Survey: As C-Suite Pay Rises, Physicians Poised to Lead Health Care Changes

By AAPL Staff
August 15, 2017

According to a newly published analysis, the trend will likely continue as the industry seeks executives who can steer the conversion to value-based reimbursement.

salary survey.jpgCompensation for medical executives is still trending up, with the biggest increases among administrators leading organizations through the health care industry’s complex volume-to-value conversion, according to a survey released this week.

The Modern Healthcare survey says executives benefiting the most were those asked to steer the “strategy, clinical transformation, operational integration and patient experience” of organizations working to comply with payer models that favor patient outcomes over fees for service.

Increasingly, directors are seeking physicians to fill those roles.

"There is increasing demand for physician leaders to take on quality, clinical informatics, integration, network development and other activities to redefine clinical care," Bruce Greenblatt, whose consulting firm Sullivan, Cotter and Associates provided the data, told the magazine. "That's where there is a limited number of physicians who have the management skills to lead these missions and where we're seeing upward pay pressure."

Median total cash compensation across 36 health system executive positions rose 6 percent from 2016, compared with a 3.1 percent annual increase for 11 hospital executive positions analyzed, the survey says.

According to the survey, the pace of salary increases will likely continue.

Chief operating officers for health systems drew the biggest annual increase among top executives, up 10 percent to $843,400 for organizations with more than $1 billion in net revenue and 7.5 percent to $506,000 at those earning less than $1 billion.

The biggest pay raises among all health systems went to the chief strategy officer, rising 13.9 percent to $548,900 a year.

Modern Healthcare’s review covered nearly 1,200 health care organizations, including 831 hospitals and 360 health systems.

Many of the findings mirrored those found in the biennial Physician Leadership Compensation Survey  released in November 2016 by Cejka Executive Search in partnership with the American Association for Physician Leadership®.

That survey of 2,353 respondents also reflected emerging roles offering greater salary opportunities for physician leaders in response to the shift toward value-based care. These included chief executive and chief medical officer, chief quality/patient safety officer, and chief information officer/chief medical information officer.

According to that survey, total median compensation for physicians in leadership in 2016 was $350,000, a three-year gain of 8 percent since the last survey in 2013. 


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