VBC Compensation for MTs

As noted in the report “A Standard Unit of Measure for Transcribed Reports” from the American Health Information Management Association and Medical Transcription Industry Association Joint Task Force on Standards Development, a visible black character (VBC) count of transcribed documents yields about 30 percent fewer lines than a “standard” 65-character (with spaces) line count. Thus, for example, MT compensation at 9 cents per line (CPL) based on VBC is roughly equivalent to 6 CPL based on a “standard” line. (This will vary somewhat, depending on formatting, document type or other factors.) The VBC may be a reasonable way to compensate MTs–although not being paid for striking the space bar seems unfair to me–but the Task Force itself noted that calculations establishing VBC rates equivalent to “standard” rates ought to be done. Such calculations would show whether a particular VBC rate is a de facto reduction in pay for MTs. Recently, however, some medical transcription service organizations have been offering MTs VBC rates at the same CPL as at “standard line” rates. Any MT looking at such employers should be aware that any VBC rate offered is, in reality, about 30 percent less than what she might earn using the “standard line.”

RA McSwain, PhD, CMT

Via e-mail

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