey, trends show neurosurgeons’ total median compensation increased $93,000 over the past five years, however work Relative Value Units (wRVUs) are trending down. Over the same five year time period, physician assistants’ total compensation increased by $10,000.
Call pay is reported by daily rates across a statistical array for several categories including: Trauma vs. ED, Level I & Level 2, Metropolitan area and geographic region. The daily stipend for Level I trauma call has increased by 45% over the last five years, while nontrauma call compensation has increased by 66% over that same time period. This data has proven important for many practices in negotiating call coverage agreements in markets across the country.
I hope the above information gives you some insight into NERVES’s mission and contributions to neurosurgery. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you to encourage your manager or administrator to join NERVES and to participate in the NERVES annual survey. The more neurosurgeons represented, the more relevant our data. Participants complete the survey in the fall, it is compiled by a third-party accounting firm, and then results are delivered in early spring. Participants receive complimentary copies of the survey, and they are available for purchase for non-participants. For more information on NERVES, please visit our website at www.NERVESadmin.com.